Happy 54th birthday to the “Crime Dog” himself, Fred McGriff.
McGriff put up borderline Hall of Fame numbers during his 19-year career, which involved six different uniforms. One of those uniforms was for the San Diego Padres.
McGriff started his career by being drafted out of his Tampa area high school by the New York Yankees in 1981. He actually never saw the field in pinstripes, as he was dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays that next year. He played his first five seasons for Toronto. He hit 36 home runs in 1989, an American League high. He actually hit at least 34 home runs in three straight seasons with the Blue Jays.
Then after the 1990 season, there was a big trade (and perhaps biggest trade in Blue Jays history) that sent McGriff along with Tony Fernandez to the Padres for Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter (who, a few seasons later, would hit one of the most famous World Series home runs, clinching the 1993 championship for the Blue Jays). McGriff began his Padres career in 1991 when he hit .278 with 31 home runs and 106 RBI.
In 1992, he made his first all-star team, and the game happened to be in San Diego. McGriff went 2-3 with an RBI in that game. He earned that MLB All-Star bid by hitting 35 home runs, which led the National League, with a .286 average. He also had a career-high 165 OPS+ that season.
During the 1993 season, the Padres were struggling and they dealt their star first baseman to the Atlanta Braves. He set a career high in homers that year with 37. He made three straight all-star teams with Atlanta and was part of their dominance of the 90’s. He was a big reason why the Braves won the 1995 World Series.
Then from 1998 to 2001, he got to play for his hometown Tampa Bay Devil Rays. He was an all-star for the fifth and final time in 2000, finishing the year with 27 home runs and 106 RBI. Now into his late 30’s, he was still producing at a high level.
He finished his career with trips to the Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers before playing 27 games with the Devil Rays again to end his career in 2004.
With 493 career home runs, he was among the best power hitters of his generation. He also finished with a lifetime .284 average and 2,490 hits. He has consistently received about 20% in the Hall of Fame voting. He has two more years of eligibility but it is unlikely he will get it. Regardless, he had a fantastic career.
Where is Fred McGriff now? He is a scout for the Atlanta Braves and recently put his 11,786-square-foot home up for sale in Tampa. It’s for $3.5 million, in case you are interested.