Wednesday, February 16, 2011
1996 Leaf Signature Series, Mark Grudzielanek
#86 Mark Grudzielanek
Here is a card of Mark Grudzielanek that I picked up from checkoutmycards.com for $1.15. I bought this card because I thoroughly enjoyed Mark's tenure with the Royals. Yet, for some reason or another, I was never able to get his signature at the ballpark. So, I bought the cheapest one that I could find and I am completely happy with it.
Mark began his career with the Expos in 1995. In just his second season in the Majors, he made his lone All Star team. He stayed with the Expos until they traded him to the Dodgers at the trade deadline in 1998. As a Dodger in 1999, Mark hit a career high of .326. He played with the Dodgers through the 2002 season before they traded him to the Cubs. He played for the Cubs for two seasons before signing with the Cardinals in 2005 and then the Royals in 2006. As a Royal in 2006, Mark won his only Gold Glove award. He is the last Royal to have won one.
I thought that 2008 was going to be Mark's final season in the Majors since he had a hard time finding a team for 2009. Eventually, he was picked up by the Twins with a minor league deal, but they released him shortly afterwards when it became obvious that there wasn't a spot for him on the Major League roster. Then the Indians signed him prior to the 2010 season and Mark played in 30 games for them and was hitting .273 when they released him. I doubt that he will be back for 2011, but you never know.
According to Steve Stone's book "Where's Harry?", Mark had one of the most troubling names for the legendary sportscaster, Harry Carey. In the end, Harry just called him Mark G.
Mark hit for the cycle while with the Cardinals in 2005 and, according to Wikipedia, he was a regional skee-ball champion in 1987. Where would we be without Wikipedia?