Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Final Card: Eli Grba

Long before there was Lowell Palmer, there was Eli Grba (pronounced GUR-bah). Actually, this photo (#231) is of Grba's teammate Ryne Duren, but that's a story for another day.

Eli was signed by the Red Sox in 1952, and made his way to the Yankees' organization in March 1957.

After missing the '57 and '58 seasons while in military service, he made his major-league debut with the Yankees in July 1959. He pitched in 19 games in the second half of the '59 season, but found himself back in AAA in 1960. After his mid-June call-up, he pitched in 24 games that season.

Grba was the #1 pick of the expansion Los Angeles Angels prior to the 1961 season, and was the opening-day pitcher in their inaugural season. He was one of their top 2 starting pitchers in their first 2 seasons, winning 11 and 8 games.

In 1963 he was converted to a reliever, but after pitching 7 games in April, Grba was sent down to the minors. He returned in late-July to pitch in 5 more games, but his final game of the season (and of his major-league career) came on August 4th.

Eli played for the Senators' AAA team in '64 and '65, then played in Mexico in 1966. He retired after 5 games with the White Sox' AAA team in 1967.