The Chicago Cubs have had some great players play for them and sometimes Mark Grace’s career gets overlooked by fans of the team.
A very good former Chicago Cubs player is celebrating a birthday today. Mark Grace turns 56 years old today so it is only fitting to look back on what made him such a great player for a long time. Grace spent the first 13 years of his career with the Cubs and was a very good player for pretty much the entire duration. After the 2000 season ended, Grace signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks where he would play for three years.
In his first year with Arizona (2001), he had his career highlight when he was a part of that team that won the World Series. Most of his career damage came with the Cubs but that certainly was a big part of his career as he was a part of the team that won the last game of the season. Grace was a member of some pretty bad Cubs teams over his career so getting that ring with Arizona near the end of his career had to feel really nice.
His career regular-season numbers are pretty good as well. He slashed .303/.383/.442 over those 16 years and compiled 173 home runs and 1146 RBIs on 2445 hits. The home run numbers were low but this man was a hitting machine. His career OPS of .825 isn’t bad and career WAR of 46.4 is also pretty nice. They aren’t Hall of Fame numbers by any means but he certainly should be remembered as a great player. The term “Hall of Very Good” comes to mind.
Mark Grace was fantastic in his rookie year for the Cubs. He finished second to Chris Sabo in the vote for 1988 National League Rookie of the Year which gave a lot of Cubs fans back then a lot of hope about this guy. He lived up to it for the most part. He was a top-20 MVP vote-getter four times in his 16-year career.
A lot of praise comes Grace’s way thanks to his ability to hit. It makes sense because he managed to have an average over .300 which is really impressive for a player that plays for a decade or more. With that said, he deserves a lot of recognition for how he played defensively as well. His skills at first-base earned him four Gold Glove Awards over his career. It was impressive to watch him be a good player in all areas for the Cubs.
Grace was never able to win the big one with the Cubs but he did get his ring later in his career with the Diamondbacks. It is also fun for some fans to know that their new coach, David Ross, hit his first career home run off Grace who was a position player pitching because his Diamondbacks were getting destroyed that day. Remembering all-time great players is important and Mark Grace certainly is one of those for the 1990s Cubs.