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Kelly Gruber
Third baseman
Born: February 26, 1962 (1962-02-26) (age 47)
Houston, Texas
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
April 20, 1984 for the Toronto Blue Jays
Last MLB appearance
June 29, 1993 for the California Angels
Career statistics
Batting average     .259
Home runs     117
Runs batted in     443
Career highlights and awards

Kelly Wayne Gruber (born February 26, 1962 in Houston, Texas) was a Major League Baseball third baseman.


Early career

Gruber played baseball at Westlake High School in Austin, Texas where his number was later retired. He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 1st round (10th pick) of the 1980 amateur draft but did not see time with the team. On December 5, 1983, the Toronto Blue Jays picked him up in the Rule 5 draft. Kelly saw his first Major League action shortly after, playing in his first game on April 20, 1984. Over the next three seasons, he split time between the Majors and the minors, eventually earning an every day spot in the Toronto line-up by 1987. The Toronto media quickly nicknamed him "Xanthos" (meaning blonde) after his long flowing blonde hair. During his stay in Toronto he was voted the city's most eligible bachelor.

Best years

On April 16, 1989, Kelly Gruber was the first Blue Jay in history to hit for the cycle when he went 4 for 6 with 6 RBI and 4 runs scored. His cycle occurred in the following order: home run, double, triple, and single.[1] He was told to stop at first for his single even though a double was easily attainable. Kelly had his best season in 1990, hitting .274 with 31 HRs, 118 RBIs and 14 SBs, winning Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards and ending up fourth in MVP balloting that year.

The relationship between Kelly and the team soured over the next few years, however. After the Blue Jays won the World Series in 1992 — thanks in large part to Gruber's game-tying home run in the game 3 of the World Series — Kelly was traded to the California Angels for Luis Sojo. He appeared in interviews to be very bitter about the move, feeling that he deserved better treatment from the team he had been so loyal to.

Kelly's career was cut short in 1993 due to a bone spur on his spine. He played 63 games for the Angels. Due to growing threats of paralysis, Kelly had surgery performed on the bone spur that ended his career in 1993. The surgery was successful.

In 1997, Gruber attempted a comeback with the Baltimore Orioles. While his performance was good enough to impress coaches and staff with the Orioles, Kelly decided to retire for good due to health-related concerns.

Today, Kelly Gruber often makes public appearances as a motivational speaker for charitable organizations.


In 1992 Gruber published his autobiography "Kelly, At Home on Third".

See also


External links



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