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From BR Bullpen
Donald John Gross
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 5' 11", Weight 186 lb.
- School Michigan State University
- Debut July 21, 1955
- Final Game May 25, 1960
- Born June 30, 1931 in Weidman, MI USA
 Biographical Information
Donald John Gross was signed by the Cincinnati Reds as an amateur free agent before the 1950 season began and was assigned to their Muncie Reds farm team in the class D Ohio-Indiana League. He showed great promise in that first year, posting a 15 win 7 loss record while pitching 187 innings and winding up with a strong 3.13 ERA. This 15 win total was to be the young mans best win record during his entire 13 season professional baseball career.
In 1951 The Reds kept him in the class D Appalachian League with the Welch Miners long enough to pitch 21 innings and post a 2 win 1 loss record before sending him up to the class A Charleston Senators, of the Central League , where he fell to a 1 win 3 loss mark. He was then shipped to the class C Pioneer League Ogden Reds where he finished out the season in fine fashion, with a 10 win and 4 loss record, pitching 114 innings, coming up with a sparkling 1.11 ERA.
Gross was to get to the AA Texas League with the Tulsa Oilers in 1952 and got in the sum total of 2 innings before the United States Military Service snapped him up for the remainder of the season as well as the 1953 year.
Returning from Military Service in 1954 saw Don with the Columbia Reds of the class A South Atlantic League where he came up with a 12 win 9 loss Record while pitching 189 innings with a 3.14 ERA. He spent the tail end of the season with the Tulsa Oilers of the AA Texas League, getting in for only 8 innings.
His performance got him his first shot with the MLB parent Cincinnati Reds Club in 1955, pitching 67 innings for a 4 win 5 loss and a 4.14 ERA mark before being sent down to the AA Nashville Vols of the Southern Association. He finished out the year with with Nashville, coming up with a great 8 win 2 loss, 127 inning year with a 3.69 ERA.
1956 found Don with the Havana Sugar Kings of the AAA International League where he pitched 54 innings, won 3 and lost 2 and had a good 1.67 ERA. This performance brought him back to the MLB Cincinnati club where he finished out the season with a 3 win 0 loss record while Pitching 69 innings with a 1.95 ERA.
It was in this 1957 Season that the young pitcher probably had his most memorable moment In his baseball career. On May 28, pitching at Milwaukee, against the Braves NL team, he held them hitless until the bottom of the 8th inning with 2 out. A no-hitter seemed on the way as the left hander had also allowed only one base on balls. In as sad a moment as could happen to Gross, Frank Torre hit the first pitch for a single to the outfield, bringing to bat Bobby Thomson, who nailed Gross's first pitch for a triple, scoring Torre and putting the Braves in front 1-0. The next batter was out on strikes but the damage was done. The Reds failed to score in the top of the ninth and a superb effort was ruined by by two quick swings. Gross was with the Reds the entire season, posting a 7 win 9 loss record In 148 innings, along with a 4.31 ERA.
On December 9, 1957 the Reds traded Gross to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Bob Purkey, in a player for player deal and he spent the 1958 season there, winning 5 against 7 losses. His ERA was a good 3.98 in 75 innings.
After experiencing arm problems, the Pirates sent Gross to the Columbus Jets of the International League in 1959 where he had a no decision record before being brought back up to the parent team for the rest of the year. He pitched only 33 innings for a 1-1 record and a 3.55 ERA. Gross continued to have arm problems as the 1960 season began. He was unable to pitch in the first two weeks of the exhibition season but still made the team by the end of spring training. However, Gross was used sparingly. 37 games into the season, he had appeared in only 5 games and pitched only 5.1 innings for the Pirates before being sent to the Salt Lake City Bees of AAA Pacific Coast League. During his stay with the Bees he got in 117 innings for a 5 win 6 loss record and a 3.46 ERA.
Gross never again pitched in the major leagues. In 1961, the left-hander pitched for the Macon Peaches of the Southern Association League. He rang up 11 victories against only 4 losses, pitched 119 innings and had a good 3.02 ERA. With the Syracuse Chiefs of the International League in 1962 he got in only 4 innings before arm problems put him out for the year. The 1963 year was spent with the Columbus Jets of the International League where he came up with a 1-1 record in 17 innings, along with a 3.71 ERA. This signified the end of a 13 year tour in professional baseball, having spent time with 12 minor league teams and 2 major league squads.
 Notable Information
Uncle of Todd Benzinger