David Ross

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David Wade Ross

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Biographical Information[edit]

David Ross backed up Ben Davis on the US team that won Bronze at the 1994 World Junior Championship. He was 0 for 7 in the event. A year later, he was again 0 for 7 in the Championship backing up Justin Lehr but the US won Gold. He was a teammate of Josh Fogg at Florida, and again later with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

His first major league home run came on September 2, 2002, playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers against the Arizona Diamondbacks. What makes it unusual is that he hit it off position player Mark Grace, who was making the only pitching appearance of his career in a 19-1 debacle; the Dodgers were up 18-0 when Ross connected in the top of the 9th inning.

Playing for the Chicago Cubs in his 14th major league season in 2015, he got to make the first pitching appearances of his professional career. On May 9th, he pitched a scoreless inning of mop-up relief in a 12-4 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers, then repeated the feat against the Philadelphia Phillies on July 26th. That day, he came up to bat in the bottom of the 9th and hit a solo homer off Hector Neris, becoming the first Cubs reliever to hit a long ball since Carlos Marmol in 2006. He announced before the 2016 season that it would be his last as a pro. He figured to play little as the Cubs' third catcher, mainly playing on days when Jon Lester, his former teammate with the Boston Red Sox, was pitching but plans changed when C/OF Kyle Schwarber suffered a season-ending injury in the first week of the season. That moved David's status up to principal back-up of starting C Miguel Montero. On April 21st, he was behind the plate as Jake Arrieta pitched a 16-0 no-hitter over the Cincinnati Reds; it was the first time he had caught a no-hitter, and he also hit his first homer of the season in the game. He played quite a bit during his final season, hitting .229 with 10 homers and 39 RBIs in 67 games. He started a number of times in the postseason as well, as the Cubs won their first World Series title since 1908. He hit a pair of homers in the postseason, one in Game 4 of the NLDS off Matt Moore of the San Francisco Giants, and the second in Game 7 of the World Series, off Andrew Miller of the Cleveland Indians that finalized his status as a folk hero. Nicknamed "Grandpa Rossy" by Cubs players, he was often cited as a major factor in getting the young team to loosen up and play up to its potential in that fateful season.

While he had stated before 2016 that it would be his last year as a player, no one expected him to walk away from the game completely, and in early 2017 the Cubs confirmed that he had been added to their front office staff as a special assistant in baseball operations. He also accepted a job offer from ESPN to work as an analyst on its baseball coverage and he continued in these two roles through the 2019 season. In addition, during these years Ross wrote an autobiography and signed up to be a contestant on the 24th season of the television show Dancing with the Stars. He went all the way to the final, ultimately finishing runner-up to NFL running back Rashad Jennings.

In October 2019 he emerged as the favorite to succeed Joe Maddon as manager of the Cubs. His hiring was confirmed on October 23rd. He led the Cubs to a division title during the abbreviated 2020 season, but the Cubs were upset by the Miami Marlins in the Wild Card Series. After a good start in 2021, the team began to sink in the standings and management decided to dismantle what remained of the team that had won the 2016 World Series, conducting a veritable fire sale at the trading deadline. As a a result, Ross had to lead the team through a reconstruction the rest of that year and in 2022, but they were back in playoff contention in 2023 following some high profile signings, such as those of Dansby Swanson, Cody Bellinger and Jameson Taillon, and the development of younger players like Nico Hoerner and Justin Steele. They barely missed the postseason, and Ross's position appeared to be solid, as he had successfully steered the ship through a difficult reconstruction, but in a stunning move on November 6th, team President Jed Hoyer announced that he had been fired and replaced by Craig Counsell, who had until then been the manager of the rival Milwaukee Brewers.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Preceded by
Joe Maddon
Chicago Cubs Manager
Succeeded by
Craig Counsell

Year-by-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs
2020 Chicago Cubs National League 34-26 1st Chicago Cubs Lost NLWCS
2021 Chicago Cubs National League 71-91 4th Chicago Cubs
2022 Chicago Cubs National League 74-88 3rd Chicago Cubs
2023 Chicago Cubs National League 83-79 2nd Chicago Cubs

Further Reading[edit]

  • David Adler: "New skipper Ross 'honored' to lead Cubs", mlb.com, October 28, 2019. [1]
  • Nancy Armour: "David Ross' last season a memorable one as Cubs land in NLCS", USA Today Sports, October 14, 2016. [2]
  • Jordan Bastian: "David Ross to be named Cubs manager (source)", mlb.com, October 23, 2019. [3]
  • Chris Bumbaca and David Nightengale: "Chicago Cubs hire former catcher David Ross as next manager", USA Today, October 23, 2019. [4]
  • Doug Miller: "Influential Ross enjoying sunset of playing career: Cubs catcher, hoping for one more ring, reflects on 15 years in big leagues", mlb.com, August 15, 2016. [5]
  • Carrie Muskat: "Going out on top: Ross carried off as champ: In final game, Cubs catcher becomes oldest player to homer in Game 7 of a World Series", mlb.com, November 3, 2016. [6]
  • Carrie Muskat: "Ross reflects on Cubs' title, life in retirement", mlb.com, November 13, 2016. [7]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Cubs teammates seek title for veteran catcher David Ross", USA Today Sports, April 12, 2016. [8]
  • Bob Nightengale: "David Ross: 'Exhausted' after Dancing With the Stars nearly ends in triumph", USA Today Sports, May 25, 2017. [9]
  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "David Ross' amazing exit: Cubs catcher homers, wins Game 7, carried into retirement", USA Today Sports, November 3, 2016. [10]
  • David Ross and Don Yaeger: Teammate: My Journey in Baseball and a World Series for the Ages, Hachette Books, New York, NY, 2017. ISBN 978-0316559447

Related Sites[edit]