- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 207 lb.
- High School Bowen High School
- Debut July 10, 1959
- Final Game August 4, 1963
- Born August 9, 1934 in Chicago, IL USA
Eli Grba packed a lot of notoriety into a five-year major league career. First, his unusual last name, with its lack of vowels in the middle of the word, got immediate attention. Second, he appeared in the 1960 World Series as a pinch-runner with the New York Yankees after going 6-4 as a pitcher in the regular season. Third, he was the first pick by the Los Angeles Angels in the 1960 expansion draft and threw the first pitch in franchise history (Grba got the win in the Angels' first game). He spent his last three seasons in the majors with the Angels.
He was a pretty good hitter for a pitcher, with a lifetime batting average of .219. In 160 career at-bats in the majors, he had 5 doubles and 4 home runs.
He was first signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1952 and was in the minors with the Salisbury Rocots in 1953, Corning Red Sox in 1954, San Jose Red Sox in 1955 and San Francisco Seals in 1956. He was traded to the Yankees before the 1957 season but was in the military in 1957 and 1958, then appeared with the Richmond Virginians in 1959 and 1960. In 1964 he was with the Toronto Maple Leafs - by then he seemed to be having difficulties seeing the catcher's signals through his thick spectacles.
He was a pitching coach for various minor league teams from 1982-1988, and was a minor league manager in 1989 and 1990. He was a pitching coach again in 1991, and scouted from 1992-1997.
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (1961)
Year-By-Year Minor League Managerial Record
|1969||Lodi Crushers||California League||8th||Oakland Athletics||replaced Warren Hacker 8/14|
|1989||Reno Silver Sox||California League||68-74||6th||none|
|1990||Princeton Patriots||Appalachian League||31-36||7th||none|
- Douglas Williams: Baseball's Fallen Angel Eli Grba: A Major Leaguer's Life Story of High Expectations, Hidden Pitfalls, and His Ongoing Fight In Recovery, Infinity Publishing, Conshohocken, PA, 2016. ISBN 978-1495806674