Henry John Gruber
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 9", Weight 155 lb.
- Debut July 28, 1887
- Final Game October 2, 1891
- Born December 14, 1863 in Hamden, CT USA
- Died September 26, 1932 in New Haven, CT USA
Henry Gruber played five seasons in the majors, pitching for Detroit and Cleveland.
Gruber was born in Hamden, CT and played in leagues in Connecticut and elsewhere in New England beginning in 1884. He came to the 1887 Detroit Wolverines at a great time - the team had acquired the Big Four and had other top players such as Sam Thompson, and won the pennant in 1887. Gruber's 2.74 ERA (in seven games) was the best on the team.
The team did not play as well in 1888, but Gruber continued to perform with a 2.29 ERA which was second-best on the team (to Pete Conway, whose 2.26 ERA yielded him a record of 30-14).
Gruber was sold after the season was over, and spent the following year with the 1889 Cleveland Spiders, a below-.500 team for whom his 3.64 ERA was barely better than the team's 3.66 ERA. With some of the players from the 1889 team, he switched leagues and played for the 1890 Cleveland Infants, also a below-.500 team. Gruber went 22-23, leading the team in wins although his ERA was, for once, a bit worse than the team ERA.
He came back to the Spiders in 1891, going 17-22, but his 4.13 ERA was much worse than the team's 3.50 ERA. Thereafter, he continued to pitch several more seasons in the minors, mostly in the Eastern League. He also umpired a pair of National League games in 1889.
An article in Baseball Digest from April 1963 indicates that Gruber pitched the Opening Day game between Buffalo and Cleveland in the Players League, at which 3,500 fans attended. Gruber, who pitched the entire game, gave up 16 walks.
In spring 1892 he spent some time as a batting practice pitcher for the players at Yale University.
- 20 Wins Seasons: 1 (1890)
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 4 (1888-1891)
- 300 Innings Pitched Seasons: 2 (1890 & 1891)
- Bases on balls allowed, game, 16, April 19, 1890 (tied)