Wayne Allan Granger (born March 15, 1944 in Springfield, Massachusetts) is a former Major League Baseball right-handed relief pitcher who played for the St. Louis Cardinals (1968, 1973), Cincinnati Reds (1969–1971), Minnesota Twins (1972), New York Yankees (1973), Chicago White Sox (1974), Houston Astros (1975) and Montreal Expos (1976). The 6–4, 165-pound Granger was one of baseball's most effective and durable relief pitchers during the early years of Cincinnati's famed Big Red Machine.
Granger graduated from Huntington High School in Huntington, Massachusetts. He attended Springfield College (Massachusetts) where he was a pitcher on the 1965 baseball team.
Before his professional career began, Granger played two seasons in the province of Quebec in the Saguenay senior league—in 1963 for the Jonquiere Braves and in 1964 for Port-Alfred in 1964.
Granger was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as an amateur free agent in 1965. He made his big-league debut at age 24 on June 5, 1968 in a 3–1 Cardinals win over the Houston Astros at the Astrodome, also earning his first save with one perfect inning in relief of starter Larry Jaster. The first-ever batter he faced was Bob Aspromonte, whom he struck out. The rookie sinkerballer went 4–2 with a 2.25 ERA in 34 games that season.
However, on October 11, 1968, the Cardinals traded Bobby Tolan and Granger to the Cincinnati Reds for Vada Pinson.
With the Reds in 1969 Granger posted a 9–6 record and 2.79 ERA with 27 saves in a then-National League record 90 appearances, and he won the first of two straight Fireman of the Year awards. The following season in 1970 he set a National League record with 35 saves (since broken) while going 6–5 with a 2.66 ERA in 67 games. That season, he ranked eighth in the National League Cy Young Award voting.
In June of that year, he threw the final pitch and also earned the last victory at the Reds' venerable home Crosley Field before the team moved to Riverfront Stadium.
During Game 3 of the 1970 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles, Granger surrendered a grand slam to opposing pitcher Dave McNally. It is the only time in World Series history that a pitcher has hit a grand slam. The Reds lost the best-of-seven series in five games, and Granger never again pitched in the postseason.
In 1971 he again led the league in games pitched with 70, posting a 7–6 record with a 3.33 ERA and 11 saves. After the season the Reds traded him to the Minnesota Twins.
After one year with the Twins, beginning in 1973 Granger pitched for five teams in four seasons. Arm injuries cut short his career in 1976.
He earned induction into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 1982, only the second Reds' relief pitcher to be so honored. He has since periodically returned to Cincinnati for Reds reunions including the annual RedsFest and Reds Hall of Fame inductions.
- ^ a b "Wayne Granger Statistics and History". baseball-reference.com. sports-reference.com. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
- ^ Botelho, John (April 21, 2009). "Springfield College Alum Dominates For Big Red Machine". bleacherreport.com. Turner Broadcasting System. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
- ^ "Historie du baseball au Québec: Remembering the Montreal Expos". sabr.org. Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
- ^ "Jun 5, 1968, Cardinals at Astros Box Score and Play by Play". baseball-reference.com. sports-reference.com. June 5, 1968. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
- ^ a b "Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame & Museum: Wayne Granger, Class of 1982". cincinnati.reds.mlb.com. Major League Baseball (MLB). Retrieved February 14, 2015.
- ^ "Podcasts, Videos & Headlines". kenbroo.com. Ken Broo. Retrieved February 14, 2015.
By Dean Hanley
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