Killericon welcomes 1st baseman Mark Grace to the Cannons' lineup.
Mark Eugene Grace (born June 28, 1964 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina) was a professional Major League Baseball player for 16 seasons with the Chicago Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks. His defensive position was first base. He batted left handed and wore jersey number 17.
After playing baseball for San Diego State University, Grace was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1985. He spent three years playing in the Cubs farm system before making his major league debut May 2, 1988.
Mark Grace was never a flashy power hitter, and was often overlooked on Cubs teams that included Sammy Sosa, Andre Dawson and Ryne Sandberg. However, Grace was a consistent, steady hitter, compiling almost 2,500 hits and more than 500 doubles during his 16-year career. He also had a career on-base percentage of .383 and collected four Gold Glove Awards. He holds the distinction of collecting the most base hits (1,754) and doubles (364) in the decade of the 1990s.
In 2000, Mark Grace and the Chicago Cubs management had a falling out and the Cubs decided not to renew his contract. While he was a fan favorite, he and star right fielder Sosa feuded, and some in the front office resented Grace's pack-a-day smoking habit and his hijinks while enjoying Chicago's nightlife. Young pubcrawlers in Chicago still reference the phrase 'slumpbuster' which was coined by Grace. Grace befriended young pitchers Kyle Farnsworth and Kerry Wood in the late 1990s, and some observers believe Grace's tutelage has helped feed Farnsworth's affinity for the nightlife.
Upon leaving Chicago, the Diamondbacks proceeded to sign him, where he played for three more seasons, including helping the Diamondbacks to a World Series victory in 2001. Grace was responsible for leading off the bottom of the 9th inning with a single off Yankee pitcher Mariano Rivera which rallied the Arizona Diamondbacks to an improbable come from behind victory in Game 7.
On September 26, 2003, Mark Grace announced his retirement from baseball. He continues his involvement in the game as a television color commentator for the Diamondbacks, broadcasting games with partner Thom Brennaman. Mark has stated a desire to coach a major league team in the future. He was considered for the Diamondbacks' managerial position following the 2004 season, but the Diamondbacks hired Bob Melvin instead.