Pittsburgh Pirates All-Time Top 100: 41. George Grantham

George Grantham was a 5’10” first and second baseman from Galena, KS. Born on May 20th, 1900, the lefty-batting right hander grew up in Flagstaff, AZ. He made his first professional appearance with the “B” level Pacific Coast International League with the Tacoma Tigers, appearing in 98 games with them over parts of 1920 and ’21. He hit .289 with four home runs. His play was good enough for a promotion to the “AA” level Pacific Coast League with the Portland Beavers midway through the 1921 season, where he hit .305 over 77 games.

1922 would see Grantham spend 157 games with the “A” level Omaha Buffaloes of the Western League, hitting .359 with 22 home runs. Late in the season, he got his first big league look with the Chicago Cubs, where he went 4-for-23 over seven games. Grantham then spent the next two complete seasons with the Cubs, hitting .296 with 20 home runs and 130 RBI, leading the NL in strikeouts both seasons. After the 1924 season, the Cubs traded him with pitcher Vic Aldridge (40-30, 3.99 over three seasons with the Pirates) and first baseman Al Niehaus (17 games, .219) to the Pirates for pitcher Wilbur Cooper (went 14-15, 4.31 over two seasons with the Cubs), Charlie Grimm (12 seasons with the Cubs, hit .296 with 696 RBI) and Rabbit Maranville (played 75 games, hit .233.

In 1925, Grantham, also sometimes called “Boots,” joined the Bucs opening day roster as the sixth hitter, soon moving to seventh in the order. On June 22nd, in the first game of a doubleheader, he went 4-for-4 with four runs, a double, two homers, and a total of six RBI in a 24-6 drubbing of the St. Louis Cardinals. Overall, he hit a career best .326 with 52 RBI and 50 walks to 29 strikeouts. The team finished 95-58, winning the NL pennant by 8.5 games over the New York Giants. Grantham disappointed in the World Series, going 2-for-15, but the Pirates were victorious anyway. They took the Fall Classic four games to three over the Washington Senators.

1926 would see Grantham hit .318 with 27 doubles, 13 triples (10th in the NL), eight home runs, and 70 RBI. He walked 60 times (NL eighth) while striking out 42 times. His .400 OBP was also good for eighth best in the league. He batted fifth, sixth and seventh in the order. On July 7th, in an 8-7 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, he hit a double and a triple, totaling five RBI. Two days later, he went 3-for-3 with a triple, a home run, and three RBI as the Bucs again set down the Phillies, 9-6. In fact, from July 3rd through July 14th, Grantham hit .571 with six doubles, six triples and 13 RBI. He walked five times, scored eight runs, and did not strike out in 54 plate appearances. During the streak, he collected multiple hits on 10 of 13 occasions. The Pirates finished at 84-69, 4.5 games behind the Cardinals.

In 1927, Grantham hit .305 over 151 games. He hit 33 doubles (NL sixth), 11 triples (NL sixth), and eight home runs for 66 RBI. He also walked 74 times (NL third) to 39 strikeouts, scoring 96 runs (NL 10th). The Pirates batted him first, second, fifth, and sixth in the lineup. On May 31st, he went 3-for-5, hitting two doubles, scoring, and collecting two RBI in a 10-9 win over the Chicago Cubs. Pittsburgh won the NL pennant by 1.5 games over the Cardinals, advancing to the World Series against the New York Yankees. Grantham went 4-for-11 with a double, but the Yankees swept the Bucs in four.

1928 would see Grantham bring his average up to .323, drawing 59 walks, scoring 93 times and striking out 37 times. He played in 124 contests, hitting 24 doubles, nine triples and 10 home runs for 85 RBI. He batted fourth through sixth in the lineup, playing first base all season. On August 4th in the first game of a doubleheader, he went 4-for-5, scoring three runs while hitting a sacrifice hit, a double, and a homer with four RBI in a 14-8 win over the Phillies. Pittsburgh was 85-67, nine games behind the pennant winning Cardinals.

In 1929, Grantham hit .307 over 110 contests, collecting 85 runs, 23 doubles, 10 triples and 12 home runs with 90 RBI. He walked 93 times (NL second) vs. only 38 strikeouts. Batting mostly fifth in the order, his .454 on base percentage placed him third in the NL. On July 10th, he bashed two home runs and scored four times while totaling five RBI in a 15-9 victory over the Phillies. The Pirates 88-65 record had them finishing second in the NL, 10.5 games behind Chicago.

1930 would see Grantham hit .324 in 146 contests. He notched career highs with 120 runs, 18 home runs, and 99 RBI. He also hit 34 doubles and 14 triples (NL sixth) with 81 walks (NL fourth) and 66 strikeouts batting second through fifth in the order. He fell a double short of the cycle on May 25th in the top half of a twin bill, adding a sacrifice hit while scoring and knocking in three. The Pirates defeated the Cincinnati Reds in 10 innings, 6-5. Pittsburgh finished 80-74, 12 games behind the Cardinals.

1931 would be Grantham’s last season with the Pirates. He played in 127 games, hitting .305 with 26 doubles and 10 home runs while collecting 71 walks (NL fourth) against 50 strikeouts batting mostly second and third. On June 26th, he was the best of a bad bunch, going 4-for-5 with two doubles and a triple in a 13-2 loss to the Phillies. The Pirates finished with their first losing record in 14 seasons, at 75-79.

Prior to the 1932 campaign, Grantham’s contract was sold to the Reds. In two seasons with Cincinnati, he hit .262 over 213 contests. He would finish up his major league career in 1934 with the Giants, hitting .241 in 32 games.

All-Time Statline: Seven seasons, 913 games, .315/.410/.491, 992-for-3145, 625 runs, 191 doubles, 69 triples, 74 home runs, 508 RBI, 58 stolen bases, 488 walks, 301 strikeouts, 20.9 wins above replacement.

Tune in next time for “Mr. Team.”

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editor (Charlie) or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.

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