Tommy Gregg

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William Thomas Gregg

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Biographical Information[edit]

Tommy Gregg was a man without a position in his 9-year major league career. He hit very well in the minors, albeit with limited power, but was never given a chance to play regularly in the majors, spending most of his time as a pinch-hitter.

He was an excellent line drive hitter who opened a lot of eyes when he hit a sparkling .371 with the Harrisburg Senators of the AA Eastern League in 1987. The Pittsburgh Pirates had drafted him in the 7th round of the 1985 amateur draft, and he started off with a couple of decent but not extraordinary seasons in the lower minors. With Harrisburg, however, he added 22 doubles, 9 triples and 10 homers to all of the singles, and scored 99 runs. He received a call-up to Pittsburgh at the end of the season and went 2 for 8. He played largely first base in Harrisburg, not particularly well, and could also be hidden in the outfield if necessary, but it was his bat that was his calling card. Pittsburgh already had a good young first baseman in Sid Bream, however, so there was no room for Tommy with the big league club.

In 1988, Gregg moved up to the AAA Buffalo Bisons where he hit .294 in 72 games and in a limited opportunity, was 3 for 15 with his first big league homer for the Bucs. On September 1st, he was sent to the Atlanta Braves as the player to be named later in return for veteran infielder Ken Oberkfell, and hit .345 in 11 games for the last-place Braves. It looked like he would get an opportunity to be a starter with the team in 1989, but while he played 102 games for the team, he only got 276 at-bats - which were the most for him in any season - and hit .243 with 6 homers. Playing first base in a hitter-friendly park like Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, it simply was not enough power, and he settled into a role as an occasional first baseman and as the team's primary pinch-hitter. He hit .264 in 124 games in 1990 (but only 239 at-bats) with 5 homers and 32 RBIs. when the Braves suddenly became good in 1991, he hit just .187 with 1 homer in 72 games. He did appear in both the NLCS, against his former team, the Pirates, and in the World Series against the Minnesota Twins, going a combined 1 for 7 as a pinch-hitter. In 1992, he was back in the same role, and went 5 for 19 in 18 games before being sent down to the AAA Richmond Braves. As a result, he missed the postseason and it was Francisco Cabrera who became known for his pinch-hitting heroics.

In 1993, he joined the Cincinnati Reds but played only 10 games in the majors, going 2 for 12, while hitting .318 in 71 games for the Indianapolis Indians in AAA. He tried his luck with the Mexico City Red Devils in 1994 (hitting .352, which would have been 3rd in the Mexican League batting race had he qualified), then resurfaced in 1995 in the Florida Marlins organization. He tore the cover off the ball in AAA with the Charlotte Knights, batting .387 in 34 games, earning another look in the Show. He played 72 games, with some appearances in the outfield, hitting .236 with 6 homers and 20 RBIs in 156 at-bats. It wasn't enough to keep a job, so he spent all of 1996 with Charlotte, where he hit .286 with 22 homers and 80 RBIs in 119 games. In 1997, he returned to the Braves and had another very solid year in AAA, where he hit .332 in 115 games for Richmond. That earned him a final shot at the big time late in the season, going back to his familiar pinch-hitting role; he went 5 for 19. He wasn't called upon in the Division Series, where the Braves swept the Houston Astros in three games but was blanked in 4 at-bats as the Braves were upset by the Marlins in the 1997 NLCS. He returned to Mexico City in 1998 and retired as a player after that final season, then became a minor league coach starting in 1999. Overall, he hit .243 in 446 major league games.

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