Saturday, June 11, 2016

1991 Topps #731: Jeff Gray

In this series, I will look at my first team set: 1991 Topps. This was the set I started my baseball card collection with.
It is a little surprising that Jeff Gray's first Major League cards are in 1991 sets.  He appeared briefly for the Reds in 1988, pitching in five games and pitching fairly well.  Sets featured a lot of cards back then, so it is kind of odd that not one of them included Jeff Gray.

Gray kind of came out of nowhere in 1990.  He had returned to the minor leagues in 1989 and then was traded to the Phillies as the player to be named later in a July trade.  He was released by the Phillies before the season and Boston picked him up soon after.  Gray was called up to Boston in June when the Red Sox needed a little bit of help with their bullpen.  Gray quickly became the primary setup man and stepped in as closer in August when Jeff Reardon went down with an injury.  He was an impressive find, going 2-4 with a 4.44 ERA, striking out 50 while walking just 15 in just over 50 innings.  He also picked up nine saves and pitched twice in the postseason.

Unfortunately, just as Gray was establishing himself as one of the top setup men in the game in 1991, he suffered a stroke in July.  He was 2-3 at the time with a 2.34 ERA.  Gray spent the rest of the season and the 1992 season recovering and then attempted to return to the Majors, but was not able to do so.  The stroke ended a promising career.  


  1. Oof, strokes are no fun.

    BTW, I got your package yesterday. Thanks a ton :)!

  2. Now did you see what I meant on that last comment? I had mailed those cards the day before the post went up. I don't recall, was Boggs in there?

    1. Yeah I knew what you implied then too. And yep it was. Thanks a bunch!