Sunday, February 8, 2015

Card #146: Mike Griffin

Who Can It Be Now?
Michael Leroy Griffin was born on June 26, 1957, in Colusa, California.  Griffin was the third-round pick in the 1976 June draft of the Texas Rangers out of Woodland High School in Woodland, California.

After two years in the Rangers system, Griffin was part of a 9-player trade in November of 1978 in which he, Juan Beniquez, Paul Mirabella, and Dave Righetti were traded to the New York Yankees in return for Mike Heath, Dave Rajsich, Larry McCall, Domingo Ramos, Sparky Lyle, and cash. The next year -- 1979 -- Griffin made his major league debut with the Yankees.

Getting traded and moving around was a big part of Griffin's career. He was traded again in 1981 as the player to be named later (along with Doug Bird and $400,000) going to the Cubs in exchange for Rick Reuschel. Bird and Griffin pitched back-to-back 1-run games against the Dodgers in August of 1981, leading to some typical Tommy LaSorda hyperbole: "Who are those guys? Christy Mathewson and Walter Johnson?"

No, Tommy. No they are not.

Griffin's stay in Chicago did not last long -- only to the end of spring training in 1982 -- at which point he was traded to the Expos for Dan Briggs.  Griffin never appeared in the major leagues for the Expos, and at the end of August was traded again. This time, he went to San Diego in exchange for future White Sox and Mets manager Jerry Manuel.  

Griffin bounced around the minors for a few years after that -- going to the Rangers system in 1983, to Kansas City's system after 1984, and then to Baltimore after 1986. He made 23 appearances as an Oriole in 1987 for a team in sharp decline and did not pitch very well. 

He was back on the streets as a free agent after the 1988 season, but then the Cincinnati Reds gave him one last shot at the big leagues. He pitched 4-1/3 innings in 3 appearances in 1989, and that was the end of his big-league career.

Mustache Check 
Yes.  It's ginger bristles, but it counts.

Everybody Wants You
To get traded twice in the 1982 season, Griffin had to be wanted by two different teams as well. Because otherwise there's nothing, Griffin is a Wanted Man.

A Few Minutes with Tony L.
The only thing I remember about Mike Griffin was this card. As a ten-year-old, I don't think I'd ever seen as many freckles on any one person as appear on Griffin in this photo. As a pitcher, though, he is as memorable as the remnants of a drunken night after 20 shots.  In other words, "he did what?"

Since his retirement as an active player, Griffin has spent most of his time as a minor-league pitching coach. Starting in 1993 with Triple-A Indianapolis, Griffin spent several years in the Cincinnati Reds system as a pitching coach. After leaving the Reds system, Griffin hooked on with the Boston Red Sox in 1999. Griffin coached for 9 seasons (1999-2007) in the Red Sox system before joining the Baltimore Orioles organization. After spending 2008 in Double-A Bowie, Griffin has become a fixture as the pitching coach for Baltimore's Triple-A team, the Norfolk Tides, in the International League and coached there through 2014.

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