Joe Grzenda was born on Tuesday, June 8, 1937, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Grzenda was 23 years old when he broke into the big leagues on April 26, 1961, with the Detroit Tigers. His biographical data, year-by-year hitting stats, fielding stats, pitching stats (where applicable), career totals, uniform numbers, salary data and miscellaneous items-of-interest are presented by Baseball Almanac on this comprehensive Joe Grzenda baseball stats page.
"(Joe) Grzenda did well his first three years (in the minors), and in 1958 he was promoted to Birmingham, which at that time was the Tigers' AA team in the Southern Association. At the end of July, his record was 14-2. Fans loved him; he was labeled 'the most popular player in Baron history.' With his whip-like arm, he mowed down hitters, the speed of his fastball compared with that of the hardest thrower in the game at the time, Herb Score ." - Author Larry Colton in Southern League: A True Story of Baseball, Civil Rights, and the Deep South's Most Compelling Pennant Race (Grand Central Publishing, 05/14/2013, Chapter 25)
Joe Grzenda Autograph on a 1971 Topps Baseball Card (#518)
Joe Grzenda Pitching Stats
Joe Grzenda Hitting Stats
Joe Grzenda Fielding Stats
Joe Grzenda Miscellaneous Stats
|Baserunning Statistics||Other Positions||Common Hitting Ratios||Common Pitching Ratios|
Joe Grzenda Miscellaneous Items of Interest
|Team [Click for Roster]||Uniform Numbers||Salary||All-Star||World Series|
|1961 Detroit Tigers||46||Undetermined||-||-|
|1964 Kansas City Athletics||36||Undetermined||-||-|
|1966 Kansas City Athletics||17||Undetermined||-||-|
|1967 New York Mets||43||Undetermined||-||-|
|1969 Minnesota Twins||17||Undetermined||-||-|
|1970 Washington Senators||19 , 31||$12,000.00||-||-|
|1971 Washington Senators||31||$15,000.00||-||-|
|1972 St. Louis Cardinals||31||Undetermined||-||-|
|Joe Grzenda Stats by Baseball Almanac|
Joseph Charles Grzenda was a Major League Baseball player who pitched for the Detroit Tigers ( 1961 ), Kansas City Athletics ( 1964 , 1966 ), New York Mets ( 1967 ), Minnesota Twins ( 1969 ), Washington Senators ( 1970 - 1971 ), and St. Louis Cardinals ( 1972 ).
Joe Grzenda Rookie Card | 1969 Topps Baseball Card (#121 | Checklist )
Baseball Almanac Collection
The American League added two new expansion teams in 1961 , the Los Angeles Angels and Washington Senators (1961-1971). The new Senators still struggled mightily, losing an average of 90 games a year, causing fans to modify the old team saying, "Washington: first in war, first in peace, and still last in the American League." The Senators went 63-96 in 1971 , the Washington franchise moved again, and became known as the modern-day Texas Rangers in 1972.
Joe Grzenda was one of the few bright spots on the 1971 Senators , winning 5, losing 2, an ERA of 1.92, and being referred to in Sports Illustrated as one of the best relief pitchers in the American League.
On September 30, 1971 , during the last game at RFK Stadium, with 14,460 upset fans in attendance (the move to Texas had already been announced), Joe Grzenda took the mound in the 9th inning to collect a save (Senators 7 - Yankees 5). The fans had already come onto the field in the seventh, causing a delay, again after Grzenda recorded the first out in the 9th, a second delay, then after the second out, the fans in the stands literally emptied themselves onto the field.
The authorities could not restore order, so the game was forfeited to the Yankees. The statistics from the game are official, but there is no winning or losing pitcher since the Senators were winning at the time the game was forfeited! The final pitcher that infamous day was Joe Grzenda, who was standing on the mound, ball in hand - a ball he kept when he too left the field...
Joe Grzenda told Baseball Almanac, "There were hundreds of them (fans) covering over the fences. There was actually dust flying everywhere. Do you remember those old movies with herds of cattle stampeding? That's what it look like from my perspective."
Joe Grzenda held onto that ball for 34 years, and when baseball returned to the nation's capital, he handed it to President George W. Bush, who threw it out during the opening ceremonies for the Washington Nationals , on April 14, 2005.
Washington Senators Final Game | The Decatur Herald | October 1, 1971 | Page 15
Joe Grzenda stepped onto the mound in two-hundred nineteen Major League Baseball games, in twenty-six different ballparks, faced one-thousand three-hundred twenty-nine big league batters, and not once during his 8-year career did he commit a single error !
Last-Modified: July 18, 2019 5:49 AM EST