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Five Fun Facts About Gabe Gross

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Hey gang, here are five fun facts about Gabe Gross, and despite the title I'm quite comfortable saying that i can only issue non-guarantees as to the funness and factiness of the following five-ish bits of information.

1.) David Appelman over at FanGraphs.com identified Gabe as a potential 2007 breakout player due to his low OSwing% and his high HR/FB%.

2.) At age 20, in 2000, Gabe pitched a scoreless inning for the Auburn Tigers. He was then selected the next year in the amateur draft 15th overall by the Toronto Blue Jays. Despite his pitching prowess, the Blue Jays probably drafted him because of his hitting skills. In 2000 he hit .430/.536/.713 in 61 games.

3.) Through his freshman and sophomore year at Auburn, Gross played 11 games at QB throwing for 8 TDs and rushing for 2 more. He also hit 35 HRs in 183 NCAA games. Guess how many college athletes have hit at least 35 HRs and scored at least 10 TDs... Yeah, I have no idea, lots maybe, let me know if you figure that one out. I know it's possible that fellow Auburn Alum Bo Jackson didn't do it, his final year was cut short when he was declared ineligible for accepting a plane ride from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to go take a physical after being drafted first overall.

4.) The GabeGross.com domain is registered to Kevin Pataky, a photographer for Baseball America. Kevin set up the domain to share stats and photos with families and friends while Gabe was with the Eastern League New Haven Ravens. The Ravens were a AA affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays who have since moved to New Hampshire. In an e-mail to me last week, Kevin had this to say about Gabe:

I'd run into Gabe around the International League in 2004 & 2005. I also used to catch up with him down in Spring Training in Dunedin, FL. Also, when he got called up to the Jays, we'd go down to say 'hi' at Yankee Stadium and once we all went up to Toronto for a game. There were a core group of players that we knew well that moved up the ladder together, so it was not just Gabe. It was also Alexis Rios, Dustin McGowan (dustinmcgowan.com), Gustavo Chacin, Dave Bush, Russ Adams, and others. While in New Haven, there were a core group of fans that used to have parties at their houses by the pool in the summer. We'd all play whiffle ball together, and the 'pros' would have to bat opposite than the way they would normally, and throw with their opposite hand. It was a lot of fun. What a great bunch of guys that 2003 team was!

True to kevin's assesment that it was a great bunch of guys, wikipedia states that teammates find Gabe to be so kind and polite and are so enamored by his southern drawl that they've cleverly nicknamed him "the southern gentleman."

5.) Except for two short stints with Toronto, Gabe has posted an OBP of at least .380 in each of his last 4 years of baseball. Geoff Jenkins has posted an OBP of at least .380 in none, not one, of his last 9 major league seasons. In Gabe's first AB with the Brewers (04/04/2006) he hit a pinch hit HR which ended up being the winning run. In Jenkins' first AB with the Brewers (4/24/1998) he merely singled*.