Curtis Granderson (born March 16, 1981 in Blue Island, Illinois) is a center fielder in Major League Baseball for the New York Yankees. Granderson grew up in Lynwood, Illinois, a south suburb of Chicago.
Granderson attended high school at Thornton Fractional South High School in Lansing, Illinois. As a senior in 1999, Granderson hit .427 and was selected SICA Central All-Conference, as well earning All-Area recognition from the Illinois Times and the Daily Southtown.
As a freshman at University of Illinois-Chicago in 2000, Granderson led the team with 7 home runs and 45 walks. However, Granderson struck out for the final out of the 2000 Midwestern Collegiate Conference Tournament, enabling Butler University to advance to the NCAA tournament. He followed that with a strong sophomore season in which he hit .304, leading the team in runs, home runs and walks. After his sophomore year, Granderson played in a summer collegiate league for the Mankato Mashers of the Northwoods League. Granderson was named Second-Team All-American by Baseball America and USA Today's Baseball Weekly and a Third-Team Louisville Slugger NCAA Division I All-American following his junior season. He graduated with degrees in business administration and advertising.
Having been drafted by the Tigers in the third round of the 2002 draft, Granderson started his minor league career with the Oneonta Tigers where he hit an impressive .344 in 52 games. In 2003 he played for the Lakeland Tigers. In 2004 he again posted solid numbers, this time with the Erie Seawolves, had his best minor league season, hitting .303 with 21 home runs and 93 RBI. In addition, he was named to the Eastern League's post-season all-star squad and made Baseball America's Double A all-star team, earning him a late season call-up to the Tigers where he made his major league debut on September 13 against the Minnesota Twins.
Granderson started the 2005 season with the Toledo Mud Hens where he again posted terrific numbers, hitting .290 with 15 home runs, 65 RBIs and 22 stolen bases. In September he was again called to the majors and had an inside-the-park home run September 15, a five-hit game September 18 and a walk-off homer on September 26 against the Chicago White Sox.
Granderson became the Tigers starting center fielder for the 2006 season after beating out then teammate Nook Logan for the position during spring training. From the start of his major league career in 2004, Granderson had the longest errorless streak by a position player to start his career since Dave Roberts went 205 games from 1999-2003. He ended up hitting 2 home runs during the playoffs.
Although Granderson was not listed on the 2007 All-Star Game ballot, due to the Tigers' decision to put Gary Sheffield as an outfielder on the ballot, he still received 376,033 write-in votes, the most write-in votes for any player in the Majors.
Granderson was named the American League Player of the Week on July 16 2007, the first time he had won the award. During the week ending July 15, 2007, Granderson hit .500 (8-16) with two doubles, a triple, and a home run. Granderson slugged .938, drove in two runs, scored seven runs, and had fifteen total bases during Detroit's four-game series at Seattle.
On August 7, 2007, Granderson became the second player in franchise history to have at least 30 doubles, 15 triples, 15 home runs, and 10 stolen bases in a single season when he hit a double in a game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The other Tiger to accomplish this feat was Charlie Gehringer in 1930.
On September 7, 2007, Granderson became the 6th member all-time of baseball's exclusive 20–20–20 club. Granderson joined the 20-20-20 club with Kansas City's George Brett (1979), Willie Mays of the New York Giants (1957), Cleveland's Jeff Heath (1941), St. Louis' Jim Bottomley (1928), and Frank Schulte of the Chicago Cubs (1911).
On September 9, 2007 Granderson stole his 20th base of the season and joined Willie Mays and Frank "Wildfire" Schulte as the only players in major league history to reach 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 home runs, and 20 stolen bases in a season, a feat accomplished by the Philadelphia Phillies' Jimmy Rollins 21 days later. Schulte was the first to accomplish the feat in 1911 while playing for the Chicago Cubs and Mays did it in 1957 with the New York Giants.
In 2007, he hit .302 with 23 home runs, and was 26 for 27 in stolen base attempts. He was one of only six batters in the AL to have at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases, along with teammate Gary Sheffield, Ian Kinsler, Alex Rodriguez, Grady Sizemore and B. J. Upton.
The one criticism of Granderson in his young career has been his propensity to strike out a lot at the plate. However, he has improved in this area. After leading the American League with 174 whiffs in 2006, he dropped to seventh in the AL in 2007 (141 strikeouts).
During the 2007 season, Granderson accumulated 23 triples, which led all of baseball. The American League and Detroit Tigers record is 26 triples, a feat achieved by the all-time triples king, Sam Crawford, in 1914. Granderson is the first player since 1949 to manage at least 23 in a single season. Only 10 of his triples were at home despite the fact Comerica Park has seen more triples since it opened in 2000 than any other ballpark in baseball. Granderson's 23 triples were as much or more than six entire teams managed in 2007, the Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners and St. Louis Cardinals all had no more than 23 team triples.
On March 23, 2008, Granderson was placed on the 15-day DL with a broken finger on his right hand. Granderson broke his finger on March 22, 2008 when Travis Blackley hit him with a fastball. This resulted in a stint of rehabilitation in the minor leagues during early April during which he played games with both the West Michigan Whitecaps and the Toledo Mud Hens.
Granderson continued hitting well during the 2008 regular season, finishing with a .280 batting average, 13 triples and 22 home runs. He continued to improve his eye at the plate, striking out only 111 times (versus 141 in 2007 and 174 in 2006) and drawing a career-high 71 walks. During August, he hit 6 triples, including two in consecutive innings during a game against the Texas Rangers.
Granderson was selected to the 2009 All Star Game. It was his first All Star appearance. In the game, he hit a triple in the top of the 8th inning and eventually scored the winning run.
Granderson appeared as a color commentator and guest belt keeper for TNA Wrestling's Slammiversary pay-per-view on June 21, 2009.
- ↑ Kirby, Tim (July 1, 2007). Notes: Granderson lost in the crowd. MLB.com. Retrieved on 2008-09-01.
- ↑ Detroit's Curtis Granderson named Bank of America Presents the American League Player of the Week. MLB.com (July 16, 2007). Retrieved on 2008-09-01.
- ↑ Sports Illustrated, September 24, 2007, p. 51
- ↑ Associated Press. "Granderson's 20th steal puts Tigers center fielder in select company", ESPN.com, September 9, 2007. Accessed September 9, 2007.
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Beck, Jason (August 19, 2008). Granderson's two-strike approach better. MLB.com. Retrieved on 2008-09-01.
- ↑ Beck, Jason (February 19, 2008). Notes: Granderson learning from Sheff. MLB.com. Retrieved on 2008-09-01.
- ↑ baseball-reference.com. Single-Season Leaders & Records for Triples
- ↑ Beck, Jason (February 4, 2008). Tigers, Granderson agree to deal. MLB.com. Retrieved on 2008-09-01.
- ↑ Gary Bond & Danny Knobler (April 17, 2008). Tigers' Granderson to play for Whitecaps Friday. MLive.com. Retrieved on 2008-09-01.
- ↑ Bond, Gary (April 21, 2008). Granderson takes baby steps toward Tigers return. The Grand Rapids Press. Retrieved on 2008-09-01.
- ↑ Curtis Granderson - Game Log. ESPN.com (2008). Retrieved on 2008-09-01.
- ↑ Sheffield, Granderson help Tigers rally for win. International Herald Tribune (August 19, 2008). Retrieved on 2008-09-01.
- ↑ Beck, Jason (October 5, 2007). Granderson to join broadcast booth. MLB.com. Retrieved on 2008-09-01.
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