It’s really unusual for a baseball player who was a backup catcher, and who was with one team for just two of his 15 big-league seasons, to become beloved by fans of that team.
But that’s where we stand with David Ross, who hit just .203/.304/.351 with 11 home runs in 325 at-bats in his two years with the Cubs. He received a rousing standing ovation when he was removed from the Cubs’ last regular-season home game in 2016 (that, done at the suggestion of his friend Jon Lester), hit a home run in his final official big-league at-bat in Game 7 of the World Series (he drew a walk in his final plate appearance), and was carried off the field in Cleveland on the shoulders of his teammates after the Cubs won the World Series.
Here’s video from that September 25 game at Wrigley, with Ross’ postgame comments:
He hit a home run in that game, too, the last regular-season hit of his career:
Ross seems to have a great understanding of his place in the history of the game, and the history of the Cubs. He knows his ability wasn’t as good as some other players. What that appeared to make him do was to learn the ins and outs of the game, the nuances of what it took to succeed, so that he could help mentor other players, particularly Anthony Rizzo. Rizzo was already becoming the on-field leader of the Cubs before Ross arrived in 2015, but “Grandpa’s” style of leadership definitely rubbed off on Rizzo, and the two became fast friends.
While Ross wasn’t much of a hitter, he played strong defense. Here’s video from a game against the Brewers last year in which he caught two runners stealing and picked another one off:
The look on Grandpa’s face says it all, I think. Here’s Ross’ home run in Game 7:
David Ross packed a lot of thrills and excitement into a 15-year playing career, including two World Series rings. And just for fun, here’s Ross’ first major-league home run, hit September 2, 2002 — off Mark Grace!
(Fun bit of trivia: Only one other player besides Ross who played in that 2002 game was active in 2016... future Hall of Famer Adrian Beltre.)
I’m very happy that Ross has signed on as a special assistant to the Cubs’ baseball operations department. That’ll keep him involved with the game and with the team and hopefully, when he’s ready, it will lead to a full-time coaching (or, perhaps, someday managing) job with the Cubs.
Only two years as a Cubs player — but two years packed with thrills and excitement. David Ross might have played for seven different teams, but he’s a Cub for life.