Seldom has a journeyman baseball player ever ended his career on such a high note as David Ross did in 2016. Ross not only became the motivational and locker room leader of the Chicago Cubs, the seventh different team he played on as mostly a backup catcher during 15 big-league seasons, he hit a home run in his last at-bat to aid the Cubs in their first World Series title since 1908. This was a spectacular ending to a career that Ross, who continues to bask in the post-World Series glow, thought was over in 2008 when the Cincinnati Reds cut him. What it’s been like for “Grandpa Rossy” to hang in there for so long only to ride into the sunset as a Cubs icon and World Series hero makes for a rich read.
Here’s an excerpt from Teammate:
“I believe batting practice is one of the most overrated things in baseball. (Maybe that’s why I am a career .229 hitter!) The way [Cubs manager Joe Maddon] sees it, the last feeling you had at the plate is the one you want to take with you on your next at-bat. If you are hitting the ball well, why take more batting practice.
“It’s easy to slip into bad habits – or try too hard at the plate. I had my best year in Cincinnati (2006/.255 batting average, 21 home runs, and 52 RBIs) and I took the least amount of BP. I’d get in the cage and take a couple of swings to get loose and I’d be out of there.”