Wednesday’s Matchup: Tommy La Stella vs. Johnny Grubb

Tuesday’s winner is Adam Everett: he moves on to face Mike Lowell in the round of 32.

Wednesday’s Matchup

Tommy La Stella (Haymarket 2009) vs. Johnny Grubb (Charlottesville 1969)

  • Tommy La Stella was picked in the 8th round of the 2011 draft by the Atlanta Braves out of Coastal Carolina. He made his major league debut with Atlanta in 2014, and spent his first five seasons in the majors (the last four with the Chicago Cubs) mostly as a pinch hitter. Before 2019, he was traded to the Los Angeles Angels, won the club’s second base starting job, and proceeded to hit with power that he had not shown before. Prior to his season-ending injury (well, he came back for two games at the end of the season), La Stella hit .295/.346/.486 with 16 home runs in 292 at-bats. He had hit 10 home runs in his career (over roughly 800 at-bats) up to that point. Much to Joe Deck’s chagrin, he was named an All-Star… but to be fair, Joe didn’t know that La Stella had played in the Valley until I set him straight.
  • A couple days ago, I made a point that Jason Michaels had been drafted four times. Well, count former Hornet Johnny Grubb as a four-times-drafted-dude as well, as he was picked twice in 1969 (in the January and June phases), and once in 1970 and 1971. The 24th-overall pick of the San Diego Padres in ’71, Grubb annihilated the minor leagues and made the majors in 1972. Still with rookie status in 1973, Grubb hit .311/.373/.445 in 389 at-bats, and finished 6th in Rookie of the Year voting. He went on to make his only all-star team the next year, in 1973 (before Joe Deck was born, so Joe has an excuse for not knowing this). Grubb spent time with the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers before being traded to the Detroit Tigers for the 1983 season. He won a World Series with the ’84 team, appearing in four of the Series games, and went 4-7 with the Tigers in the ALCS in 1987 against the Minnesota Twins. In over 4,000 career at-bats, Grubb hit .278/.366/.413 with 99 home runs, and more walks (566) than strikeouts (558). Now 71 years old, Grubb has kept a low profile since retiring, but did coach high school in Richmond for a time.

Vote by going to twitter.com/JohnATVL to vote! (Closes Thursday morning)

And by the way, if you want to read much, much more about the 2019 VBL season, be sure to check out the 2019 Valley League Annual! (Or 2015, too, for that matter.)

 

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