Drafted by the Padres with the 24th pick in the 1st round of the 1971 amateur draft (January Secondary), Johnny Grubb moved quickly though the minor league system. He was called up by the Padres September 10, 1972 and got his first major league hit off Braves starter, Ron Reed. He made the team in 1973 and was the Padres Opening Day center fielder. He finished 6th in the Rookie of the Year vote batting .311 with 8 Home Runs and 37 RBIs.
In 1974, Johnny was selected by Yogi Berra to represent the Padres for the National League All-Star Team. He once again had another solid season with the Padres, hitting .286, including 8 Home Runs with 42 RBIs. His quality bat and solid overall play continued for the Padres through the 1975 and 1976 seasons. With the Padres looking for a power bat in the lineup to protect Dave Winfield, the Padres dealt Johnny along with Fred Kendall and Hector Torres to the Cleveland Indians for George Hendrick.
Grubb’s best major league season was in 1978 when he hit 15 home runs with 67 RBIs for Cleveland and Texas. Johnny would finish his career with Detroit and was a key member of the 1984 Detroit Tigers club bringing veteran leadership and a solid bat to a team that would go on to defeat his former club, the San Diego Padres, in the 1984 World Series. He retired from baseball following the 1987 season.
We recently contacted Johnny Grubb and asked him a few questions about his time in baseball and what he is up to know.
Padres360 – What is the proudest moment of your Major League career?
Johnny Grubb – Being a part of the 1984 World Series Champions, Detroit Tigers.
Padres360 – What path did you take after your Major League Career?
Johnny Grubb – I was a coach with the Atlanta Braves organization, and assistant for a Richmond-based Sports Agent, a hitting coach for the Silver Bullets (Ladies Team), and a high school varsity baseball.
Padres360 – What are you currently doing now?
Johnny Grubb – I am a grand dad and a hitting instructor in Richmond, VA.
Padres360 – Who were your favorite Padres players when you were on the team?
Johnny Grubb – I liked all of my teammates, but enjoyed time with Mike Ivie, Bob Davis, Dave Roberts, Mike Caldwell and their families. Randy Jones was a good teammate and a great pitcher and fun to be around. Dave Hilton is another teammate I liked very much.
Padres360 – What advice would you give to young players in the minors or in college?
Johnny Grubb – Get in great baseball shape (physically and mentally,) do extra work (find a routine that works for you,) and respect the gifts and talents that you have been given….use them wisely and be confident!!
After he answered our questions, he added this response to our questionnaire:
Thanks for being a baseball fan and following the Padres. I was fortunate to begin my professional experience with the Padres, as they were fair with me and gave me an opportunity. I have fond memories of my years in San Diego and all the fine people that were a part of my life. The fans were always good to me!
Wishing you the very best!
When we write our former Padres players, we never know what response (if any) we’ll get back. When we hear back from players about their fond memories of playing in San Diego, it brings to mind the question of why the organization doesn’t bring these players back for a day? We are hoping, with the opening of the Padres Hall of Fame in 2016, that the heroes we grew up watching on the field are invited to Petco Park to sign autographs, meet the fans, and be reminded that they are a part of the San Diego Padres family. For us at Padres360, all of our Padres are fondly remembered and never forgotten.