George Farley “Boots” Grantham played against the likes of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in the 1927 World Series. He was a Pittsburgh Pirate in 1927. He also played for the Cubs, the Reds and the Giants. His career spanned from 1922 to 1934. With 5899 career plate appearances, he finished with a career batting average of .302. While I am not trying to make a “Hall of Fame” case for the late George Grantham, he is an “unsung” hero from an era of baseball known for it’s slugging. He was primarily a 2nd-baseman, playing the position in 848 games. He also played 502 games at 1st-base, 19 in left-field and 14 at 3rd-base.
Actually, the main reason I am writing about George Grantham, is because of an email I received this past Spring while I was in Arizona for 8 days in March. Coincidentally, George Grantham attended Flagstaff High School in Flagstaff, AZ, and attended Northern Arizona University. Post-retirement, he lived out his life in Kingman, AZ, dying at the very young age of 54, on March 16th, 1954. The email I received was from a man named Cameron Grantham, who happens to be the great-grandson of George Grantham. I had written a blog post in February about the 1927 Pirates, and Cameron had stumbled upon my blog post when he was doing a search for his great grandfather. Cameron was after any information I might have had about his great grandfather, that he, Cameron, did not already have. Unfortunately, all I had was my 1927 Pirates APBA Baseball card, along with a few Grantham cards from other APBA season sets.
I was able to describe the APBA game to Cameron, and what the cards were. I also let Cameron know a great resource would be the archives at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY.
If you know nothing about George Grantham, you can take this tidbit away, which was revealed by renowned Baseball Statistician, Bill James, in a Hardball Times article by Chris Jaffe in 2008.
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“One time, twenty years ago, I did a data base search to see if there was any player in baseball history who:
“1. Played in 1,200 or more games,
“2. Played a key defensive position, and
“3. Was above average in every basic offensive category. . . .
” . . . I discovered that there were two such players — Willie Mays and George Grantham. I just love this kind of crap, so I mentioned that several times in books over the years.”
Bill James, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, page 522.
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Being mentioned in the same sentence with, and given the criteria, the same level with Willie Mays, where no other player could be, is nothing to sneeze at.
Cameron forwarded me the following article, which describes Grantham’s fame in Kingman, AZ.
From this article, we know George Grantham had already fought in a war, prior to playing Major League Baseball. He lied about his age so that he could enlist in the Navy and fought in WWI.
My thanks to Cameron Grantham for reaching out to me …