Poor Toby's Almanac…Tom Grieve's birthday on a full moon

Toby descends from a pack of wild dogs that have roamed the mystical lands of the Transvaal since the beginning of time. Each Sunday morning, he helps us look ahead.Toby2_6

The Week That Is: The Rangers have two big home games this week. The host the Arizona Diamondbacks on Wednesday and the Chicago Cubs in Friday. They are the two biggest draws for the Rangers in Arizona and should be two of the biggest crowd of the spring. The other team that draws well in Arizona are the San Francisco Giants, who come to Surprise on March 20. The Rangers play the Giants in Scottsdale on Saturday and there is a possibility that could be Eric Gagne’s first appearance of the spring.

Bonds vs. Rangers: The Rangers could face Barry Bonds on Saturday. In his career, Bonds has played in 18 games against the Rangers and has four home runs in 57 at-bats. He also has 21 walks, giving him a .469 on-base percentage. Vladimir Guerrero has a .492 on-base percentage but the highest on-base percentage against the Rangers (50 or more at-bats) is the immortal Lyle Mouton, who had a .493 on-base percentage against them in 66 at-bats.

Weather: The weather was brutal on Saturday morning with temperatures in the mid-50s and a brisk north wind making it feel down right frigid. But this week should be terrific, nothing but sun and daily highs in the 80’s.

By the way, there was a spectacular full moon over the White Tank Mountains before the sun came up on Sunday morning. Which brings us to this famous quote…

The Oracle of the Elysian Fields "There’s a full moon over Busch Stadium tonight. We hope there’s a full moon where you are too," Cardinals broadcaster Mike Shannon.

Strikeout king: Kevin Millwood led the Rangers with 157 strikeouts, one more than Vicente Padilla. But which pitcher in Rangers camp had the most strikeouts in 2006? That would be Francisco Cruceta, who struck out 185 in 28 starts for Triple A Tacoma to lead the Pacific Coast League. That’s the second time he has led a league in strikeouts. He also did just that in 2003 when pitching for Akron in the Double A Eastern League. Only one Minor League pitcher struck out more batters than Cruceta last year and that was Double A Huntsville’s Yovani Gallardo who struck out 188.Hicks

Milestones: Rangers owner Tom Hicks (right) was inducted into the Surprise Recreational Campus Hall of Fame on Saturday. This week he is expected to take co-control of the Liverpool Football Club and see his new team’s first match. Hicks was up at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday to watch Liverpool play Manchester. His boys lost and Hicks was distraught about it. Asked his wife Cinda if her husband really needed a third team to agonize over. She politely declined to comment.

Birthdays: Rangers broadcaster Tom Grieve, who shares a birthday with Dazzy Vance and Lefty O’Doul, turns 59 today. Cookie Rojas, father of Rangers broadcaster Victor Rojas, turns 68 on Tuesday. Jeff Burroughs, the first MVP in Rangers history, is 56 on Wednesday. Jim Bouton, who wrote Ball Four, turns 68 on Thursday. He is twice as old as Justin Thompson, the former Rangers pitcher who turns 34 on Thursday. Bert Campaneris, the first big-name free agent in club history, is 65 on Friday.

By the way, about Tom Grieve: We know that Grieve is: 1.) The Rangers TV analyst; 2.) Had the longest tenure ever by a Rangers General Manager; 3.) Is the father of Ben Grieve. But also:
1. Was the first winner of the Harold McKinney Good Guy Award back in 1975.
2. Is one of two who have won the award twice. The other is Charlie Hough.
3. Was the 1976 Rangers Player of the Year. Others who have won both awards: Buddy Bell, Jim Sundberg, Larry Parrish and Michael Young.
4. Young is the only player to win those two awards and Rangers Rookie of the Year.
5. Was the sixth overall pick of the 1966 draft. Johnny Oates was taken in the second round. Steve Garvey was taken in the third round, but by the Minnesota Twins. He didn’t sign and went to Michigan State instead.

Just for the Hecht of it: Steve Hecht is in Rangers camp. Who? Well, he is the Rangers performance coach, a job once held by Don Kalkstein. According to the media guide, his job is to, "help Texas Rangers players develop specific plans for peak performance. He provides mental skills approaches and exercises for decreasing anxiety and increasing confidence, and assists in dealing with distractions that decrease focus and concentration, by identifying and eliminating factors that undermine potential success."

Last call: "I still think he can help us. Until he proves differently, I’m a Sammy Sosa fan." Rangers manager Ron Washington.


Tom Grieve is one of life’s really good guys…no, I’ve never met him but watching him almost daily during the summers has left me with that feeling. Quiet and unassuming. I used to want to beg him to talk about Ben when he was playing and keep us updated but that wasn’t his way. His baseball stories really fill me with a good feeling. He even admits his mistakes as a “gm”…and I liked him as a “gm”…especially when he and Bobby V had the team. I especially like when he fills us in on “his guys” (the guys he signed to the team and who are now out of baseball.) Enjoy your hummus Tom…and looking forward to more Ranger action with you and Josh.

The Surprise Recreational Campus Hall of Fame?

Is there a Transvaal Hall of Fame for Toby?

TAG as he’s known — Thomas Arthur Grieve — IS a genuinely nice guy.
My wife and I had the pleasure of meeting him in 1999 before a Rangers-Padres game in San Diego. We were walking to get in line at a food stand and I saw him wandering around, looking for a place to get a sandwich. I said to my wife, “Hey, there’s Tom Grieve.” I wasn’t going to go over and talk to him, choosing to respect his privacy, but my ever-friendly wife walked over and said, “It sure is nice to see a familiar face here.”

He was great. He talked to us for at least five minutes and, when he heard I was a big Frank Howard fan, he asked me if I knew that Hondo hit the first homer at the old Arlington Stadium. Of course, I did. I don’t think there’s anything about Frank Howard that I DON’T know!!

Anyway, I like the TV crew of Tom and Josh. They make the games interesting, even when some of the games are not interesting.

I live outside L.A. and have to listen to some of the most boring announcers on the planet — i.e. the Angels announcers. They are pretty brutal. Rangers fans are indeed blessed by having guys like Eric Nadel, Tom Grieve, Josh Lewin and Victor Rojas. Of course, living in L.A., I do get the opportunity to hear the Dodgers’ Vin Scully, so I guess that makes up for having to listen to the Angels guys.

How quick we forget. Grieve, gave away and failed to protect Henke, traded Sosa and Alvarez for Harold Baines, hired Bobby Valentine and ended up losing his job. The one thing he did do right is hire, Sandy Johnson, who provided us with Rodriguez, Gonzalez and Sosa. The trade for the injectable Palmeiro, Ageless Franco and sign Free Agent Nolan “Margaritaman” Ryan. Grieve is a good guy though and he has a lot of good stories about Ranger Blunders, some of which he personally participated in. I have never seen the guy more upset than when the “adult” fan took the ball away from the young kid. If Grieve could have got to that guy he would have killed him. Of course Grieve made it right by making sure the kid got some great merchandise.

It was in 1963 when Tom G. Told me the joke about Howard Kosell. “Howard fell in love with a potato. He asked for his sweethearts “spud” in marrage from Ma, and Pa Tater . But they said, No! This can’t happen ! We are thhe King and Queen of Potatoland! We are Royalty! But you’re nothing but a “comon-tater” ! Tom Grieve had no idea at that time that he would become a “comomtator” himself! It was prophetic ! TheTerribleParrible Happy Birthday Tom. Toms sister’s Bday is same as mine (March 6) and his mother’s was March 1st. Mine

Tom is from my hometown, in Massachuetts. He was inducted into Texas Rangers Hall Of Fame at nearly the same time Shaq Oniel came to the Boston Celtics. Shaq’s Bday is the same as mine and Tommy’s little sister, Laurie. And Tom’s mother, (after whom
my own little sister Poly, was named had her Birthday on the
first of March. My little sister Polly’s Bday is not till March 23 but it was on Easter in 2007 or 2008 !

Toms birthday falls inline with a lot of other Pisces birthdays that are relative in remarkable ways. His mothers was March 1st, and his sisters is same as mine on March 6th, (along with Shaq Oniel, who came to the Boston Celtics near the same time when Tommy, who’s also from Massachusetts was inducted into the Texas Rangers baseball Hall Of Fame. My own little sister, (Polly) who was named after Tommy and Laurie’s mother has her birthday on March 23 . It was on Easter once too. TerribleParrible

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