Tha Sports Junkies 101

The David Ross Affect

David Ross Planetexpress via


David Ross

Veteran catcher David Ross provides experience to a very young Chicago Cubs baseball team

Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross may not hit 30 home runs or drive in 100 runs but in Chicago, he has found a home.

Eighteen years ago, the Los Angeles Dodgers drafted Ross in the 7th round of the amateur draft. It took Ross four years to finally reach the major leagues for a team that was loaded with catchers. Ross never really got his chance to play regularly but did hit 6 home runs in his first 27 career at-bats. Even though those at-bats came in the span of two years, it’s still the 3rd most home runs hit by a Dodgers player in their first 27 career at-bats.

Ross left the Dodgers in 2004 and bounced around the league in the following seasons. From 2005-2008, Ross played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, the San Diego Padres and the Cincinnati Reds. In 2008, Ross spent time with the Boston Red Sox but became a free agent after the 2008 season. On December 5th, 2008, Ross signed a two-year deal with the Atlanta Braves. He spent the next four seasons serving as back-up to Brian McCann but strengthened his reputation as a great defensive catcher. In 2009, Ross only committed one error in 52 games.

The 2013 season saw David Ross reunite with the Boston Red Sox and former teammate Jon Lester. Ross came in clutch in Game 5 of the 2013 World Series as he drove in the winning run with an RBI double.

When the Cubs signed Jon Lester to begin the 2015 season, they knew that Ross needed to be signed as well. Serving as Lester’s personal catcher in 2014, Lester started 21 games and pitched to a 2.52 ERA before being traded to the Oakland Athletics. Ross didn’t have a bad season either as he played in 50 games and hit 7 home runs and drove in 15 runs.

In the duos first season with the Cubs, Lester made 32 starts and pitched to a 3.34 ERA while striking out 207 batters. His battery mate appeared in 72 games and had one home run and nine RBI’s.

For a very young Cubs team, Ross provided experience and knowledge to a team that eventually made the playoffs in 2015 and came within four wins of making it to the World Series for the first time since 1945.

At the beginning of the 2016 season, Ross announced it would be his last in a major league uniform. Up until this point, the 2016 season has arguably been the best season of his career. On April 21st, 2016, Ross caught his first career no-hitter with reigning NL Cy Young award winner Jake Arrieta against the Cincinnati Reds. A little over a month later, Ross hit his 100th career home run against the Philadelphia Phillies.

During his year-long retirement party, Ross’ teammates Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo have made sure that Ross has enjoyed it. They coined the nickname “Grandpa Rossy” and it has caught on around the league. Even though many would still consider 39 young, for a team that has an average age of 28 that is old.

Ross had this to say about his retirement:

“What a great way to end my career, getting to play with guys like Kris Bryant, Addison Russell and Kyle Schwarber….”

Rossy may not be the best offensive player in the game but he provides the Cubs with experience and steadiness that is vital to a championship run. He, Miguel Montero and Willson Contreras platoon the catcher position but Ross is mostly reserved for the days that Lester is pitching. The two have worked great this season. Lester is pitching in Cy Young form as he has a 2.36 ERA in 30 starts this season. Ross has played in 65 games and belted 9 home runs while racking up a 1.9 WAR. That 1.9 WAR is tied for the highest in his career but comes at a time when his numbers should be dropping off.

With the Cubs, Ross has found a home where he can teach his knowledge to younger catchers like Contreras and Kyle Schwarber but can also contribute to the Cubs World Series dreams.

“Grandpa” had this to say about the 2016 season:

“I’ve gotten to catch a no-hitter, I hit my 100th home run, I’m contributing, I’m having fun, I’m throwing guys out, I feel great, there’s this new clubhouse and there are so many positives this year with what’s going on in Chicago and with the Cubs.”

Fun seems to be the most important thing that Ross has brought to the Cubs this season. A man who has lived the dream of playing baseball and is enjoying every second of his final season. Surrounded by young, energetic teammates, Ross has received a boost to finish his career on a high note. His retirement would be totally complete if the Cubs win the World Series this year. Behind the high spirits and light-heartedness of David Ross, the Cubs may find themselves World Series Champions in 2016.