Kelly Wayne Gruber: #17 Third Baseman Toronto Blue Jays

Kelly played baseball at WestLake High School in Austin, Texas where his jersey #5 was retired. He was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 1st round of the 1980 amateur draft. He came over to the Toronto Blue Jays in December, 1983. Kelly saw his first Major League action shortly after, playing in his first game on April 20, 1984. He earned spot in the Jays daily line- up by 1987. During his stay in Toronto he was voted the city's most eligible bachelor. On April 16, 1989, Kelly Gruber #17 was the first Blue Jay in history to hit for the “cycle” when he went 4 for 6 with 6 RBI and 4 runs scored. Kelly had his best season in 1990 with 31 Home Runs, 118 RBI’s and 14 stolen bases. winning Gold Glove and Silver Slugger awards and ending up fourth in MVP balloting that year. He also was a member of the 1990-1991 All Star Teams.

Kelly was a member of the 1992 World Series winning Blue Jay team, and was involved in one of the most controversial plays in World Series history. In the fourth inning of Game 3, Gruber appeared to make a diving tag on Braves runner Deion Sanders on the foot to record the third out of a triple play which would have been only the second such play in World Series history. However, the second-base umpire ruled Sanders safe, despite clear photographic evidence to the contrary. This is commonly known as one of the top 10 worst calls in sports history. Gruber tore his rotator cuff on the play; however, he hit a key game-tying home run in the same inning. The Jays would go on to win the game, later becoming the World Series champions in six games.

Up to 1993 he was the highest paid 3rd baseman in baseball history. His career was cut short in 1993 due to a bone spur on his spine. Due to growing threats of paralysis, Kelly had surgery performed on the bone spur that ended his career in 1993. The surgery was successful.

Currently, Kelly makes public appearances as a motivational speaker for charitable organizations and company events as well as holding baseball, hunting and fishing camps throughout North America.

Kelly Gruber and Deion Sanders

Kelly Gruber's Website