Ray Negron's Playball Weekly Blog

Like Munson, New York was lucky to of had Jerry Grote

Jerry Grote was my catcher when I was the General Manager of the Saint Lucie Legends of the Senior Professional Baseball League in 1989 in Saint Lucie Florida.

This league was for Major League Baseball players 32 and over who wanted to continue their playing careers after they may of gotten released from the majors.

On my team I had some terrific pitchers including Vida Blue and Luis Tiant so I needed a true veteran type catcher like Grote that I knew could handle these different type personalities with past great abilities and egos.

Grote was also a great leader who helped the other players understand that this could possibly be one more chance to keep fulfilling the dream that they had been living.

Growing up I knew two catchers. Thurman Munson and Jerry Grote. One time I got into a bad fist fight over an argument about who was better.

That’s how intense our adulation was. We were real fans. We were very territorial about our teams. Yankee fans hated the Mets and vice versa, so if you said that Tom Seaver was better than Mel Stottlemyer or Grote was better then Munson than I was going to try to whip your ass.

In a way Grote and Munson were very much alike. Very intense and very tough and very very intelligent about the game. I must also add… very much in love with their family.

After 1990 I never got to see Jerry Grote again but I’m grateful for the little time I did have with him. I remember telling him about the fight I had as a kid pertaining to him and Thurman and he laughed and said that he hoped that the guy kicked my ass.

Like Thurman Munson, Jerry Grote was a New York Legend. Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman Nolan Ryan, and that Amazing Mets pitching staff was lucky to have him.

My condolences to his family and the New York Mets organization and fans!

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