Today is Tom Griffin's sixty-fifth birthday. Griffin pitched 14 years in the major leagues, including a season and a half in San Diego. However, he's probably best remembered for his inclusion in the landmark book Ball Four. He was amidst a solid rookie season with the Astros in 1969 when Jim Bouton was acquired from the Seattle Pilots in late August.
I noticed that today was Griffin's birthday and grabbed my copy of Ball Four from the shelf. I flipped straight to the point at which Bouton was traded to Houston and read the last 74 pages, looking for mentions of Tom Griffin. There were a couple of anecdotes, including one in which Fred Gladding jokingly calls Griffin "bubble ass", but the absolute best was from the last road trip of the season. Griffin steals the show with what has always been my favorite one-liner in the book:
We were kidding in the bullpen about how many greenies the Reds must have been taking during this pennant race and just then there was a ball hit into short right that Pete Rose made a great diving run at and caught on a short hop. "Five more milligrams and he'd have had it," Tom Griffin said.
Happy birthday, Tom Griffin. Thanks for making me laugh every time I read that.