(Justin and Gina Grimm – photo from Gina Grimm’s Twitter)
Today is Justin Grimm’s 31st Birthday. Happy Birthday! Grimm pitched for the Cubs from 2013 to 2017, which included the magical 2016 World Series season.
On July 22, 2013, the Cubs made a deal with the Texas Rangers ahead of the trade deadline. It was part of Theo Epstein’s “Plan” to rid the franchise of veterans and start fresh.
One of those veterans was Matt Garza, who was shipped off to Texas. In return, the Cubs received Mike Olt, Carl Edwards Jr., Justin Grimm, and Neil Ramirez. The headliner in the Cubs package was actually Olt, who ended up providing the least amount of return for the Cubs.
The injury plagued Olt was a negative WAR player in Chicago (-0.7). Meanwhile, Edwards did provide value (2.8 WAR) for the Cubs in his five seasons with the club, although there were too many nail biting appearances to count.
Ramirez played parts of three seasons with the Cubs providing a WAR of 1.6. Ramirez made eight appearances during the 2016 World Series season before he was waived.
And Grimm played in parts of five seasons with the Chicago Cubs. He made three appearances in the seven-game 2016 World Series pitching two innings. He gave up four earned runs on three hits in the fall classic. All is forgiven as the Cubs celebrated after game seven with a championship for the first time since 1908.
Fast forward to January 2017. The site: Loews Hotel in downtown Chicago during the Cubs Convention. The time: around 2 a.m.
Along with an equally obsessed Cubs buddy, Matt Wilson from Iowa, we haunt the convention throughout the weekend seeking autographs from our beloved former and current Cubs players.
We found ourselves stalking the front lobby of the Loews this early morning after the first night of the Convention. There was just a small group of us – maybe six guys. All of the current players were staying in the Loews while the past Cubs stayed in the Sheraton across the street where the Convention is held.
Many players streamed in after Kerry Wood’s fundraiser or other late night activities. The most memorable was Mike Montgomery, who spent about thirty minutes with us sharing many stories (this deserves its own blog post). Several guys walked past without signing, but a few did stop and sign for our group.
Grimm was a player that was very polite as he walked into the lobby with his wife. He then declined our autograph request. No big deal.
A minute later here comes Grimm walking back to our group. He says, “Hey guys! My wife told me I should sign.” That’s so awesome! Not only cool of his wife, Gina, to have him sign, also because he listened to his wife! Happy wife, happy life. He gets it.
Not only was 2016 magical from a baseball perspective for the Grimm’s, Justin and Gina, were married in January of that year. And Gina was quite the athlete herself. The former Gina Nuccio was an All-American gymnast at the University of Georgia where the couple met.
Grimm took the time for us and signed and chatted for a couple minutes. I had him sign a World Series baseball. Thanks, Justin, and enjoy your birthday.