Heinie Groh Stats & Facts
Positions: Third Baseman and Second Baseman
Bats: Right • Throws: Right
5-8, 158lb (173cm, 71kg)
Born: September 18, 1889 in Rochester, NY
Died: August 22, 1968 in Cincinnati, OH
Buried: Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, OH
Debut: April 12, 1912
vs. BRO 0 AB, 0 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB
Last Game: October 2, 1927 (Age 38-014d)
vs. CIN 4 AB, 0 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB
Rookie Status: Exceeded rookie limits during 1913 season
Full Name: Henry Knight Groh
View Player Bio from the SABR BioProject
Relatives: Brother of Lew Groh
Heinie Groh’s debut with the New York Giants was an interesting one. Old John McGraw and umpire Bill Klem had a long-running feud. When the short and thin Groh stepped to the plate someone in the Cubs dugout yelled “McGraw’s sending in the batboy to show you up, Bill.” When Groh reached the plate Klem said “Are you under contract with the New York club?” “I am,” replied Groh, and hit a single. Many left the Polo Grounds thinking they’d seen the batboy get a hit.
Groh played sparingly that year in 1912. In 1913 he had 2 at-bats with the Giants before he was viewed as a throw-in as part of a trade with the Reds. In his, he batted Im .282 with 24 steals in 399 AB’s for the Reds that year. From 1914 to 1916 Groh batted .282/.371/.376 for an OPS+ of 125 and had 49 steals. He led the league in walks in 1916.
In 1917 Groh led the league in games, hits doubles and obp (.385) while batting .304 with 15 steals. In 1918 he batted .320 while again leading in obp (.395) and doubles and leading the majors in runs scored with 86. For the 1919 champions, he batted .310/.392 with 21 steals and a league-leading OPS of .823. In any of these 3 years he would have had a strong case for the MVP in an era where there was no MVP award.
In 1920 he batted .295/.375/.393. In 1921 he had a salary dispute with Reds ownership and unlike others who did the same he vowed never to play for the Reds again. He forced a trade back to the Giants which Commissioner Landis voided. In that season he batted 331/.398/.417 with 22 steals.
After the season he got traded to the Giants for good. In 1922 Groh batted .265/.353/.350 for the second of back to back champions for the Giants. Only one NL team has won back to back titles since. Unlike the 1919 Series in which he performed poorly, he batted a Series leading .474 in 1922. The rest of his life he had his Ohio driver’s license number as 474. In 1923 he batted .290/.379/.385 as the Giants won another pennant. In 1924 he batted .281/.354/.360.
Late in the season he had a major knee injury and was replaced at 3b by 19-year-old future Hall of Famer Freddie Lindstrom and was limited to 1 hit in his only at bat in his third straight World Series. He was limited to a backup role over the next 2 seasons. In 1927 he played 14 games for the Pirates and got one at bat in his 5th and final World Series, as his team lost for the third time in a row.
After his playing days he spent time as a minor league manager and scout and then moved back to Cincinnati where he worked as a cashier at River Downs. Groh was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 1963. He passed away in 1968 at the age of 78.
Reds career: .298/.378/.394 1323 hits 75 3b 17 hr 408 rbi 158 sb
Career: .292/.373/.384 1774 hits 87 3b 26 hr 566 rbi 180 sb