Grammas is currently the 55th oldest living former major league player.
He was born on April 3, 1926 in Birmingham, Alabama as Alexander Peter Grammas. Well, that is close as his father was named Peter Grammatikakis and left Greece in the early part of the 20th century and ended in Alabama and worked in the wholesale candy business. He married Angeline, an American daughter of Greek immigrants and they had two children, Cameron and Peter. Later in his father’s life they shortened their name to Grammas.
After serving the United States in World War II, Peter went to Mississippi State and played baseball. He graduated in 1949 with a business degree. He signed his first baseball contract with the White Sox. He played in the Class A Central League for Muskegon and finished with a .327 batting average.
The next season he was assigned to play in Memphis. He led the Southern Association in fielding but not before getting married to Tula Triantos. Several teams were wanting his services and finally on December 2, 1953, he was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals for pitcher Jack Crimian and $100,000.
Grammas was excited to join the Cardinals and be a teammate of Red Schoendienst. Unfortunately, Alex injured himself in the early part of the 1953 Spring Training and his numbers tumbled. He collected his first big-league hit, a single off Cincinnati’s Harry Perkowski on April 19, 1953 and hit his first home run on September 3rd.
He went on to play for the Reds, the Cardinals again and finished with the Cubs in 1962. In his career, his lifetime statistics in ten National League seasons (913 games) including 236 runs, 90 doubles, 10 triples, 12 home runs, 163 RBIs, and a .247 batting average.
Now was time to move on from baseball. Albeit was a short time, he went into the produce business with his friend Harry Walker. Grammas has a family to support as he had his family grow to include daughters Lynn and Mary Ann, along with twin sons Peter and Alexis.
His business partner was hired to manage the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1965 and from that point Grammas was hired to be a third base coach that he manned for 25 years of his life. But in-between he managed several major league clubs. He served as the third base coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1965–69 and took over when the manager was fired for a few games in 1969. In 1976-1977 he was the manager for Bud Selig, owner of the Brewers. After that he went back to coaching third base In mid-June of 1979, Anderson was hired as skipper of the Detroit Tigers, and during Anderson’s first off-season as Detroit’s manager, he added Grammas to his staff as third base coach, where Grammas served for 12 consecutive years (1980–91), including the Tigers’ 1984 world championship season. Eventually fired along with all the coaches and was 65 years old. He decided to leave baseball forever and returned to Birmingham to pursue his favorite hobbies, fishing and golf.
Happy 91st Birthday to a real gentleman in the game of baseball, Alex Grammas!
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