Grayson Greiner makes major-league debut with Detroit Tigers
Former Blythewood High and South Carolina standout Grayson Greiner made history Sunday when he made his Major League baseball debut.
Listed at 6-foot-6, Greiner tied a record as the tallest player ever to catch a game in the majors when he was behind the plate for the Detroit Tigers against the Kansas City Royals. According to MLB records, Pete Koegel (1970-72 Brewers and Phillies) and Don Gile (1959-62 Red Sox) were the other 6-6 players to catch a game.
Greiner singled on a fastball from Jakob Junis in his first major league at-bat Sunday and went 1-for-4 in the 4-2 loss to the Royals.
"I was nervous before the game but after the first half inning or so it felt like another baseball game," Greiner said after the game. "Obviously, your first major league game you are going to have some nerves. But it was awesome. Making my debut at a big league stadium is something I have been dreaming about since I was 4 years old. So, it was awesome."
Greiner said the biggest concern was getting on the same page with starting pitcher Matthew Boyd. He felt more comfortable as the game went along.
"The first couple innings I felt I could have done a better job of doing my part to be in a rhythm with him," Greiner said. "In the middle innings, we got a rhythm and he threw the ball great. It was a really good guy to catch in my first game."
Greiner wasn't the only Gamecock playing in the game as former USC standout Whit Merrifield started for the Royals. Merrifield went 2-for-4 with two runs scored. The two shared a moment talking at second base when Greiner reached base.
Greiner and Merrifield worked out together in the offseason.
"Didn't really expect to play a former Gamecock first game, but that was cool," Greiner said.
The Tigers called up Greiner, who is wearing No. 17, to replace former MVP Miguel Cabrera on the roster. Cabrera hurt his hamstring Thursday. Greiner’s parents, his wife, 2 ½-month son and a few friends including former USC teammate Joey Pankake all made the trip to Kansas City, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Greiner's family was shown cheering on the TV broadcast Sunday when he singled in his first at-bat.
Washington Nationals’ Matt Weiters and former Minnesota Twins all-star Joe Mauer came close to catcher height record with both being 6-foot-5. Weiters also is a South Carolina native and played at Stratford High School.