September 20, 2018

Greg Litton: Baseball’s Mr. Versatile

September 14, 2018 by · Leave a Comment 

When discussing baseball prospects, versatility is not a skill that rises to the top. People want to know how fast someone can throw or how much powers they have more than whether they can do a lot of little things. However, this ability has served some players well and allowed them to have productive careers in the major leagues. A great example of this is Greg Litton.

Litton was the 10th overall selection in the 9184 MLB draft, selected out of Pensacola Junior College by the San Francisco Giants. A second baseman, he performed solidly in the minors, but had his path blocked to the majors by veteran Robby Thompson, who debuted in 1986 and finished second in the National league Rookie of the Year voting.

Finally, in 1989, the right-handed Litton got the call to San Francisco. Thompson was entrenched as the starter, so the rookie had to find other ways to find the field. He did this by playing all over the field—eventually playing at every position at least once besides center field. This versatility led to a six-year major league career with the Giants, Seattle Mariners and Boston Red Sox (His last season in the majors was 1994 with Boston).

Litton’s best season was in 1993 with the Mariners. He appeared in 72 games, hitting .299 with three home runs and 25 RBIs. For his career, he appeared in a total of 374 games at the big league level, batting a combined .241 with 13 home runs and 97 RBIs.

He has continued to be versatile in his post baseball life. Keep reading for more about his baseball career and what he is up to now.

Greg Litton Interview

Who was your favorite player when you were growing up, and why?: Pete Rose was my idol because he wasn’t the most talented but went all out every play and was willing to do whatever it took to win, not make himself look better.

Can you describe your draft experience with the San Francisco Giants in 1984- How did you find out you had been selected?: Funny cause I don’t really remember. I knew I was gonna get drafted that year and was probably on the golf course.

Who was your favorite coach or manager, and why?: Lou Pinella. He was extremely emotional, but managed the game well, used his bench extremely well and kept all of us sharp by playing us on a somewhat regular basis.  That helped us do a better job when we were needed.

What do you remember most about your major league debut?: Getting plunked in the knee by Greg Maddux after giving up a bomb to Kevin Mitchell in the 8th inning that put us ahead and then Rick “Big Daddy” Reuschel, a 20-year veteran, knocked Shawon Dunston on his butt leading off the 9th, protecting me.  That was awesome.

In your opinion, who was the most talented player you ever played with or against? What made them stand out so much?: Ken Griffey Jr. or Alex Rodriquezwere a toss-up; both incredibly talented and a head above any other player I played with or against.

What is the toughest part about playing professional baseball that most people may not realize?: How long a 162 game season in 182 days is with all the travel and a six-week spring training with only one day off on top of that.

Who was the toughest, nastiest pitcher you ever faced?: My least favorite pitcher to face if I needed a hit to save my life was Ramon Martinez. I couldn’t see the ball off him until it was halfway home and it was 94+ mph with movement.

You played every position in the majors (except center field?); how did you develop such versatility?: I worked my butt off on fielding ground balls and catching fly balls my whole life, but just paying attention to the game I learned about the other positions.

What are you up to since retiring as a player?: I became a graduate Diamond Grader and Appraiser from GIA (Gemological Institute of America) after ball and was a partner with a good friend in a Jewelry shop for about 10 years, then trained and became a Professional Key Note speaker and have been doing that for 12+ years, I was an account executive in the credit card processing industry for about 10 years and now I’m doing residential mortgages.

Andrew Martin is the founder of “The Baseball Historian” blog where he posts his thoughts about baseball on a regular basis. You can also reach him on Twitter at @historianandrew or on Facebook.

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