Probably the Best Baseball Player Ever Named After a Car

It’s true. Marquis Grissom’s dad named one of his 16 children after the newly introduced 1967 Mercury Marquis. Some of the inspiration came from the fact that Marquis’ father worked for the Hapeville, GA assembly plant where the car was produced.

Marquis was one of two Grissom children that played professional baseball, though he was the more accomplished of the pair. Known for top-notch speed and excellent defensive play in center field, he played for 17 seasons on multiple contending teams. He recorded more career hits than John Olerud, Edgar Martinez, Mike Schmidt, and Joe DiMaggio. More than 200 home runs and 400 stolen bases also add to his statistical record.

Despite all this, he somehow ranks below most of his fellow ’93 Finest checklist teammates, ranking #87 out of 134 position players under my internal scoring system. Fangraphs’ wRC+ of 93 implies this isn’t far off the mark, essentially making him more of a statistical compiler rather than an offensive force.

Fun Fact: The back of Marquis Grissom’s 1991 Studio card states that he collects old coins, just like his hero, Andre Dawson.

1993 Finest

Grissom appears as card #40 in the ’93 Finest set and could have easily been assigned one of the green all-star designs that reside in the middle of the checklist. Grissom’s refractor has traditionally drawn more interest than other cards as it was identified by Beckett as one of the set’s rumored short-prints in 1995. This turned out to not be the case, though the card does seem to be someone condition more sensitive than peers.

I initially acquired a NM-MT copy in 2021 before finding one in mint condition a year and a half later. The upgraded card now sits in my collection while the first version was sold to a professional actor.