Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Meet A Prospect : Curtis Granderson

Curtis Granderson was only traded to the Yankees two seasons ago in a trade that lost us Phil Coke, Ian Kennedy (to Arizona) , and Yankees standout outfield prospect Austin Jackson. After a slow start to his first season as a Yankee he worked with hitting coach Kevin Long and turned his 2010 season around. In 2011 he went out and had an MVP type season as an encore with 41 home runs and 119 rbis. He was not always the Yankees all star center fielder, MVP candidate, good Samaritan, and one of the few guys left that actually look like they are enjoying themselves while playing baseball. Yankees fans meet prospect, Curtis Granderson.

Curtis Granderson, born March 16th 1981 in Blue Island IL, to two parents who were both teachers in local schools. Curtis Sr was a gym teacher and his mother, Mary, taught science class but both of them tried to impress upon him the importance of staying in school. This is very evident in the fact that Granderson is quite an intelligent and well spoken man in all of his interviews. Granderson , living in Chicago suburbs, grew up a Chicago Cubs and White Sox fan but also enjoyed following the Atlanta Braves growing up. 

Curtis Granderson started his baseball career way back in little league as a right handed short stop. Somewhere along the line he decided that he felt more comfortable with a left handed swing and hit his first home run with it shortly after his 10th birthday. Surprisingly though he always grew up wanting to be an NBA star and played both baseball and basketball at Thorton Fractions South High School. 

During his high school career he batted .369 with 11 HRs and 88 RBIs and was named an All State selection in his senior year. All throughout high school he wore #14 because his father used to wear it while he played softball. His high school honored Granderson by retiring his jersey in 2011. 

In College Granderson was already considered to be a five tool prospect as he entered the University of Illinois Chicago. After a great freshmen year, after quitting basketball to focus on baseball, he followed it up with an even better sophmore year. In his sophmore year he led the Flames in runs, home runs, and walks. Granderson was named Second Team All American by Baseball America and Baseball Weekly in his Junior season and was named a Third Team Louisville Slugger NCAA Division I All American. He graduated with a double major in business administration and business marketing. 

Curtis Granderson was drafted in the third round of the 2002 Major League First Year Player draft by the Detroit Tigers. He continued to tear up the minor leagues and prior to the 2005 season he was ranked as the 57th best prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America. 

Curtis Granderson has done okay for himself so far as a MLB baseball player appearing in 2 all star games, receiving MVP votes in the 2007 and 2011 seasons , and a silver slugger award. He also received lesser publicized awards when winning the Yankees Heart & Hustle award and the Tigers Heart & Hustle award twice, MLB Players Choice AL Outstanding Player Award, MLB Players Choice Man Of The Year award, MLB.com Player Of The Year, and the Tigers Rookie Of The Year award in 2005.

Granderson has his own foundation helping inner city kids, Grand Kids Foundation, that I highly recommend all of you checking out. When he endorsed Nike, Louisville Slugger, and Rawlings he asked them to donate the money to Grand Kids foundation fiscally or by equipment to inner city baseball programs rather then giving the money to Granderson. He also wrote a children's book, All You Can Be : Dream It, Draw It, Become It! which was published in 2009. New York City public school students did all the illustrations for the book. Granderson won the 2009 Marvin Miller Man Award for his off the field work and was voted the majors friendliest player in the majors when Sports Illustrated conducted a poll of 290 major league players. Granderson also wears his socks high to honor those players that once played in the Negro Leagues.

Up next on this special edition Meet A Prospect is Yankees RF Nick Swisher. Check in tomorrow to read all about how Nick became Swishalicious.

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