One of the most well-known players in York Revolution history, center fielder Scott Grimes, has announced his retirement from baseball as a player after eight professional seasons, the last three of which were spent in York.
Grimes has accepted an assistant coaching position at the NCAA Division I level with La Salle University in Philadelphia, and begins the next phase of his career Friday when La Salle opens its season in Cary, N.C. at the USA Baseball Complex Classic.
Grimes leaves the Revolution as the franchise's all-time leader in games played (357), runs scored (298), at-bats (1,350), hits (374), extra-base hits (128), triples (13), total bases (605), stolen bases (69) and walks (205). He ranks second all-time in home runs (45), third in doubles (70), and fifth in RBI (155).
"This is one of the biggest decisions of my life, to leave the game I've played since I was five years old," Grimes said in a news release. "I've wanted to get into the coaching world, but it's still one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make. I came to terms with it a little while ago but needed another little push, and to be able to go back to school and pursue my masters at a prestigious school like La Salle was another factor, and I want to take advantage of that."
Grimes helped lead the Revs to Atlantic League championships in 2010 and 2011, leading the league in runs scored both years. Grimes enjoyed one of the best seasons in Atlantic League history in 2010, setting a league record with 138 runs scored in just 132 games, leading all of professional baseball that season. He was named the league's co-Player of the Year, and was also selected to Baseball America's All-Independent Team.
"I remember when I called him to play for us in 2010," recalled Revolution manager Mark Mason. "He said, 'I don't care about the money, I just want to prove to everyone that I can play.' Since then, he was the best player in the league and league MVP in 2010, and he's been the best center fielder in the league since he's been here. I will miss him but I'm very happy for him. Life decisions are very complicated, and he said he was in a good place mentally with his decision. I wish Scotty the best."
"I would have loved to play for (Mason), I love him to death," Grimes said. "But it's time to write the next chapter in my life. It was harder to come to terms with actually telling 'Mase' that this was going to be it. You never think you're going to get to that point when you're playing. But I'm still young enough to learn the ropes of coaching and formulate that career."
Born in Kennett Square, the eastern Pennsylvania native played baseball, basketball and soccer at Kennett High School, before starring at Keystone (Pa.) College, where he batted .481 for his career, eclipsing the .500 mark in two of his seasons. Grimes began his college career as a middle infielder before moving to the outfield prior to his senior season.
Grimes signed his first professional contract with the all-travel Grays of the Can-Am Association in 2005. He spent his first four seasons in the Can-Am Association, and in 2008, was named that league's Player of the Year as well as garnering his first selection to Baseball America's All-Independent Team. He earned a contract with the New York Mets organization in 2009 but was limited due to a broken hamate bone. He signed with York following that season, and became a fan-favorite in his three years with the Revs.
"La Salle's gain is our loss, but I couldn't be happier for him," Revs President Eric Menzer said. "He had an incredible three years here, and of course his 2010 season will never be forgotten. Nobody can ever take away his runs scored mark for that year. And I'll always remember the night that he hit for the cycle on his birthday helping us to clinch a playoff berth, along with many of his diving catches and throws to the plate that saved games defensively and were SportsCenter 'Top 10' worthy. The other thing that always amazed me was when I'd give tours of the stadium to our Rookie Revs Kids Club, and as we'd approach the clubhouse, every kid knew of Scott Grimes. And as a minor league ballplayer, when all of the young fans know you, that's when you know someone has made a great connection with the community."
That connection with the fan base in York made it even more difficult for Grimes to move on.
"I'm really going to miss everybody there. The fan base, the staff, everybody in York was great to me. (Retired manager Andy Etchebarren) and 'Mase' gave me the opportunity to play in a better league and show what I could do at a higher level, and it's a very well-run organization. I can't thank everyone in York enough and feel very blessed to have played there. I couldn't be happier to have played for an organization like the Revolution."
Grimes joins former teammate Chuck Jeroloman (TCU) as members of the Revs' first championship team that have since moved on to coaching careers at the NCAA level.