Hailing from Bainbridge, Georgia, a small riverside city just north of the Florida-Georgia line, David Ross had his lunch-pail mentality instilled early. However, during those formative years, it was also quite clear that this guy was gifted athletically.
Opting for a non-traditional high school experience, Ross gained the exposure needed to catch the eyes of collegiate coaches, ultimately landing him at Auburn University, scholarship in tow. But after competing in the 1997 College World Series for Auburn, Ross opted to transfer on down to The Swamp, Gainsville, Florida, home of the Florida Gators. There, Ross would go on to compete in his second College World Series, his second in a row.
Shortly thereafter, Ross made the decision to leave Gainsville, instead eyeing the greener pastures of the professional realm. Selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers with a seventh round pick, Ross would soon realize his dream of being a big-league catcher.
But much to the chagrin of the young ballplayer, a crowded depth chart kept Ross from getting behind the plate as often as he would have liked. He would also soon learn that the business of baseball can be just as fickle as it is rewarding.
In 2005, Ross was moved to Pittsburgh, and then on to Cincinnati. And it would be in Cincy that Ross would finally find himself atop the depth chart. This run, however, would be short lived after a prolonged slump which included a 4-38 stretch which included 17 Ks.
After being cut loose once again, this time late in the regular season, Ross would next wind up in Boston. And though this stint would be a short one, it could also perhaps be looked back upon as the start of a new beginning.
After entering free agency, Ross was signed by the Atlanta Braves to a 2 year deal paying $3 million. It was during this contract period that David Ross would begin to flourish. The now-veteran catcher began to hit at a more consistent clip, while also remaining one of the best defenders at his position. Ross’ newfound success would ultimately result in a 2 year extension to his deal with Atlanta, over which Ross would again prove effective.
Entering free agency once again, the future for David Ross was once again uncertain, but a familiar face would soon come knocking: the Boston Red Sox. This time around, the Sox would offer Ross another 2 year deal for $6 million, and the vet did not disappoint.
In addition to becoming a bonafide clubhouse leader, Ross would battle through 2 concussions during the 2013 campaign, but would ultimately find fulfillment in a game-winning RBI double in game 5 of the ’13 World Series. And thanks to that effort, David Ross and the Boston Red Sox would go on to win the 2013 World Series, a monumental achievement after finishing in last place in the AL East the year prior. Teammates and coaches have since given much credit to Ross for his positive impact on the clubhouse during his time in Boston.
And that, folks, brings us here; to Chicago. Following another strong campaign in ’14, in which Ross would act as Jon Lester’s “personal catcher”, Ross was acquired by the Chicago Cubs for 2 years, $5 million. Since then, “Grandpa Rossy” has become a fan favorite in Chicago for his grit, positivity, and consistent performance.
Now, as Ross prepares for retirement following the end of this postseason, there is no denying the fact that David Ross has earned every step on his journey through the bigs, and you can bet your ass his teammates want to help him climb the mountain one last time.