David Ross homered and received a thunderous ovation in his final regular-season home game
David Ross is a 39-year-old catcher with over 200 plate appearances this year. There aren't many of those, with only 23 players pulling it off in Major League history.
Ross is also a career backup catcher and yet, thanks to his abilities behind the plate, in the clubhouse and away from the field, has been a fan favorite and consummate teammate wherever he's gone. There are no Baseball-Reference Play Index searches we can run for that, but pretty sure there are fewer.
With the player affectionally referred to as "Grandpa Rossy" by his much younger Cubs teammates hanging up his catcher's gear at the end of the season, the team surprised their catcher with a ceremony earlier this week in his honor. It was a moment that brought tears to the catcher's eyes.
Sunday night's 3-1 victory against the Cardinals was his final regular season home game which only heightened the emotions. Despite only playing for the Cubs for the last two seasons, when he came out for his first at-bat in the bottom of the second, the Chicago fans gave him thunderous applause. Yadier Molina knew what was up and stepped onto the field, letting the fans do all the yelling and cheering they could hope for:
While he struck out to end that at-bat, Ross made sure his last regular-season home game had a storybook ending. That's because he crushed a home run to give the Cubs the lead. It was also his 10th of the year, the first time he's reached double digits since 2007.
Knowing that the Chicago fans hadn't hollered for the salt-and-pepper bearded catcher enough, Joe Maddon came out in the top of the seventh inning to lift Ross from the game. His teammates gathered around the mound, patted him on the helmet, and the cheers broke out again.
Vin Scully got a pretty good sendoff in Los Angeles on Sunday -- calling a walk-off home run in the 10th inning for his final Dodger Stadium broadcast -- but Ross' wasn't bad either. Of course, this isn't the last time the Wrigley faithful will see Ross. Since the Cubs wrapped up the National League Central, they're just waiting to see who their NL Divisioin Series opponent will be.