<
>

Grissom retires after failing to hook on with Cubs

MESA, Ariz. -- Marquis Grissom, a non-roster invitee to
spring training with the Chicago Cubs, announced his retirement
Tuesday after a 17-year major league career.

The 38-year-old Grissom signed a minor league contract in
January and had hoped to make the team as a backup outfielder. But
he batted just .200 in 17 spring training games.

Grissom leaves as one of seven players with 2,000 hits, 200 home
runs and 400 stolen bases, joining Craig Biggio, Roberto Alomar,
Barry Bonds, Rickey Henderson, Paul Molitor and Joe Morgan.

After playing nine innings of a spring training game Monday in
right field and going 0-for-3, Grissom made the decision.

"It's been a pretty fun ride along the way," Grissom said. "I
came into spring training to this organization to really see if I
could go out and play baseball again for another year. And I got
that opportunity from the Cubs. It didn't work out. Over a period
of the last two, three weeks, I've been going in and out,
strength-wise, body-wise emotionally, whether I wanted to do it,
could I do it."

His departure opens the way for rookie outfielder Angel Pagan to
make the team.

"He's such a great human being that you want him to go out on
his terms," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said of Grissom. "Very
rarely do guys get to go out on their terms, how they'd like to go
out. He just told me it was time."

Grissom finished with 429 stolen bases, including a career-high 78 in
1992. He was a two-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner
during a career that saw him play in the majors with six teams.

Grissom batted .272 with 386 doubles, 56 triples, 227 homers and
967 RBI, and he compiled .988 fielding percentage in 2,165 major-league games. He also batted .317 in 52 postseason appearances with
20 RBI. He was the MVP of the 1997 AL Championship Series in his only
season with the Cleveland Indians.

Grissom broke in with Montreal in 1989 and also played for
Atlanta, Milwaukee, the Dodgers and the Giants. Now it's time to
go.

"I'm at peace with myself. I'm happy," Grissom said. "I feel
like the whole world has been lifted off my shoulders."