Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cards' Garcia Has East Side Roots

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cards' Garcia Has East Side Roots

Article excerpt

East St. Louis native Dave Garcia, 93, is on the short list of baseball sages over the past half century and beyond. A longtime minor league manager, Garcia, who also was a longtime minor league infielder, managed both Cleveland and the California Angels in the majors, scouted for several clubs and coached for a few others, including the Colorado Rockies when he was over 80 years old.

So when his grandson, infielder Greg Garcia, called him Sunday night in San Diego to tell him he was going to the big leagues with the Cardinals, Dave Garcia had an important piece of advice to impart.

"His advice was, 'Don't let a fastball strike hit the catcher's glove," Greg Garcia said Monday on his first day in a big-league clubhouse.

"He's been telling me that since I was about 3 years old, so I can't forget that one. That was a fun phone call to make. He went crazy. I think it was a big deal for him."

Promoted along with outfielder Randal Grichuk from Memphis, Garcia found it something of a bittersweet moment. A college teammate of infielder Kolten Wong at the University of Hawaii and a teammate and roommate in the minors with Wong at Springfield and Memphis, Garcia learned that his ascent had coincided with the descent of Wong to Memphis.

But, said Garcia, "He was actually the first guy to call me. We have a great relationship and nothing's going to change that. He told me he was just so happy for me. He's going to go down there and tear up that league."

Garcia, 24, just finished up an 11-game hitting streak at Memphis and was leading the club with five homers, two more than he had all last season.

Memphis manager Ron "Pop" Warner called both Garcia and Grichuk into the visiting manager's office at Round Rock, Texas, Sunday and said, "I've got a problem with you guys."

Having heard this, Garcia said, "I was going through my head. What did I do wrong?"

Then Warner 'fessed up and told the two they were going to the majors.

Grichuk's parents and sister had driven to Round Rock from the Houston area, about 2 hours away, to watch Randal over the weekend. But when the outfielder acquired from the Angels in the offseason relayed the good news after the game, they were dumbfounded. …

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