Don Grate(Courtesy www.baseball-reference.com)
Don Grate
(Courtesy www.baseball-reference.com)

Former Major League Baseball and NBA Basketball player and Greenfield native Don Grate died Saturday, Nov. 22.

He was 91.

Mr. Grate was born Aug. 27, 1923 in Greenfield and was a star athlete at McClain High School and The Ohio State University.

He played Major League Baseball as a right-handed pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1945-46, making his MLB debut on July 6, 1945. He had a 1-1 Major League record.

Mr. Grate also was a small forward/shooting guard for the Sheboygan Redskins during the 1949-50 season.

Grate was selected for the 1944 U.S. Olympic Team, but the games were cancelled due to World War II. 

He was the 47th oldest living former Major League Baseball player.

 

 

Nicknamed "Buckeye," Grate was a two-sport star at the Ohio State University. He lettered in both baseball and basketball in the 1944 and 1945 seasons. As a pitcher for Ohio State, he had career totals of 95 strikeouts and 25 walks in 89 innings pitched.

In basketball, Grate was a two-time all-Big Ten selection and earned All-America honors as a senior after scoring 272 points in 21 games. He was the captain of the 1944 team, leading the Buckeyes to a conference championship.

Following his playing career, Grate was the head basketball coach at Westerville High School, according to Greenfield historian George Foltz.

"Don came back to Greenfield for McClain's All-Class Reunion about 12 years ago and that may have been the last time I saw him," Foltz said. "He grew up in a house off Baltimore Avenue by the railroad tracks and was a great athlete."

Grate was inducted into the Ohio State University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996.

The Fred Hunter Funeral Home in Hollywood, Fla. is serving the family. 

Following cremation, a memorial service will be held in Ohio in the spring.

For more information, go to http://www.greenfieldhistoricalsociety.org/The%20Longest%20Throw.pdf