To be a St. Louis Cardinals fan who remembers Jerry Gross at the mike, one has to be fairly advanced in years and with a good memory. Gross, who passed away last Wednesday at the age of 81, worked for the club in 1961 and again in 1963 through 1967.
On the field, he spanned the end of Stan Musial’s career with the World Champions of 1964 and 1967, the latter led by Red Schoendienst. In the booth, Gross was there in the later years of Harry Caray’s long tenure with the Cardinals and the earlier stages of Jack Buck’s Hall of Fame career at the microphone.
Gross was best-known for his post-Cardinals years, however. The expansion San Diego Rockets (remember them?) hired him in 1967 to become their first-ever play-by-play man after admiring his work with the St. Louis Hawks (remember them?).
Gross essentially never left San Diego, becoming an area fixture by calling games from high school to the professional level in most every sport and even anchoring television sports news. He was part of the broadcast team when another San Diego expansion team, the MLB Padres, first took the field in 1969 and often did national work as well.
Like many celebrities, Gross also had his rough edges. That included an abrasive personality which put him in the middle of several local controversies. This 1992 article from the Los Angeles Times highlights the bumpy side of Gross’ career ride.
A fighter against prostate cancer, Gross battled the disease for 23 years before succumbing. More details on the many positives of the rich life of Jerry Gross can be found at The San Diego Union-Tribune.
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