Card: 2001 Fleer #289
Gregory Mark LaRocca (born November 10, 1972 in Oswego, New York) is a former professional baseball player. He was a second baseman for the Orix Buffaloes in the Nippon Professional Baseball league Pacific League. Greg also spent three years in Major League Baseball for the San Diego Padres and Cleveland Indians.
Greg started the 2000 season in AAA Las Vegas. He was a September call-up when MLB rosters expand beyond the traditional 25-man roster. He made his MLB debut on September 7, 2000. His batting line for the 2000 season ended with a .222 average, .293 slugging, and .546 OPS. Greg played three different infield positions in the 2000 season. He was released by the Padres on March 28, 2001.
On May 7, 2001, LaRocca signed with the Cleveland Indians. He did not play in the Majors during the 2001 season. He split the year between the AA Akron Aeros and AAA Buffalo Bisons. During the 2002 season, he split time between AAA Buffalo and the Indians. In Cleveland, he played over 21 games with a .269 average, .365 slugging, and .732 OPS. Greg played third base, second base, and designated hitter. He started and ended his 2003 season with the Bisons. He spent the last part of September with Cleveland playing in 5 games at third base and DH.
In 2004 he joined the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in the Nippon Professional Baseball league Pacific League where his .328 average was second in the league. In 2005 LaRocca hit .303 with 18 home runs and 56 RBI. He was traded to the Yakult Swallows.
In 2006, Yakult formed a strong central axis with teammates Alex Ramirez , Adam Riggs and LaRocca. The nickname "F-Brothers" was attached to the three foreign fielders by fans. Greg became a free agent. LaRocca then joined the Orix Buffaloes who wanted a reliable middle of the order batter.
In 2007, Greg LaRocca broke the Orix Buffaloes record for times hit by pitch on July 16th when he was plunked for the 19th time. This broke Ichiro Suzuki's record. LaRocca said "it's my job to get on base. An HBP is the same as a hit. I want to get 30 before the end of the season." On September 2nd, he was hit by a pitch for the 23rd time, setting a new Pacific League record and On September 16th, he tied the NPB hit-by-pitch record when he was plunked for the 24th time. Yoshiyuki Iwamoto had held the record for 55 years. The next day, Naoyuki Shimizu hit LaRocca to give him the record.
That year, LaRocca donated $8,000 to a spinal bifida research foundation in Japan. He said he wanted to show appreciation for being allowed to play in Japan, and his wife had majored in a field related to taking care of special needs patients. Greg has played in the Wounded Warriors Project softball game in 2016 and 2017 on the celebrity team. This game is to raise money to aid veterans who were injured in combat. Listen to a podcast in which Greg discusses "Greg LaRocca: Life after MLB and playing the hand he was dealt."
Greg is part of the Cleveland Indians Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop
See all Greg’s baseball cards at TCDB
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