When Kevin Gross broke into the bigs with the Philadelphia Phillies halfway through the 1983 season, many big league managers believed that the 6’5″ right-hander had star-quality stuff. Gross soon learned to harness his fastball, completing his array of pitches, but became known as somewhat of an underachiever. Despite winning 15 games in 1985 for the Phils, just a year and a half after his debut, he never really achieved his full potential.
Plagued by back troubles for sporadic portions of his career, Gross pitched most of 1987 with a herniated disc. His time on the bench wasn’t limited to physical faults though, as he was also suspended for ten days in August 1987 when he was caught using sandpaper to scuff the ball on the mound. Though the incident cost Gross some respect, it ended humorously three years later, when he called the commissioner’s office to ask for his glove back.
He started fast in 1988, earning a spot on the All-Star team, but slumped to 12-14 by the end of the year. Gross was traded to the Montreal Expos for Floyd Youmans and Jeff Parrett before the 1989 season.
After two subpar years with Montreal, Gross filed for free agency, and signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers before the 1991 season. The year started horribly for Gross. After suffering through spring training, going 0-4 with a 7.00 ERA, he was battered for three straight defeats in April, compiling a 12.19 ERA along the way. Finally, on April 28th, he notched his first win as a Los Angelino. It was also only his second win since June 11, 1990.
The next season had one significant highlight for the tall right-hander. On August 17, 1992, Gross no-hit the San Francisco Giants. The win raised his record to 6-12, and he would finish the year 8-13 with a personal best 3.17 ERA. After pitching decently with the Dodgers for two more years, Los Angeles let him go as a free agent after the strike-shortened 1994 season.
Gross signed a lucrative two-year deal with the Texas Rangers, but didn’t impress, posting a 5.54 ERA in 1995 and a 5.22 ERA in 1996. He filed for free agency at the end of 1996, and was picked up by the Anaheim Angels. The veteran journeyman got in only 12 games in 1997, going 2-1 with a 6.75 ERA, before the Angels released him.