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Alex Grammas, WWII Vet, 40-Year Career in Major League Baseball, 93

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(Photo by Eurokinissi)

BIRMINGHAM, AL – Greek-American Alexander P. (Alex) Grammas, passed away quietly at his home in Birmingham on September 13, surrounded by his loved ones. He was 93 years old.

Grammas was born on April 3, 1926 in Birmingham, AL to Pete and Angeline Grammas. His family origins are from Agios Dimitrios near Sparta, Greece, according to BaseballAcropolis.org. Grammas lived in Birmingham his entire life where he graduated from Phillips High School. He served in the United States Army during World War II. After serving his country, he attended Mississippi State University where he played baseball and won two SEC titles before graduating in 1949.

Grammas enjoyed a 40-year career in Major League Baseball as both a player and coach. He was on two World Series championship teams: 1975 Cincinnati Reds and 1984 Detroit Tigers.

On January 29, 1950, he married Tula Triantos, his beloved wife to whom he was married for 68 wonderful years. Grammas will be remembered for his impeccable judgement, generosity, humility, and love of his family. He was a lifelong member of Holy Trinity-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Cathedral.

Grammas was preceded in death by his parents, Pete and Angeline Grammas; his loving brother Cameron Grammas; his loving sister Tasia Pappas; and his beloved wife Tula. He is survived by his daughters Lynn G. Denton (Neely), Mary G. Leara (Steve), and Alexis Grammas; his son, Peter A. Grammas; his grandchildren Margaret Ann Denton, Alex Denton, Angela Denton, Paul Leara, Demi Leara, Johnny Leara, Pete White, Charles White, Alexandra White, Mary Margaret Grammas, and Virginia Grammas, and many nieces and nephews.

Visitation was held on September 15, at Holy Trinity-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Cathedral followed by a brief Trisagion service. Funeral services were held on September 16 at the Cathedral. A meal was offered by the family in the Fr. Emmanuel Vasilakis Banquet Hall following the internment.

Memorial donations can be made to the Holy Trinity-Holy Cross Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 307 19th Street South, Birmingham, Alabama 35233.

Grammas “was on Sparky Anderson's staff with the Detroit Tigers from 1980 through 1991,” the Detroit News reported.

Dan Petry, who pitched for the Tigers 1979-87, and 1990-91, told the Detroit News, “He was Sparky's right-hand man. The last time I saw him was at our 1984 30th anniversary. He was always in good health and took good care of himself. His nickname that Sparky and the coaches called him was, 'Greek.'"

Grammas took his first trip to Greece the year after he retired, in 1992, the Detroit News reported adding that he “spent three weeks there, and was awe-struck.”

Petry told the Detroit News that “Grammas was proud that he once took his entire family, and paid the entire price, to Greece.”

(Material from The Birmingham News obituary, published Sept. 15, was used in this report.)