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Dreams of Being an Auburn Tiger

By on April 25th, 2012 in Football Comments Off on Dreams of Being an Auburn Tiger
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Eighteen year old Gabriel Jordan entered Auburn University in the fall of 1998. Now 14 years later he’s almost through with his Auburn degree. He had some interruptions along the way; like marriage, the birth of his two children, and oh yeah – a seven year career in the major leagues.

Jordan is not Gabriel’s last name though; it’s his middle name. It was given to him by his father Lee Gross in honor of Auburn’s legendary Coach Shug Jordan. His dad was an All-SEC center for Coach Jordan in the early seventies.

Being the son of Auburn alums, “Gabe” Jordan Gross grew up an Auburn fan with dreams of wearing the Orange and Blue. Along the way, you could say he is one kid that was fortunate enough to live out his childhood dreams of being an Auburn Tiger.

He was a starter as a freshman on both the Baseball and Tiger Football Teams. Gabe started at quarterback for the Tigers in 1998 but after the third game of the 1999 season, he decided to concentrate on just one sport … he chose baseball.

And he went on to become one of the greatest players in the history of Auburn Baseball. In 2001 he started all 58 of Auburn’s games, led the team in hitting with a .327 batting average, 15 home runs, 19 doubles, with a .567 slugging percentage, a .469 on-base percentage and was chosen a consensus All-American.

I remember watching him play at Hitchcock Field, often making spectacular defensive plays in the outfield. Gabe played the game with an enthusiasm that was infectious to all who watched him.

He had such a great year in 2001 that the Toronto Blue Jays made him their first round pick (15th overall) in the Major League Draft.

Gabe went onto play ten years of pro ball. He retired at the end of last season and enrolled at Auburn to finish that degree. Auburn fans have seen him this spring back at Plainsman Park serving as a Student Assistant Coach for John Pawlowski.

Yes Gabe Jordan Gross has had most of his childhood dreams come true. Dreams like playing quarterback for Auburn, being an All-American in baseball, a first round draft pick, hitting his first MLB homerun in the house that Ruth built, and playing in the 2008 World Series.

Yet there still remains one dream that has eluded him. Now within just one more semester, he will finally have the one honor he’s wanted most since he was a child … an Auburn Degree.

COMMENTS:

 Congrats to Gabe!

…..I was a huge Gabe Gross fan in 1998. They basically threw him into the mix, because he could scramble for his life. He played behind an absolute mess of an offensive line, but you got his best game every week. You wonder what might have been, if he had played behind a group like Auburn had in 2010.

……Even in the 3-8 nightmare that was the 1998 season, Gabe had his moments. He was chunking a Hail Mary at the end of the Tennessee game to try and win it. Yes, that UT team, the one Phillip Fulmer SEC and BCS title winner. Downed Tim Rattay and Troy Edwards by double digits. Made a couple of miracle throws at the end to beat Daunte Culpepper and UCF. Had us up 17-0 and SCREAMING, against Bama before the play-calling magic evaporated.

……Gabe was probably THE bright spot of that awful season. And he’s an Auburn man! War Eagle! It’s great to be an Auburn Tiger!

……Drowning in cool elixir.

by Acid Reign on Apr 25, 2012 | 2:20 AM

I agree with Acid… I loved his side arm throws and his scramble-ability…

he was fun to watch. That was when Leard was a freshman? And the smiling incident? Am I mixing up my years??

I do remember the outcome of the season. It was awful. But Gross had his moments.

My only question: is he ready to become a head coach at AU for our baseball team??

WDE

“Negative? Hell’s bells. I can out drink anyone in the kool-aide department. But I also like to be realistic. Don’t you?”

by wde1988 on Apr 25, 2012 | 7:57 AM

Yeah, we all remember that season.

I think Ben was a sophomore? At any rate, Gabe took over for him when he got hurt and kept the job under Bowden who resigned after 5 games and then under interim coach Bill Oliver. When Tubuerville was hired he benched Gabe in favor of Leard after the first game of the ‘99 season. It was a turbulent time for the football team. 
Gabe then moved over to just baseball after 3 more games on the Pine. From what I heard Tubby was ok with the move. He didn’t want his players missing practices for spring sports.
I have to agree with Acid too, at the time I was a huge Gross fan and wanted to see him stay with football. As I remember Ben got hurt again and Gabe might have had another chance. Yet it seemed to work out for both of them.

AubTigerman 
“The reason you come to Auburn is because of Auburn people.This is a special place, from the coaches all the way to the fans” – Andrew McCain OT

by AubTigerman on Apr 25, 2012 | 11:08 AM up

Yes it did…

And I was proud for both of them. At the end -Ben was able to redeem himself. And Gabe… well, I think the guy is a legend in AU baseball history.

And Tubs… well. Don’t get me started. 🙂

WDE

“Negative? Hell’s bells. I can out drink anyone in the kool-aide department. But I also like to be realistic. Don’t you?”

by wde1988 on Apr 25, 2012 | 11:54 AM up

yeah

I really remember that time well since I was at a bunch of those games as a student. He was fun to watch. Glad he came back to finish his degree.

by mgizmo2005 on Apr 25, 2012 | 7:29 PM up

I didn’t want to see him leave football

bu it turned out pretty good for him, wonder if he plans to coach after he gets his degree.

by GreenvilleAUfan on Apr 25, 2012 | 8:35 AM

Pictures, and a thousand words…

we know the saying, but that picture was drawn of my dreams. That kid on the magazines, was me. The entire storyline to that picture could very well have been all about me at that age. I do not know the artist who created that masterpiece, but the essence is of childhood dreams, and it touched me in a way, that I thought I had lost.

Great post atm, Gross was a true Iron Man in Auburn sports, and deserves all the accolades that Auburn can bestow him.
WAR EAGLE!

Come and join me at http://trackemtigers.com

by KoolBell777 on Apr 25, 2012 | 9:08 AM

I think it could have been any kid who ever loved the big blue…

or had been to Jordan Hare to see a game.

I darn well thought somone had taken that idea right out of my head.

It’s fun to watch my 10 year old do the same thing. 🙂

WDE

“Negative? Hell’s bells. I can out drink anyone in the kool-aide department. But I also like to be realistic. Don’t you?”

by wde1988 on Apr 25, 2012 | 11:53 AM up

Great story.

I remember watching Gabe Gross when I was a kid, and throughout my high school and early college days keeping up with his pro baseball career. Awesome to hear about his long Auburn ties and that he’s back down here finishing up. Thanks for the write up!

by Garon B on Apr 25, 2012 | 2:18 PM

Good post ATM

Gross will always be a fan favorite.

by PineMtTiger on Apr 25, 2012 | 4:11 PM

 

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