Ross with the Chicago Cubs in 2016
|Chicago Cubs - No. 3|
|Catcher / Manager|
|Born: March 19, 1977|
|June 29, 2002, for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 1, 2016, for the Chicago Cubs|
|Runs batted in||314|
|Career highlights and awards|
Ross played college baseball for Auburn University and the University of Florida and participated in two College World Series. He started his major league career playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2002 and also played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves, and Chicago Cubs. Ross had two World Series wins with the Boston Red Sox in 2013 and the Chicago Cubs in 2016. The Cubs named him their manager prior to the 2020 season.
Ross was born in Bainbridge, Georgia in 1977, but was raised in Tallahassee, Florida. He was born into a family of athletes - his father, David Ross, Sr., played in a men's softball league, and his mother, Jackie, played basketball. Ross's uncles were both football players in college. He attended Florida State University's laboratory school, Florida High School, in Tallahassee, Florida, where he played high school baseball for the Florida High School Demons. Ross was the first of five children; he has an older sister, Shannon, and a younger sister, Nikki.
Ross received an athletic scholarship to attend Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, where he played college baseball for the Auburn Tigers baseball team from 1996 to 1997. In 1996, he played collegiate summer baseball with the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod Baseball League. The defining moment of his college career came in the semifinal of the East Regional tournament during the 1997 College World Series when he hit a walk-off 3-run home run against Florida State to advance to the regional final. The Auburn Tigers would advance to the College World Series, getting knocked out in the 2nd round by Stanford. He transferred to the University of Florida after the 1997 season, and played one additional season of college baseball for the Florida Gators baseball team in 1998. Ross is one of the few players to have played in the College World Series with two different colleges, first with the Tigers in 1997, and then the Gators in 1998. Ross decided to forgo his final season of National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) eligibility after his junior season with the Gators, when he was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Ross was drafted in the 19th round of the 1995 amateur draft by the Los Angeles Dodgers, but did not sign and accepted a scholarship to attend Auburn University instead. In 1998 the Dodgers drafted Ross again, this time in the 7th round.
Ross made his MLB debut on June 29, 2002, striking out as a pinch hitter. On September 2, 2002, with the Dodgers leading 18-0, the Diamondbacks put first baseman Mark Grace in to pitch after he volunteered, to rest the bullpen. Ross hit his 1st major league home run off Grace with two outs in the 9th inning, capping a 19-1 win. Ross's Dodger career was stalled, however, by the large number of catchers in the Dodger system. Paul Lo Duca was the starting catcher through most of Ross's time in Los Angeles, and teammates like Brent Mayne, Koyie Hill, and Todd Hundley competed with him for playing time. Ross stayed with the team until 2004.
The Dodgers sold Ross's contract to the Pittsburgh Pirates on March 30, 2005. After 40 games with the Pirates, he was traded to the San Diego Padres on July 28, 2005 for infielder J. J. Furmaniak. He played in 11 games with the Padres.
While Ross was most often used as the "personal catcher" for right-hander Bronson Arroyo, whom the Reds received in a spring training trade with the Boston Red Sox for outfielder Wily Mo Peña, the consensus among Reds fans was that Ross had proven himself deserving of being the number-one catcher due to his better offensive numbers and that one of the other Reds catchers, Jason LaRue or Javier Valentín, should have been traded (possibly as part of a package deal) for a relief pitcher. LaRue was the one most frequently cited, but no deal was made by the July 31 trade deadline. Ostensibly, Ross was the number-one catcher.
On November 20, 2006, LaRue was traded to the Kansas City Royals for a player to be named later. Ross's 2007 season started with 4 hits in 38 at-bats with no home runs and 17 strikeouts. On April 21, 2007, his slump hit rock bottom when with runners on first and second base, he grounded into a rare 5-4-3 triple play against the Philadelphia Phillies. Ross finished the 2007 season with a .203 batting average and 17 home runs. On August 10, 2008, Ross was designated for assignment and was released on August 18.
In 2009, Ross hit .273 in 54 games. On July 27, 2010, he signed a two-year extension to stay with the Braves through 2012. He managed to hit a career-high .289 for the Braves in 59 games in 2010.
Ross was the Atlanta Braves secondary catcher behind Brian McCann for his four seasons with the Braves. His hot start in the 2011 season (hitting .333 after starting 7 games, with 3 home runs) highlighted his strengths, as Ross has always been known as a strong defensive catcher (in 2009, he committed one error in 52 games). Ross hit the first ever home run in the Wild Card Game when the new playoff format was introduced in 2012.
Ross suffered two concussions during the 2013 season and spent over two months on the disabled list; however, his health returned and he played a key role in Boston's run to the World Series championship over the St. Louis Cardinals that year, starting in four games during the series and driving in the game-winning run with an RBI double in Game 5. He was also behind the plate to catch the series-clinching out in Game 6 when Koji Uehara struck out Matt Carpenter.
On May 9, 2015, in his first appearance as a pitcher in his professional baseball career, Ross recorded a perfect inning against the Milwaukee Brewers. On July 26, he repeated the feat against the Philadelphia Phillies, then led off the next inning by hitting a home run off of Héctor Neris.
On April 21, 2016, Ross caught his first no-hitter, against the Cincinnati Reds, his former team, with starting pitcher Jake Arrieta. Ross hit his 100th home run off of Adam Morgan of the Philadelphia Phillies on May 27, 2016.
Ross announced his plans to retire following the 2016 season, after playing 15 seasons in the major leagues. During Game 7 of the 2016 MLB World Series, Ross hit a home run making him the oldest player to do so in World Series history. On January 14, 2017, the Cubs named Ross as a special assistant to baseball operations for the 2017 season.
On October 24, 2019, the Cubs hired Ross as their manager to replace Joe Maddon, signing him to a three-year contract. Ross began his managerial career on July 24, 2020 with a 3-0 win at home against the Milwaukee Brewers. Ross became the 11th individual in MLB history to both catch and manage a no-hitter on September 13, 2020, with Alec Mill's 12-0 no-hitter against the Milwaukee Brewers.
|Games||Won||Lost||Win %||Finish||Won||Lost||Win %||Result|
|CHC||2020||60||34||26||.567||1st in NL Central||0||2||.000||Lost NLWC|
On March 1, 2017, Ross was revealed as one of the contestants on season 24 of Dancing with the Stars and was paired with professional dancer Lindsay Arnold. Ross is the first professional baseball player ever to compete on the show. Despite only having the sixth-highest scoring average, Ross and Arnold outlasted higher-scoring couples and ended up placing runner-up to winner Rashad Jennings and partner Emma Slater.
Ross is a Christian. He has worked with several Chicago charities including Cradle to Crayons that benefits underprivileged Chicago youth.
Ross has made an appearance on Saturday Night Live, along with some of his teammates, to celebrate the Cubs championship win. Ross has also made an appearance in the recent commercials for "The Bryzzo Souvenir Company" as an intern trying to meet the standards and requests of his bosses, Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo.