Gary Geiger‘s career was one of mostly unfulfilled potential. At 22-years-old, the Sand Ridge, Illinois native joined the Red Sox after spending his rookie year with the Cleveland Indians in 1958. The Sox secured center fielder Geiger and veteran Vic Wertz by trading Jimmy Piersall to Cleveland. During Geiger’s seven-year tenure with the Sox, the team was absolutely abysmal, never even getting close to the postseason. At times, Geiger was one of the bright spots on the team, leading the Sox in homers with 18 in 1961. One of those dingers was an inside-the-park grand slam, making Geiger just the third Sox player ever to accomplish that feat at Fenway Park.
The one problem Geiger could never fully overcome in his career was injuries. Among the injuries he suffered were being knocked unconscious on an outfield collision, a collapsed lung, a bleeding ulcer, and a triple fracture of the left hand. For this reason, Geiger only played 120 or more games four times in his 12-year career (1959 and 1961-1963).
Though he wasn’t the most consistent player, Geiger did have a strong arm in the outfield, topping the American League in assists for center fielders in 1961 and 1962. Unfortunately, these brief moments of success never translated to sustained greatness, and the Sox sold Geiger to their Triple-A affiliate the Toronto Maple Leafs in 1965.
Geiger managed to make it back to the big leagues in 1966, playing two seasons with the Atlanta Braves. He finished his career with two seasons in Houston from 1969 to 1970. Geiger passed away in 1996 at the age of 59 from cirrhosis.