OTD in 1987, Georgia Tech star Ty Griffin, playing for Team USA against Cuba in the Pan American games, hits a dramatic game winning 2-run home run in the 9th inning during a Preliminary Round Pan Am game. The 6-4 win for the United States gave Cuba their first loss in a Pan Am game in 20 years that ended a streak of 37 victories for Cuba from 1968-1987.
Griffin played in the 1980 Little League World Series for the Tampa, FL team. In 1985, Griffin was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles out of high school, but chose to attend Georgia Tech. In 1987 with Team USA, Griffin hit .367 with 8 HR, 34 RBI, and 21 steals. With Team USA in 1988, Ty would hit .417 with 16 HR, 52 RBI and 21 Steals. Griffin was a member of the 1988 Team USA Olympic team that won the Gold Medal.
In 1988, Griffin would be the Chicago Cubs 1st round selection (9th overall) in the MLB Amateur Draft. Ty played second base and the Cubs already had Ryne Sandberg. Rather than drafting to fill a need at 3B, the Cubs thought the talented Griffin could make the transition from 2B to 3B — so the Cubs passed on drafting Robin Ventura (who was drafted 10th overall by the cross-town White Sox).
His first professional baseball season in 1989, Ty would split time between Class A Peoria and the Cubs’ Class AA affiliate, the Charlotte Knights in the Southern League. From 1990-1991, Griffin would split both seasons between Charlotte and the Cubs’ Class A+ affiliate, the Winston-Salem Spirits of the Carolina League. From 1989-1991, Ty stole 69 bases and scored 209 runs in 337 Minor League games. In 1990, Griffin was ranked by Baseball America as the #22 overall prospect in baseball.
The highly touted switch-hitting prospect was never able to reach the Major Leagues. After 5 seasons in the Minors and 4 in the Independent Leagues, Griffin retired from baseball in 1997. He currently is the head coach of the Tampa Catholic High School baseball team and the school’s Assistant Dean.
1987 article on Cuba’s first Pan Am loss in 20 yrs at the hands of Griffin: https://www.washingtonpost.com/archive/sports/1987/08/16/griffins-2-out-9th-inning-drive-decides-6-4-game/315e718f-da95-4d2b-bed1-dd074b423a83/