Marshall County Sports Hall of Fame - Rusty Greer (2024)

Thurman Clyde “Rusty” Greer, III, was born on January 21, 1969, in Fort Rucker, Alabama to T.C. and Marty Greer, Jr. The Greer family, which also included Rusty’s younger sister, Anna, moved to Albertville, Alabama in 1976. Rusty played recreation league and middle school sports in Albertville and became a four-time letter winner at Albertville High School in baseball and basketball, earning All-State honors in baseball as a senior. After graduation in 1987, Rusty signed a baseball scholarship with the University of Montevallo, where he became one of the most decorated baseball players in University of Montevallo baseball history. For three years, from 1988 to 1990, the 6-foot lefty ruled the Falcon outfield. As a freshman in 1988, he was selected as All-District, All-Area and NAIA Honorable Mention All-American, batting .451 with 54 RBIs and 7 homers. In 1990, Greer was a NAIA First-Team All-American and was voted team MVP. In his college career, he amassed 216 hits, 158 runs, 54 doubles, 25 home runs, 133 RBIs, 53 stolen bases and had a career batting average of .394. Rusty continued to pursue his college degree during the offseason, graduating from UM in 1995. He has been inducted into the Montevallo Athletic Hall of Fame and his jersey number, 14, was retired.

In 1990, Rusty was drafted in the tenth round by the major league Texas Rangers and began to rise rapidly through their farm system. He finished the 1991 season in the Rookie League in Butte, Montana, batting .345, and was then promoted to the Class A Florida club in 1991, finishing the season with the AA Tulsa Drillers. In 1993, Rusty was called up to the AAA Oklahoma City 89ers where he stayed until starting the 1994 season with a .315 batting average in the first 31 games. This earned Rusty a call-up by the Rangers with his major league debut coming on May 16, 1994.

In his first season with the Rangers, Rusty batted .314, the highest rookie average in the major-leagues that year, and had ten home runs in 80 games, including a homer in his second major league at-bat. On July 28, 1994, Rusty’s all-out style of play earned him a place in baseball history as he made a diving ninth-inning catch of a line drive by California’s Rex Hudler and later that inning caught Gary DiSarcina’s line drive to end the game, thus protecting a perfect game by Rangers’ pitcher Kenny Rogers. That year, Rusty also became only the fifth Ranger in the club’s history to hit both an inside-the-park and an out-of-the-park home run in the same game at Toronto on July 21, 1994. He was selected as the 1994 Rangers’ Rookie-of-the-Year and was third in the American League Rookie-of-the-Year balloting. His best years, statistically, came in 1996, 1997, 1998 and 1999, as Rusty recorded batting averages of .332, 5th in the AL; .321, 7th in the AL; .306 and .300, respectively. He also had over 100 RBIs in each of these four consecutive seasons.

Rusty’s hustle and aggressive style of play became a signature throughout his major league career. The fans voted him the Most Popular Ranger in 1996, 1997 and 1998. But this style of play also led to a series of shoulder, neck, knee and hip injuries which forced his official retirement from the Rangers on February 20, 2005. Rusty’s career with the Rangers included an overall .305 batting average, 119 home runs, 614 RBIs and numerous fantastic catches.

Rusty was inducted into the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame in 2007. He was also the recipient of the Jim Sundberg Community Achievement and the Rangers’ Roberto Clemente awards and was elected to the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 2002. Throughout his career, Rusty has also been involved in a variety of charitable activities and organizations, including Ronald McDonald House of Fort Worth, Toys for Tots, the North Texas Food Bank and the Texas Special Olympics. He has also hosted a celebrity sporting clays shoot for the benefit of the Natural Resource Foundation of Texas and served as co-chair for the Rangers/Dallas Stars “Hope for the Holidays.”

Rusty and his wife, the former Lauri Fields of Boaz, were married on December 3, 1994. The couple has three children, Clayton, and twins Mason and Taylor. Rusty is currently employed as the Assistant Head Baseball Coach at Texas Wesleyan University. His hobbies include boating and mountain biking.

Marshall County Sports Hall of Fame - Rusty Greer (2024)
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