Richard “Bubba” Crosby was taken by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round of the 1998 amateur draft from Rice University – ahead of Aaron Rowand, Adam Dunn, Brandon Inge, Barry Zito and Mark Prior.
Crosby initially struggled after being drafted, posting a .266 batting average in his first five minor league seasons. In 2003 he enjoyed his breakout season, hitting .361 with 12 homers and 67 RBI before he, and Scott Proctor got traded to the Yankees for Robin Ventura. Crosby finished off the season in Columbus, notching a .302 batting average in his final 16 games.
Crosby only received 12 at-bats with the Dodgers, but managed to break camp with the 2004 Yankees thanks to a strong performance in spring training and an injury to Kenny Lofton. His most infamous moment came in his very first at-bat with the Yankees: a home run against Dan Wright of the Chicago White Sox. Crosby went on to hit two homers and five RBI in his first two games with the Bombers, but was demoted to Columbus after Lofton returned from the disabled list. He managed to make the 2004 ALDS and ALCS roster,but only appeared in three games as a pinch-runner and defensive replacement.
After another strong spring in 2005, Crosby broke camp with the Yankees but struggled at the plate and was often demoted and recalled. After working with Don Mattingly on his swing, Crosby hit .333 in his final 54 at-bats. His late season success led to a spot on the ALDS roster but a monumental fielding mistake (crashing into Gary Sheffield) cost the Yankees the game and the series.
Bubba Crosby is famous in Yankee-land for three things: his aforementioned home run, crashing into Gary Sheffield and the fact that Brian Cashman used him as a smokescreen while pursuing Johnny Damon. Now when Cashman tells reporters that the club is content with someone like Chad Gaudin in the rotation, everyone knows that he’ll acquire Javier Vazquez.
Bubba broke camp with the big league club again in 2006, but struggled with both injuries and bat control in his first 65 games. He was eventually designated for assignment, cleared waivers and spent the rest of the year in Triple-A. 2006 would mark the last time Crosby would ever appear in the majors.
A free agent for the first time in his career, Crosby signed a major league contract with the Cincinnati Reds, but injuries shortened his career. He spent the majority of the season on the disabled list with shoulder issues until undergoing surgery. Crosby was out of commission until the 2008 off-season and signed with the Seattle Mariners, but failed his physical, thus voiding the contract. The then 31 year-old outfielder decided it was time to hang up his cleats.
Since retiring, Crosby resides in Houston and works in a business with his family. According to this interview, he’s devoted much of his life to worship and is very involved in his church community. It does not sound like he’ll be coming out of retirement any time soon, but perhaps we’ll see him at the next Old Timers Day. In the interview, Crosby mentioned that his career simply ended in a span of 48 hours after signing with the Mariners. He realized that his baseball career was over after failing the physical. Although he was scared and nervous at first, his faith in God and dedication to the family business has brought him a great deal of happiness.