John Gross

John Preston Gross, born 11/12/1959 in Pine Bluff, AR, was a professional baseball scout and General Manager of the 1996 Pine Bluff Locomotives.


Gross' obituary was printed in the Pine Bluff Commercial on 4/3/2012:

"BIRMINGHAM, Ala.— John Preston Gross, age 52, of Birmingham, Ala., formerly of Pine Bluff, died Saturday, March 31, 2012.

Born November 12, 1959 at Pine Bluff, he was a son of Rosemary Preston Gross of Pine Bluff and the late Wallis Ralph Gross. He graduated from Pine Bluff High School in 1978, where he was a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He also worked as a sports writer for both the Pine Cone student newspaper and also the Pine Bluff Commercial.

He then attended Harding University on a baseball scholarship, and graduated with a degree in Sports Management. While at Harding, he worked in the sports information department and received All-American honors for media brochures from the College Sports Information Directors of America. He later worked at KATV Channel 7 in Little Rock with the late Paul Eells helping to produce the Nolan Richardson and Ken Hatfield coach’s shows.

John coached and worked with baseball players at all levels. He coached Little League Baseball for the Pine Bluff National Little League; Junior Babe Ruth, American Legion, and collegiate baseball. In 1982 and 1988, his American Legion AA teams won the the state championships and the 1988 team finished 4th in the nation.

He worked as a professional scout for the Texas Rangers from 1989-1993, and for the Chicago Cubs from 1993-1995. Along with his brother Jeff, in 1989, he started Pro-Day Baseball Camps and Clinics, teaching the game of baseball to youth. This program spread to 12 southeastern states, and players have also attended from seven other countries. He had assisted hundreds of players, both collegiate and professional, receive scholarships and sign professional contracts.

He and his brother brought professional baseball back to Pine Bluff in 1995 and 1996, with the establishment of the Pine Bluff Locomotives , a Class A Minor League team in the Big South League. The team won the divisional championship in 1996.

John twice received honors at the All-Civic Night awards for his work with youth in baseball, and was a member of the Hazel Street Church of Christ.

Also predeceasing John are his maternal grandmother, Lucille Preston; and his paternal grandparents, Robert and Mary Gross.

In addition to his mother, John is survived by a son, John Preston Gross, Jr. (Melissa) of St. Louis, Mo.; a daughter, Stephanie Leigh Gross Mummert (Adam) of Kansas City, Mo.; his brother, Jeff Gross of Orange Beach, Ala.; his maternal grandfather, Carl F. Preston of Cherokee Village, Ark.; a grandson, Owen Brooks Mummert; his long-time companion and friend, Nancy Byrd of Birmingham; along with many other loving family and friends.

Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Friday, at the Hazel Street Church of Christ with Mr. Alan Green and Mr. Roger Gean officiating. Interment will be in White Hall United Methodist Cemetery by Fuller Hale-South Funeral Services. "1

1 Pine Bluff Commercial, 4/2/2012