FORT MYERS, FLA. — Grayson Greiner stood up. That's it. That's all he did. But that was enough.
When umpire Erich Bacchus called Tigers outfielder Jonathan Davis out earlier this month for not being ready in time for a two-strike pitch, Davis stood briefly in disbelief at the call. Greiner, the Twins' non-roster catcher, rose to his feet and waited.
And a meme was born.
A clip of that moment, taken from the Bally Sports North broadcast, was posted to Twitter the next morning by an account called @CodifyBaseball. At 6-6, Grayson towers a full 10 inches over Davis, who is listed at 5-8, and the video gives that disparity a Judge-and-Altuve feel, even a Shaq-and-Muggsy absurdity. Davis' helmet doesn't even reach Greiner's shoulders.
The original tweet went viral. It was retweeted more than 900 times, and other sports accounts lifted the video and posted it themselves. And in Fort Myers, "my phone just blew up," Greiner said. "One of my buddies sent it to me and said it was on [ESPN's] SportsCenter. I got a lot of texts, a lot of attention."
Especially since the caption so amusingly summed up the comic-book quality of Greiner's hulking presence: "There's never been a taller catcher in all of MLB history than Grayson Greiner of the Minnesota Twins."
But here's the startling part. According to baseball-reference.com, that's literally true.
No player officially listed as 6-7 or taller has ever played an inning behind the plate, according to the website's search engine, and only four players 6-6 have ever done so. One, Anton Falch, caught five games in the Union Association in 1884, and the others were barely more experienced. Don Gile of the Red Sox caught 64 innings over 19 games for the Red Sox in 1959-61, and Pete Koegel had 12 games, totaling 54 innings, for the Phillies in 1971-72.
And then there's Greiner, unique in MLB history.
"Starting at 8 or 9 years old, I started catching and fell in love with it," said Greiner, who has played 139 major league games, every one of them behind the plate, for the Tigers and Diamondbacks since 2018. "My dad always told me to keep doing it until someone tells you not to. I'm 30 now and nobody has ever told me to stop catching, so I'm going to keep doing it as long as I can."
He'll likely do it in St. Paul this year, after the Twins signed Christian Vazquez to handle catching duties with Ryan Jeffers, but Greiner is used to being the catcher-on-call. He's never played more than 58 MLB games in a season, in large part because, as the saying goes in baseball, he hits like a catcher. Greiner's lifetime average is .201, and his OPS is only .583, a far bigger reason than his height for his difficulty holding a big-league job.
Still, the Twins are intrigued by the ability a big catcher might have to help pitchers who work at the top of the strike zone.
"His height could be a special asset because you can almost have hybrid stances if you're catching guys like [Bailey] Ober, someone who is consistently at the top of the zone," said Hank Conger, who coaches Twins catchers. "He's athletic, and has been very receptive to working with a right-knee-down stance, which has been helping him with the bottom of the zone, too."
Greiner has had a few minor injuries to his hamstring and lower back, but his knees are "mostly" healthy, he said, a good sign for a catcher his age. He's never had a concussion in the majors, though "I've taken hundreds of foul tips," he said. And he's never had a major collision at home plate, perhaps partly because baseball rules now ban them, but also because — well, he's 6-6 and 240 pounds.
"I do what I can to stay athletic as I get older," Greiner said. "I work a lot on functional stuff, being able to block pitches. I can get out of a crouch in a hurry to throw. I look at [his height] as an asset — I've had a lot of pitchers tell me they love a big target."
Greiner's locker in the Twins' clubhouse is three away from Joe Mauer's (now occupied by Vazquez), which the Twins hopeful finds fitting.
"He was my hero growing up — a tall catcher who could hit," Greiner said of the 6-5 Mauer. "He and Matt Wieters. I was 6-5 my freshman year of high school, back when they were doing their thing. So I really looked up to them and watched them a lot."
It's about the only time Greiner ever looks up to anyone.