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Cubs-D-backs set hits home for Grace

Cubs-D-backs set hits home for Grace

PHOENIX -- For 13 years, Mark Grace lived and breathed Cubs baseball, suffering through 11 seasons without postseason play and a pair of early playoff exits.

But that was a long time ago for Grace, who achieved postseason bliss by winning the 2001 World Series with the D-backs and playing three years with the club before taking a job as Arizona's lead broadcast analyst -- his position the past four years.

Seven years after his playing days in Chicago ended, Grace said Wednesday that watching his current and former organizations face off in the National League Division Series this week is no big deal for him, as only Kerry Wood remains with the Cubs from his time with the team.

"My mom and dad taught me a long time ago not to bite the hand that feeds you, and right now I'm being fed very well by this team," said Grace, who will call the fourth through sixth innings on the D-backs radio network.

As a player, Grace came up clutch for Arizona in the 2001 World Series, launching a game-tying homer into the upper deck of Yankee Stadium in Game 4 and starting the winning rally in Game 7 off Mariano Rivera with a single up the middle.

He also provided October heroics for the Cubs in 1989, wearing out Giants pitching with a .647 batting average and eight RBIs in the five-game series.

Grace's emotions could be heightened in his return to Chicago for Games 3 and 4 of this series, as he remains a beloved former player in Wrigleyville where he led the Majors in hits in the 1990s, made three All-Star appearances and won four Gold Gloves at first base.

"When I go back to Chicago it will be very interesting," Grace said. "It'll be nuts. I'm looking forward to it."

With his current and former organizations squaring off, Grace said he's just looking for a good series.

"Hopefully somebody wins it in the ninth inning of Game 5," he said. "That's the definition of a good series."

Michael Schwartz is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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