If Mark Grace plays the game of baseball with both intensity and integrity, it is because these qualities were instilled in him by his parents, Gene and Sharon Grace. Mark was born June 28, 1964 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, the second son of Gene and Sharon. The couple taught Mark and his older brother Mike the importance of hard work and honest living. The family moved 13 times in 25 years, so Mark was forced to learn how to make friends quickly and adapt to new situations. These characteristics were deeply ingrained in his personality, as today Mark is known for his outgoing demeanor and happy-go-lucky ways. Moving from city to city throughout his childhood removed any trace of shyness he may have had, and instilled in Mark a gregariousness that would make him a crowd favorite on every team he has played.

One of the family's many stops was the city of St. Louis, Missouri. Here, Mark followed the St. Louis Cardinals and idolized the team's All-Star first baseman, Keith Hernandez. Little did he know that years later, baseball analysts would be comparing his skills to Keith's. In fact, their careers and style of play closely resemble each others. Both are regarded as smooth fielding defensemen, solid line-drive hitters, and fan favorites.

Mark's high school years were spent in southern California. He attended Tustin High School near Los Angeles, playing on both the varsity baseball and basketball teams. Mark was a popular student and was even a member of the prom court his senior year. However, Southern California has always been loaded with high-school athletic talent, and though Mark had an outstanding high-school career, a major college scholarship was not in his cards. Instead, he would take his emerging skills to Saddleback Junior College.


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Little League dreams became Big League reality for Mark

Mark (center) in his junior year at Tustin High School

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