J. R. House
|J. R. House|
November 11, 1979 |
Charleston, West Virginia
|September 27, 2003 for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
Last MLB appearance
|August 19, 2008 for the Houston Astros|
|Runs batted in||4|
James Rodger "J. R." House (born November 11, 1979) is a retired catcher in Major League Baseball who is currently manager of the minor league Visalia Rawhide, a Class A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. House was drafted in the 5th round. He later gave up baseball, focusing instead on his love of football. He enrolled at West Virginia University as a quarterback, but after a single season left choosing to return to minor league baseball.
A top high school football player at Nitro, J.R. House set a national high school record with 10 touchdown passes in the 1998 West Virginia state championship game against Morgantown. He was the West Virginia high school football player of the year and also set a national record with 14,457 career passing yards. House is now fourth all-time behind Maty Mauk (18,932), Maty's older brother Ben Mauk (17,364) and Chris Leak (15,593). During his high school years, he spent fall semesters playing football at Nitro and spring semesters playing baseball at Seabreeze High School in Ormond Beach, Florida; he moved each winter with his father, who owns automobile dealerships in the Charleston and Daytona Beach areas.
It was unclear if he would decide to play baseball or football professionally; he opted for the former. House was plagued by many injuries. In 2001, he was twice on the disabled list with bruised ribs. A year later, he had surgery three times - for an abdominal hernia, a torn muscle and Tommy John surgery. The last surgery cost him most of the 2003 season. Additionally, he missed a month in 2000 due to mononucleosis. He was limited to 35 games in 2002 and 41 in 2003.
House hit over .300 in Rookie League and short-season class A in 1999. The next year, he batted .348 with 23 homers, sharing the South Atlantic League MVP with Josh Hamilton. After barely playing for two years, House hit .288/.344/.502 at AAA - his career minor league line was .304/.371/.502. House was not deemed a prospect any more by the Pittsburgh Pirates, who had high hopes for other young catchers Ryan Doumit, Humberto Cota, Ronny Paulino and Neil Walker. He barely played in his second year in the majors. He had rotator cuff surgery on his previously injured right shoulder in 2004 and two weeks later was released by the Pirates.
After his baseball career apparently ended, House enrolled at West Virginia University, where he was the third-string quarterback for one season. In 2005, House completed 2 of 4 passes for 38 yards with no TDs or interceptions. He also had 2 rushes for 16 yards with a long of 13 yards and no TDs.
Deciding to return to baseball in 2006, J.R. signed with the Houston Astros. Assigned to their Corpus Christi Hooks Class AA minor league team, he had two hitting streaks of over 15 games in the first two months of the year and by June 3 was leading the Texas League in batting average.
Soon thereafter, House moved up to the AAA Round Rock Express. On August 21, 2006 he played his last game with Round Rock and was called up by the Astros. The next night, House debuted against the Cincinnati Reds.
On November 14, 2006, House was signed by the Baltimore Orioles. House played for the Norfolk Tides, their AAA affiliate, for the first three months of the 2007 baseball season. It was reported in July that House opted out of his contract with the Orioles, citing a clause that if he was not playing with the Baltimore Orioles by July 1 he was allowed to dissolve the contract. House was recalled by the Orioles on August 13, 2007.
House hit his first career home run off Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Jesse Litsch on August 18, 2007. House was outrighted to the minor leagues on October 3, 2007. He declined the assignment and elected free agency on October 12.
After spending one year in the Orioles organization, he returned to the Astros organization, signing a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training on January 10, 2008. House did not make the Astros' 2008 opening day roster and on March 19, 2008 was sent back to the AAA Round Rock Express in the Pacific Coast League. He was called up on August 16.
House started 16 games as catcher for the Newark Bears of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, but on May 14, 2010 House was signed by the New York Mets. He reported to the Mets' Triple A affiliate, the Buffalo Bisons.
On February 9, 2011, he signed a contract with the Long Island Ducks.
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- West Virginia University athletics profile