Jay Porter

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J. W. Porter
Catcher/Outfielder
Born: (1933-01-17) January 17, 1933 (age 81)
Shawnee, Oklahoma
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 30, 1952, for the St. Louis Browns
Last MLB appearance
September 27, 1959, for the St. Louis Cardinals
Career statistics
Batting average .228
Home runs 8
Runs batted in 62
Teams

J. W. "Jay" Porter (born January 17, 1933, in Shawnee, Oklahoma) is a former Major League Baseball player who played for the St. Louis Browns (1952), Detroit Tigers (1955–1957), Cleveland Indians (1958), Washington Senators (1959), and St. Louis Cardinals (1959). Porter played in 229 major league games, 91 as a catcher, 62 as an outfielder, 16 as a first baseman, and 3 at third base. He was a career .228 hitter who had his best season in 1957 when he hit .250 in 58 games for the Detroit Tigers.

Porter was signed as an 18-year-old "bonus baby" in 1951. Bobby Mattick was scouting Porter, when he noticed another prospect, Frank Robinson. Mattick wound up signing both Porter and Robinson, "with Porter signing for a much higher bonus." John Eisenberg, "From 33rd Street to Camden Yards" (McGraw-Hill 2001), p. 161. Despite the early promise, Porter played in only 33 games for the St. Louis Browns in 1952.

On December 4, 1952, Porter was traded by the Browns with Owen Friend and Bob Nieman to the Tigers for Virgil Trucks (who threw two no-hitters in 1952), Hal White, and Johnny Groth. Porter did not make it to the Tigers' big league team until 1955 and played only 92 games for the Tigers from 1955–1957.

Though he never became a starter in Detroit, he was selected by Sports Illustrated in October 2006 as one of the "10 Greatest Characters in Detroit Tigers History," along with Mark Fidrych, Norm Cash, Boots Poffenberger, and Herbie Redmond.

[1] Porter's favorite meal was "two dozen (eggs) over light," which he would eat all at once. This became a "favorite meal" when his teammates encouraged him to compete against the world's champion for eating the most eggs in one sitting and Porter began his "training." A date was set for the contest; however, the current world champion failed to show.

On February 18, 1958, the Tigers traded Porter to the Cleveland Indians with Hal Woodeshick for Jim Hegan and Hank Aguirre. Porter learned of the trade while driving to Spring Training. Porter drove from his home in Oregon, down the West Coast, stopping in Tucson, Arizona to visit friends in the Indians training camp. When he was an hour outside Lakeland, Porter heard on the car radio that he had been traded to the Indians, made a U-turn and headed back to Arizona. Van Dusen, Ewald & Hawkins, "The Detroit Tigers Encyclopedia (Sports Publishing 2003), p. 94.

While playing for Cleveland, Porter had the task of catching for knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm. Porter was reportedly so baffled by Wilhelm's knuckleball that he used a first baseman's glove. [2]

After his playing career, he served as a minor league manager in the Montreal Expos organization (including a stint with the West Palm Beach Expos in 1970). Porter also managed the Montreal Expos' entry in the 1969 Florida Instructional League.

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