October 6, 1960 |
|September 19, 1982, for the Philadelphia Phillies|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 31, 1992, for the Philadelphia Phillies|
|Earned run average||5.24|
Jay Scot Baller (born October 6, 1960) is a former pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs, and Kansas City Royals. Listed at 6' 6", 215 lbs., he batted and threw right handed.
Baller spent parts of six different seasons in the majors but never was able to stick with a big league time for an entire campaign. Primarily a reliever, he recorded 137 saves in 14 Minor League seasons and six saves in 94 Major League contests.
Baller was selected by the Phillies in the fourth round (98th overall) of the 1979 MLB draft out of Canby High School in Canby, Oregon. He made his Major League debut with the Phillies as a reliever on September 19, 1982, throwing a scoreless, hitless inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He would pitch in three other games that season, including one of his five major league starts, before returning to the minor leagues.
Baller was a throw-in player in a major trade after the 1982 season, as the Cleveland Indians sent Von Hayes to the Phillies in exchange for Julio Franco, Manny Trillo, George Vukovich, Jerry Willard, and Baller. He spent the next two seasons as a starter in Cleveland's minor leagues before being traded again to the Chicago Cubs for Dan Rohn in April 1985. That season, Baller would finally return to the majors, appearing in 20 games (4 starts) and posting a respectable 3.46 ERA. Baller split the 1986 season between the Triple-A Iowa Cubs and the major-league Cubs, sporting a 5.37 ERA, a 2-4 record and five saves in 36 games with Chicago. It would be the most extensive big-league action of his career.
The 1987 season saw Baller's role reduced, as he spent the majority of the year in Iowa. In 23 games with Chicago, he went 0-1 and saw his ERA rise yet again to 6.75. The Cubs released him in December. He signed as a free agent with the Seattle Mariners and spent the 1988 season with their Triple-A farm team in Calgary. He was granted free agency after the season and Baller signed with the Montreal Expos organization, where he was made a full-time closer for their Triple-A team in Indianapolis, posting a career-high 34 saves and a 2.02 ERA. Granted free agency again, Baller signed with the Royals and found his way back to the majors in 1990. However, he was ineffective, managing only an inflated 15.43 ERA in three games.
The off-season saw further movement for Baller, as he signed as a free agent with the Houston Astros but was released before the season began. Baller then signed with the Phillies organization, finding his way back to the team where he started his career. After an entire season at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Baller filed for free agency but again signed with the Phillies for 1992. Now old for a minor leaguer at age 31, Baller was a very effective closer for Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, saving 22 games while sporting a nifty 1.42 ERA. Promoted to Philadelphia, Baller appeared in the final eight games of his majors career, managing just an 8.18 ERA as he allowed five home runs and 10 earned runs in just 11 innings of work. Baller was granted free agency again after the season, but there were no takers for his services, and he retired from baseball.
In between, Baller played winter ball with the Águilas del Zulia, Leones del Caracas and Tiburones de La Guaira clubs of the Venezuelan League in five seasons spanning 1982–1993, posting a collective record of 13-11 and a 2.39 ERA in 136 appearances, garnering three Closer of the Year awards while setting an all-time league record with 56 saves that still remain intact. Additionally, he pitched in the Caribbean Series in the 1987 and 1993 editions for Caracas and Zulia, respectively.
Baller was arrested in 2007 when he was found in his vehicle cocking a handgun and passing it between his hands. Police discovered one bag (roughly an eighth of an ounce) of cocaine in each coat pocket and also one bag behind the driver's seat. A bag containing $15,000 was also found in the car.
He currently lives in Muhlenberg, Pennsylvania with his wife and four children.
- Gutiérrez, Daniel; González, Javier (2006); Records de la Liga Venezolana de Béisbol Profesional. LVBP. ISBN 978-980-6996-01-4
- Pura Pelota – Jay Baller LVBP pitching statistics
- Jason A. Kahl (August 7, 2007). "Reading police say ex-big leaguer had gun, cocaine". readingeagle.com. Reading Eagle. Retrieved July 14, 2014.