Owens with the Chicago White Sox
|Lancaster Barnstormers – No. 10|
February 16, 1981 |
|September 11, 2006, for the Chicago White Sox|
(through 2009 Season)
|Runs batted in||18|
Jerry Lee Owens (born February 16, 1981) is a Major League Baseball center fielder for the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. He played most of the 2006 season with the Triple-A Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox affiliation) of the International League, but was called up and made his major league debut as a pinch runner on September 11. His first start came on September 27, a game in which he collected both his first hit and stole his first base as a major leaguer.
Owens graduated from Hart High School in California, where he played wide receiver on the championship football team with NFL quarterback Kyle Boller. In high school, Jerry was named to numerous All-America teams and was an elite recruit. Owens originally attended the University of California, Los Angeles, but later transferred to The Master's College in California after several injuries and a revelation. At the Master's College, he was named the Small College All-American Outfielder for 2003, before being selected by the Montreal Expos in the 2nd Round (57th overall) of the 2003 amateur entry draft.
Chicago White Sox
Owens first was sent to play Single-A baseball with the Vermont Expos of the New York-Penn League in 2003. However, he only played 2 games with the team. In 2004, Owens went to play Single-A baseball with the Savannah Sand Gnats of the South Atlantic League. Owens burst onto the scouting scene by posting some impressive numbers such as a .292 batting average 30 stolen bases.
During the off-season, when the Montreal Expos became the Washington Nationals, Owens was traded for Alex Escobar, a prospect from the Chicago White Sox. It was no surprise that in 2005, Owens was promoted to Double-A ball with the Birmingham Barons of the Southern League. Owens had a sensational season, being named Southern League All-Star outfielder and he also led the league in batting average.
In spring training for the White Sox in 2006, Owens had to compete with Brian Anderson for the job of center fielder, but manager Ozzie Guillén stated that Owens would probably not get the job because he had a shoulder injury a few years before. Owens was put on the White Sox' extended 40-man roster, and was optioned back to the International League with the Charlotte Knights. Owens showed development in his base-stealing in 2006, stealing 40 bases and being caught only 12 times.
Owens was considered for the center field job vacated by Ken Griffey Jr. for the 2009 season, but the White Sox released him on May 2 after he batted .083 in 12 games. He then signed a minor league contract with the Seattle Mariners. Playing for the Mariners' triple-A affiliate, the Tacoma Rainiers, He went on to lead the Rainiers in average with a .323 clip.
In November 2009, the Washington Nationals signed Owens to a Minor League contract with an invitation to 2010 Spring Training and he got a chance to compete for a roster spot. He did not play in the 2010 season.
He is currently a minor league free agent and outfielder for the Naranjeros de Hermosillo at the Pacific Mexican League.
The Lancaster Barnstormers signed Owens for the 2013 season.