Joey Jay

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Joey Jay
Joey Jay 1962.png
Jay in 1962
Pitcher
Born: (1935-08-15) August 15, 1935 (age 78)
Middletown, Connecticut
Batted: Switch Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 21, 1953 for the Milwaukee Braves
Last MLB appearance
October 2, 1966 for the Atlanta Braves
Career statistics
Win–loss record 99-91
Earned run average 3.77
Strikeouts 999
Teams
Career highlights and awards
  • All-Star in 1961
  • Led NL in wins in 1961 with 21

Joseph Richard (Joey) Jay (born August 15, 1935 in Middletown, Connecticut) is a former starting pitcher in Major League Baseball. From 1953 through 1966, Jay played for the Milwaukee Braves (1953–55, 1957–60), Cincinnati Reds (1961–66) and Atlanta Braves (1966). He was a switch-hitter and threw right-handed.

In a 13-season career, Jay posted a 99–91 record with 999 strikeouts and a 3.77 ERA in 1546.1 innings.

In July 2008 he was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.[1]

Bonus Baby[edit]

In addition to being the first Little League player to advance to the major leagues,[2] Jay was one of the first "bonus baby" players in the major leagues. This resulted when he signed a significant contract ($20,000) with the Braves, which forced the Braves to keep Jay on their major league roster for two seasons because of the contract's amount. Following the end of his two years, he was sent to the minors to gain experience, but this failed to get him past the likes of Warren Spahn, Bob Buhl and Lew Burdette on the Braves' rotation. He went 7–5 for the Braves in his best season (1958), but a broken finger kept him out of the World Series.[3]

Second Chance with Cincinnati[edit]

The Braves traded Jay to the Cincinnati Reds after the 1960 season for infielder Roy McMillan. Braves General Manager at the time, John McHale, was based on the feeling that Carl Willey could do a better job for Milwaukee than Jay.[4]

Jay took full advantage of the trade, as he became a key figure in the Reds' stunning revival in 1961. Jay won twenty-one games (the first Red to win twenty since Ewell Blackwell in 1947), tied for the league lead in wins and shutouts, and pitched a one-hitter as the Reds surged to their first National League pennant since 1940. However, the Reds faced the New York Yankees, with Roger Maris having just hit sixty-one home runs, and fell in five games, the only Red win coming in Series game 2 with Jay on the mound in Yankee Stadium.

On May 1, 1962, at the Polo Grounds, off New York Mets pitcher Sherman Jones, Jay hit a three-run HR (base runners were Wally Post and Leo Cárdenas), in the 6th inning, for his first MLB home run. At Crosley Field, on May 28, 1962, Jay hit his only other career home run, off Houston Colt 45s pitcher Bobby Tiefenauer, in the 5th inning, a two-run blast (Don Zimmer was on base).

Jay would also win twenty-one games in 1962, but his productivity slipped after that, finishing 7–18 in 1963. Jay posted a (11-11) in 1964 as the Reds just missed claiming the National League title. He would finish his career by returning to the Braves for their initial season in Atlanta in 1966.

See also[edit]

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Preceded by
Frank Thomas
Major League Player of the Month
July 1958
Succeeded by
Lew Burdette
Preceded by
Ken Boyer
Major League Player of the Month
May 1961
Succeeded by
George Altman