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Jon Weber (baseball)

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Jon Weber
No Team – No. 4
Outfielder
Born: (1978-01-20) January 20, 1978 (age 39)
Lakewood, California
Bats: Left Throws: Left
Medal record
Men's baseball
Representing  United States
Baseball World Cup
Gold medal – first place 2009 Nettuno National team

Jonathan Brian Weber (born January 20, 1978 in Lakewood, California) is a professional baseball player. An outfielder, Weber bats and throws left-handed. Considered a journeyman,[1] Weber has played professionally in minor league baseball since 1999, without playing in Major League Baseball.

Weber played collegiately for Los Angeles Harbor College and Texas Tech University before embarking on his professional career in 1999. As a professional, he played in the minor league organizations of the Cincinnati Reds, Oakland Athletics, Los Angeles Dodgers, Arizona Diamondbacks, Tampa Bay Rays, New York Yankees, and Detroit Tigers. He has also played independent league baseball in the unaffiliated Frontier League, Northern League, and American Association of Independent Professional Baseball. Weber has competed for the United States national baseball team, winning the gold medal at the 2009 Baseball World Cup.

Amateur career[edit]

Weber was born in Lakewood, California. He attended Lakewood High School in Lakewood, California. There, he played for the school's baseball team, known as the Lancers, graduating in 1996.[2][3]

Out of high school, Weber was selected by the Oakland Athletics in the thirty-first round of the 1997 Major League Baseball draft. However, he chose not to sign with the Athletics, opting to attend college. He began his college baseball career at Los Angeles Harbor College (LAHC) of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) in 1997.[4] At LAHC, Weber was a NJCAA All-America selection.[5]

In 1999, Weber transferred to Texas Tech University to compete in the NCAA Division I during his junior year. At Texas Tech, he played college baseball for the Texas Tech Red Raiders baseball team in the Big 12 Conference. Weber led the conference with eight triples, setting a Red Raiders team record in the process.[6] He was named the Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Week and Big 12 Baseball Player/Pitcher of the Week for the week of February 1, 1999.[6] Weber became the fourth player in Texas Tech history to hit for the cycle.[7]

Professional career[edit]

1999–2004[edit]

Weber signed his first professional contract with the Cincinnati Reds as a non-drafted free agent in August 1999.[8] He made his professional debut that summer with the Rookie-level Billings Mustangs of the Pioneer League, recording a .238 batting average, .365 on-base percentage (OBP) and .500 slugging percentage (SLG) with five home runs and 17 runs batted in (RBI) in 22 games. The next year, he hit .221 with a .333 OBP and .333 SLG with six home runs and 34 RBIs in 108 games for the Single-A Clinton LumberKings of the Midwest League. However, Weber was released by the Reds after the season. He felt the Reds "treated [him] like a non-prospect".[9]

In 2001, Weber played independent league baseball for the Canton Crocodiles of the Frontier League.[10] He batted .307 with a .382 OBP, .559 SLG, 18 home runs and 69 RBI in 84 games, being named to the Frontier League post-season All-Star team.[11] He led the Frontier League in home runs and triples.[12] Canton sold Weber to the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks of the independent Northern League in 2002,[12] where he hit .296 with a .351 OBP, .501 SLG, and 30 doubles for Fargo-Morehead, placing fourth in the league in doubles. Back with Fargo-Moorhead to open 2003, he batted .309 with a .408 OBP and .520 SLG through 52 games, as the team went on to win the Northern League championship.[8]

However, in July 2003, the Oakland Athletics organization purchased Weber's contract from Fargo-Moorhead. With the Athletics organization, Weber hit .361 with a .394 OBP, .626 SLG, seven home runs and 48 RBIs in 35 games with the Single-A Advanced Modesto A's of the California League for the remainder of that year. In 2004, he hit .280 with a .356 OBP, .458 SLG, 15 home runs and 68 RBI in 111 games with the Double-A Midland RockHounds of the Texas League, and hit .341 with a .383 OBP, .568 SLG, two home runs and 12 RBI in 12 games with the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats of the Pacific Coast League (PCL), helping the River Cats win the PCL championship.[8]

2005–2009[edit]

Weber signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers after the 2004 season as a free agent. In 2005, he hit .300 with a .369 OBP, .456 SLG, 11 home runs and 68 RBIs in 117 games with the Double-A Jacksonville Suns of the Southern League. He was ninth in the league in batting average and led the league's outfielders in assists (19) and double plays (7). With Weber, Jacksonville won the Southern League championship, his third year in a row as a member of a championship-winning team.[8] During the season, Weber received a 15-game suspension for violating minor league baseball's drug policy. Weber, who failed a drug test administered in August 2004, said he had taken thermogin, a supplement that contained the banned substance ephedrine, and denied taking steroids.[13][14]

After starting the 2006 season with the Triple-A Las Vegas Stars of the PCL, where he hit .258 with a .338 OBP, .352 SLG, 2 home runs and 31 RBI in 82 games, he was released. He signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he played for the Triple-A Tucson Sidewinders of the PCL, hitting .321 with a .374 OBP, .518 SLG, 5 home runs and 27 RBI in 46 games. The Sidewinders won the PCL championship, Weber's fourth consecutive league championship.[8]

Weber was released by the Diamondbacks during 2007 spring training. He signed with Fargo-Moorhead. After 16 games there, batting .283 with a .371 OBP and .417 SLG, his contract was sold to the Texas Rangers on June 4, 2007. The Rangers assigned him to the Single-A Advanced Bakersfield Blaze of the California League, where he hit .356 with a .416 OBP, .550 SLG, five home runs, 14 doubles, 25 RBI, and 34 runs scored in 37 games.[15] After spending a month with the Rangers organization, on July 16, the Tampa Bay Rays purchased his contract from the Rangers and assigned him to the Triple-A Durham Bulls of the International League.[16] There, he hit .265 with three home runs and 21 RBIs in 39 games. Weber re-signed with the Rays on a minor league contract after the 2007 season,[17] and batted .265 with a .334 OBP, .447 SLG, 13 home runs for the Bulls in 2008.

Weber returned to the Rays' organization in 2009, almost making the Rays' opening day roster until Matt Joyce recovered from an injury.[9] Weber returned to Durham, where he hit .302 with 14 home runs in 117 games,[9] and led the 2009 International League with 46 doubles and finished ninth in batting average. He was named to the International League post-season All-Star team.[18]

2010–present[edit]

After the 2009 season, Weber signed with the New York Yankees organization and was invited to spring training for the 2010 season. Weber signed with the Yankees because they gave him an opportunity to compete for a job in the major leagues, while other teams told him they viewed him exclusively as a minor leaguer.[1] In spring training, Weber led the Yankees with a .483 batting average and was presented with the James P. Dawson Award, given annually to the best rookie in the Yankees' camp.[19][20] Manager Joe Girardi indicated that Weber could beat out Marcus Thames and Rule 5 draft pick Jamie Hoffmann for the fifth outfielder position on the Yankees 25 man roster,[21] but ultimately the Yankees chose Thames, as the Yankees preferred a right-handed batter to complement their left-handed hitting outfielders, and assigned Weber to the Triple-A Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees.[19] He hit .258 with no home runs in 47 games with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before being released by the Yankees on June 3.[22] He signed with the Detroit Tigers, reporting to the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens of the International League. He hit .256 with a .310 OBP and .372 SLG in 21 games for Toledo. He announced his retirement on July 15, 2010.[22]

Weber is just a tried and true professional who reminds these guys of the importance of winning every day. Not worrying about where we are in the standings, how much each game means, individual stats or getting contracts picked up, but just going out there and getting a win each and everyday no matter what -- that's what Weber does.

 – Rick Forney, manager of the Winnipeg Goldeyes[23]

On July 19, 2010, Major League Baseball announced Weber's 100-game suspension for having failed a drug test for the third time. The drug was identified as a "drug of abuse" rather than a performance-enhancing drug.[24]

Despite announcing his retirement earlier in the year, Weber continued his career in leagues unaffiliated with MLB. He played winter league baseball in the winter of 2010–11 in the Dominican Republic, then signed with the Winnipeg Goldeyes of the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball in June when they had an injury to outfielder Jonathan Wyatt.[25] Weber was named the team's most valuable player.[23] Weber returned to Winnipeg for the 2012 season.[26] After batting .281 in 78 games, the Goldeyes waived Weber, giving him his unconditional release.[27]

International career[edit]

Weber joined the United States national baseball team for the 2009 Baseball World Cup held in Nettuno, Italy in September 2009, helping the United States win the gold medal. Weber made the Cup's All-Tournament Team.[28]

Weber has routinely played winter league baseball.[9] Following the 2006 season, Weber played for the Naranjeros de Hermosillo of the Mexican Pacific League (MPL), appearing in the 2006 Caribbean Series.[29][30] He played for the Cañeros de Los Mochis of the MPL after the 2007 season.[31] With the Venados de Mazatlán of the MPL after the 2008 season, Weber reached the 2009 Caribbean Series.[32][33] In the 2011–12 offseason, he played for the Gigantes del Cibao of the Dominican Winter League.[34]

Personal life[edit]

Weber is married. He and his wife have two children.[19] Weber works in construction during his time away from baseball to help make ends meet.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Borzi, Pat (March 20, 2010). "A Journeyman Looks to Make Majors, Just Like His Glove". The New York Times. Florida. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  2. ^ "Passed Ball Wins For Lakewood in Eighth". Press-Telegram. March 27, 1996. Retrieved January 23, 2012.  (subscription required)
  3. ^ "Lakewood Alumni Profile". Lakewoodbaseball.org. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  4. ^ "Weber's Blast Leads Harbor To 13th Straight Win". Press-Telegram. April 11, 1997. Retrieved January 23, 2012.  (subscription required)
  5. ^ "Who Will Step Up? That is the question as the Red Raiders will blend 12 talented returnees with 19 newcomers". Texas Tech Red Raiders Official Athletic Site — Baseball. Texastech.com. December 15, 1998. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  6. ^ a b "Texas Tech Hosts Nebraska — Texas Tech Red Raiders Official Athletic Site" (Press release). Texastech.com. April 29, 1999. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  7. ^ "Texas Tech Defeats Southwest Texas State 16-12: Outfielder Jon Weber becomes fourth player in Texas Tech history to hit for the cycle". Texas Tech Red Raiders Official Athletic Site — Baseball. Texastech.com. April 20, 1999. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f Mayo, Jonathan (September 18, 2006). "Bricktown Showdown PCL Notebook: Sidewinders continue to fulfill their dream season with trip to inaugural game". MLB.com. Milb.com. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  9. ^ a b c d Madden, Bill (March 27, 2010). "Career minor leaguer Jon Weber deserves trip to Yankee Stadium after hot spring — New York Daily News". New York Daily News. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  10. ^ Rega, Marissa (July 22, 2007). "Bulls, Weber trample Tribe: Newcomer collects career-high five RBIs in 13-1 rom". MLB.com. Milb.com. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  11. ^ Rose, Tom (December 2, 2001). "These guys may be good". The Observer-Reporter. Retrieved July 18, 2012.  (subscription required)
  12. ^ a b Rose, Tom (March 22, 2002). "Busy day for Wild Things". The Observer-Reporter. Retrieved July 18, 2012.  (subscription required)
  13. ^ "Ex-Cat Weber is suspended for drugs". Sacramento Bee. April 16, 2005. p. C9. Retrieved January 23, 2012.  (subscription required)
  14. ^ Gurnick, Ken (April 10, 2005). "Notes: Nakamura replaces Perez". MLB.com. Major League Baseball Advanced Media. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  15. ^ Rega, Marissa (July 22, 2007). "Bulls, Weber trample Tribe: Newcomer collects career-high five RBIs in 13-1 romp". MLB.com. MiLB.com. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  16. ^ Suchon, Joshua (July 23, 2007). "California League Notebook: News & notes for the week of July 16". MLB.com. MiLB.com. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  17. ^ Chastain, Bill (November 28, 2007). "Rays ink three to Minor League deals: Gimenez, Richard, Weber invited to Spring Training 2008". MLB.com. Retrieved July 18, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Jon Weber Earns Spots On USA National Team". Texas Tech Red Raiders Official Athletic Site. Texastech.com. September 8, 2009. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  19. ^ a b c Borzi, Pat (March 31, 2010). "Hot Spring Not Enough for Yankees Minor Leaguer". The New York Times. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Manny Banuelos wins 2011 James P. Dawson Award" (Press release). Major League Baseball. March 29, 2011. Retrieved August 2, 2011. 
  21. ^ "Yankees notes: Mariano Rivera is rolling along; Jon Weber has shot as fifth outfielder". The Record. March 19, 2010. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  22. ^ a b "Jon Weber retires". The Times-Tribune. July 16, 2010. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  23. ^ a b Frankel, Robby (August 29, 2011). "Fish lose, but Weber wins with Forney". Winnipeg Free Press. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  24. ^ "Three Minor Leaguers suspended" (Press release). Major League Baseball Advanced Media. July 19, 2010. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  25. ^ Bender, Jim (June 15, 2011). "New Fish makes instant contribution: Smacks two run double". Winnipeg Sun. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  26. ^ Wiebe, Ken (May 27, 2012). "Road warriors head home". Winnipeg Sun. Retrieved June 19, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Canizares' big bat added to lineup, Weber placed on waivers". Goldeyes.com. August 21, 2012. Retrieved October 8, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Team USA Wins 2009 IBAF Baseball World Cup, Beats Cuba 10-5" (Press release). Major League Baseball. September 27, 2009. Retrieved January 23, 2012. 
  29. ^ Frisaro, Joe (February 3, 2007). "Puerto Rico dominates Mexico". MLB.com. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  30. ^ Frisaro, Joe (February 5, 2007). "Puerto Rico overtakes Mexico in extras". MLB.com. Retrieved 2012-06-19. 
  31. ^ "Saturday's Caribbean leagues roundup". MLB.com. January 12, 2008. Retrieved June 19, 2012. 
  32. ^ Sanchez, Jesse (February 4, 2009). "Venezuela now 2-0 after walk-off win | MLB.com: News". MLB.com. Retrieved June 19, 2012. 
  33. ^ Sanchez, Jesse (February 7, 2009). "Venezuela wins Caribbean Series crown". MLB.com. Retrieved June 19, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Con fly de Feliz, Gigantes dejan a las Estrellas en el terreno" (in Spanish). DiarioLibre.com. Retrieved June 19, 2012. 

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