Monday, October 6, 2014

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #152 JOHN JAHA

POWER NEVER AN ISSUE; HEALTH WAS.



GIVEN UP FOR DEAD IN '99 BEFORE RESURRECTION WITH A'S.


DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Slugger John Jaha's Achilles heel was really his left foot. Four times he hit the disabled list with foot maladies, but despite this and the fact he didn't make the majors until he was 26, Jaha still hit 141 homers in his 10-year career. He slashed .263/.369/.465 and was AL Comeback Player of the Year in 1999 with the Athletics.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • Jaha, known for tape-measure homers, hit one estimated at 489 feet to right-center field at Kauffman Stadium on June 27, 1996, with the Brewers. It was his second homer of the game and came off Tim Belcher and capped a 2-for-4, two-RBI performance against the Royals.

DEFINING SEASON

  • Branded injury-prone as a free agent after the Brewers elected not to re-sign him after the '98 season, Jaha signed a minor-league deal with the Athletics in February '99. It turned out to be another shrewd move by General Manager Billy Beane. Jaha, used primarily as DH, had arguably his best season, hitting a career-best 35 homers, adding 111 RBI and slashing .276/.414/.556.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Tied Dave Kingman's Athletics' record for homers by a designated hitter in '99. 
  2. While playing at the Brewers' Triple-A affiliate in Denver in '92, he became only the second player after Joey Meyer to blast a homer into the upper deck of Mile High Stadium.
  3. Played his first full season in the majors a year later, slamming 19 homers, which he would average over the next five years.
  4. Jaha reverted back to his injury-prone ways in '00 and announced his retirement in June '01. A popular player who established himself as a positive clubhouse influence, he received a standing ovation by his teammates at his press conference.
  5. Working to market his own brand of instant coffee called Jaha's Java. Great name, but instant coffee ...? 

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