Position: First Baseman/DH
- Milwaukee Brewers (1992-1998 )
- Oakland Athletics (1999-2001)
- Drafted by the Brewers in 1984, made his major league debut on July 9, 1992.
- His best year statistically was 1996 (.300, 35 HR, 118 RBI)
- 1999 AL Comeback Player of the Year
- 1999 AL All-Star
- 1999 Home Run Derby participant
- After a monster season in 1999 (.276 35 HR 111 RBI), Jaha played in just 33 games in 2000 and retired in 2001.
- For his career, hit .263 with 141 home runs and 490 RBI’s
- He is of Lebanese descent
While playing for Triple-A Denver in 1992 (ah, life before the Colorado Rockies), Jaha blasted a home run into the upper deck at Mile High Stadium, becoming only the second player all-time to accomplish such a feat. The first player to do so was Joey Meyer, who only played two seasons in the majors (’88,’89) but holds an important role in baseball trivia history. Aside from his 582-foot blast at Mile High, Meyer is the only player to ever record a walk-off home run (or walk-off hit, for that matter) against Roger Clemens (Link).
Jaha once stole 4 bases in a single game in 1992, which is impressive for anyone, let alone a first baseman who never stole more than 13 bases in a season.
In 1999, Jaha was voted AL Comeback Player of the Year. He had endured a series of injuries which held him to just 46 games in 1997 and 73 in 1998. The following spring, the Oakland A’s signed him to a minor league contract, not expecting him to make the major league squad. Wikipedia notes that he was even left out of the A’s ’99 media guide. Not only did Jaha make the A’s roster that year, he was an AL All-Star and finished the season with 35 home runs and 111 RBI’s.
Jaha also took part in the 1999 Home Run Derby at Fenway Park in Boston. His performance, however, was one to forget. Jaha hit just one home run, and the blog A’s and Emmett notes that “he holds the distinction of being the only player I’ve ever seen swing and miss in a homerun contest.” A’s and Emmett obviously missed Bret Boone’s horrific swing and miss at the 2003 Derby in Chicago.
Jaha’s home run derby woes continue to this day. Here he is at age 37, participating in a 2003 celebrity whiffle ball home run derby.
Jaha finished 4th out of 6 in the derby, improving upon his 8th out of 8 performance in 2002. (Thanks to A’s and Emmett for the celebrity whiffle ball home run derby scoop)
If you find any old John Jaha baseball cards, this guy is apparently seeking them. Weird, I know, but let’s just give him what he wants and move on.
In late 2007, a Yahoo user named HockeyGuy attempted to start a rumor that the Yankees were trying to sign Jaha to a 5 year $200 M deal. (Link)
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