In the next installment of our pro tips for kids series, I sat down with St. Louis Cardinals’ center fielder Jon Jay, to discuss all things baseball.
Jay was drafted by the Cardinals in the 2nd round of the 2006 Major League Baseball draft. He made his Major League debut with the team on April 26th 2010 against the Atlanta Braves, striking out in his only at bat. He rebounded and had a great rookie season, batting .300 in 105 games. The following year, he and the Cardinals defeated the Rangers in the World Series.
“Playing in the World Series was a dream come true,” said Jay. “It’s an incredible feeling. Winning a championship is the ultimate goal and I was lucky to do it so young in my career.”
Despite his youth, Jay is already considered one of the best defensive center fielders in Baseball today. He holds the National League record by a center fielder for most consecutive games without an error (245). Jay broke the record which belonged to former Cardinals center fielder Curt Flood, who set the record between the 1965 and 1967 seasons. Defense is an important part of baseball, one Jay believes young outfielders should work hard to master.
“For outfielders. I feel that catching balls on batting practice is the most important drill you can do,” said Jay.
Jay, whose favorite career moment is a toss up between making his Major League debut or winning the World Series, said he owes his career to one person in life.
“My mom has been the biggest influence in my life,” said Jay. “She taught me that hard work, sacrifice, and humility are the keys to life.”
Jay is a career .293 hitter in four Major League seasons. He holds a lifetime .995 fielding percentage, having only made four errors in more than 850 attempts at center field. However Jay’s best piece of advice for youth baseball players goes beyond the statistics on the diamond.
“My biggest advice is to remember that baseball is a game and to always have fun,” stated Jay. “Make sure you take your education seriously. If you’re not eligible, you can’t play and will limit the opportunities that are out there for high school and college. Education is number one.”
Long Island Baseball Magazine thanks Mr. Jay for his continuous efforts to help youth baseball players on and off the field. We wish him much success as the 2014 regular season approaches. Play Ball!