Jay Heard

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Jehosie Heard

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

Jehosie Heard was a hard-throwing little left-hander who was the first black pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles. The Orioles purchased Heard from the Portland Beavers of the Pacific Coast League on December 16, 1953. Jehosie or "Jay" as he was nick-named, had never seen or played a game of baseball before joining a service team while serving in the United States Army during World War II.

After the war, Jay returned home to Alabama to pitch for the Birmingham Black Barons, helping the team to the Negro American League pennant in 1948 and began his career in the minor leagues in 1952, winning 20 games for the Victoria Tyees of the Western International League. During that season he once started both ends of a doubleheader, losing both games by an identical score of 1-0.

After winning 16 games for Portland in 1953, he started the 1954 season with the Orioles as a 34-year-old rookie (although he was listed as being five years younger at the time). But after making just two relief appearances the Orioles sent him back to Portland, and made the deal final in October by acquiring Bob Alexander in return for Jay's services.

In 1955, Jay spent time with three teams, the Tulsa Oilers (6-2), Seattle Rainiers {5-7) and the Charleston Senators (1-3) for a combined record of 12-12 with a 3.71 ERA. 1956 saw Jay win 7 and lose 10 with Tulsa again and finish out the year with the Havana Sugar Kings, going 3-5 with a 4.94 ERA. 1957 was the end of Heard's minor league career when he appeared in 19 games with Havana with no decisions.

His major league numbers speak for themselves, 0-0 and a 13.50 ERA in 3 1/3 innings, but his six-year minor league totals show that the journeyman finished with a 61-54 record with a 3.56 ERA. Heard continued to pitch for several years, mostly with traveling teams and semi-pro leagues. He died November 18, 1999, at age 79 in Birmingham, Alabama.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NAL Winning Percentage Leader (1946)


Baseball Players of the 1950s
BR Minors Page

Related Sites[edit]