I'm not sure how to prove this or even look it up, but the Jays may
have come close to a historical MLB first the other day when Jesse
Litsch shut down the A's, 12-0. One of the two Jay relievers to clean
up after Litsch's 7 innings was none other than Jesse Carlson, who
threw a shutout eighth inning. If Carlson had actually finished the
game (okay, and if it had been nine runs closer), it might have been
the first game in baseball history where one Jesse started and notched
the win while another Jesse relieved and gained the save.
There have actually been ...
... more than three dozen major league players with the given first or middle name Jesse (or Jessie), who also actually went by that name, including two Hall of Famers (which doesn't include Negro League legend and Cooperstown inductee Willard Jessie Brown) and a few other All-Stars (including one strong-armed OF who Jays fans of a certain age have already recalled) but not including four-time All-Star backstop Earl Jesse Battey ...
However, we also do NOT include the two men with the surname "James" who were nicknamed "Jesse" nor Jesse Duryea, whose given first name was James, but who also bore the nickname "Jesse." (And yes, we did a long-ago Hall of Names roster for those with that given first name, and yes, it was called The James Gang.) Finally, players named Jesse who went by "Jess" are perfectly acceptable (sorry Andrew Joseph "Jess" Dobernic, who otherwise might be a mainstay in this team's bullpen). Dan Jessee, of course, is right out ...
Given all that, how will we do in assembling (alternative names are welcome and invited here) ...
JESSE JACK'S SONS
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star
Player/Manager: Jesse Clyde Milan (69-85, '22 WASH)
C Jesse Levis (.255, 1992-99, 2001)
1B Jess Levan (also OF, 3B; .286, 10-for-35, 1947, '54-55)
2B Jesse Landrum (0-for-6, 1 RBI, six games with 1938 CHW)
SS Jesse Garcia (.216, 1999-2005 -- did all but C, 1B)
3B Jesse Hoffmeister (.309/3/36, 1897 PIT)
LF Jesse Hill (.289, 1935-57)
CF Jesse Clyde Milan (.285, 495 SB, 1907-22)
RF Jesse Barfield* (241 homers two Gold Gloves, 1981-92)
DH Jesse Burkett** (.338, 1890-1905; hit .409 and .410, 1895-96)
C Jesse Gonder (.251, 1960-67)
OF Jessie Reid (.100, 1-for-10, 1987-88 SFG)
OF Jesse Altenburg (.290, 9-for-31, 1916-17 PIT)
OF Jess Pike (7-for-41, six RBI, 1946 NYG)
3B Jess Purnell (2-for-19, OPS+ of 24, 1904 PHI)
RHSP Jesse Haines** (210-158, 1918 CIN, '20-37 STL; three-time 20-game-winner)
LHSP Jesse Tannehill (197-116, 1894, '97-1911; six-time 20-game winner)
RHSP Jesse Barnes (152-150, 1915-27; 45-24, 1919-20)
LHSP Jesse Petty (67-78, 1921, '25-30)
RHSP Jesse Litsch (14-10 since '07 with TOR)
CL-RH Jesse Orosco* (1252 games, 87 wins, 144 saves)
RHRP Jesse Crain (20-12, 2 saves through 2007 with MIN)
RHRP Jesse Winters (13-24, 6 saves, 1919-23)
RH-LONG Jesse Flores (44-59, 6 saves, 1942-27, '50)
RH-LONG Jesse Jefferson (39-81, 1973-81)
Jess a Few Comments ... Burkett came up as a pitcher/outfielder, but after hurling a 3-10/5.57 mark as a rookie (that's an ERA+ of 61), he made just two cameo relief appeaerances the remainder of his career ... He also had a reputation as having something of an, um ... questionable ... defensive acumen, so this team's best hitter is, in fact, its designated hitter ...
As a rookie in 1925, Jess Doyle, one of the final cuts from this roster, tied for second in the major leagues with eight saves, well behind the great Firpo Marberry's then Eckersly-esque 15 ... The one exception to our "went by" rule is Jesse Clyde Milan, who went by his middle name, but who also is the only Jesse thus far in big league history to actually manage in the majors -- besides, he was a hell of an outfielder back in the day, and he was actually a player/manager for the Senators, so who are we to keep him off the field? ...
These Jesses seem to favor the pitching mound, to an extent that we had to really struggle to assemble an infield ... Speaking of pitchers, hich Blue Jesse should be the rotation's fifth starter, Litsch or Jefferson? Seems likely that Litsch will blow past Jefferson's career wins total by some time in 2010, so let's go with the kid ...
Among the final cuts from the team -- all pitchers, no surprise -- are current Jay LHRP Carlson (1-0, 1 save so far as '08 TOR rookie), LHRP Jesse O. Baker (2-7 with the 1911 CHW) and RHPs like the aforementioned Doyle (4-7, 9 saves, 1925-27 DET, '31 SLB), Jesse Stovall (8-14, 1903 CLE, '04 DET) and Jesse Foppert (8-9 as a formerly flashy prospect with 2003-05 SFG) ...
That Baker (who, like Doyle, didn't quite make this team's bullpen) takes a middle initial because there was another Jesse Baker who played in the majors, one with no listed middle name, who made it into one game with the 1919 Senators... I'm not sure exactly how, but according to no-middle-name's official record, in one game, with no at-bats and no walks, the little guy (5'4", 140#) managed to record an RBI ... He won't be on the All-Jesse team but probably shouldn't be considered anyway, since according to that same official record, he was "born Michael Myron Silverman" ...
With Litsch and Carlson active and Barfield and Jefferson back in
historical archives, the Jays seem to be something of a mainstay in the
world of Jesse ballplayers ...