One thing you could say about John Jaha is that he could get on base.
He could hit, too, based on his .297/.426/.513 slash line in over 3,100 minor league plate appearances in 13 years in the ‘bushes.’ Jaha had a solid major league career as well, but his 1989 season at Stockton in the California League (A ball) ranked 22nd in our series, Top Hitters in Milwaukee Brewers Minor League History.
#22 John Jaha, 1989 Stockton (A)
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The burly first baseman was a bit older than league average, but earned a few points for playing in a pitcher’s park and pitcher’s league.
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Jaha always batted around.300, but his ability to draw a free pass earned a place on the ‘Top 25 Hitters’ list in the Milwaukee Brewers chain.
The California League was a tough league for hitters, with a league batting average of just .242. The league leader (Ruben Gonzalez) had a relatively low mark of just .308.
‘Jaws’ placed first in walks (112), first in OBP (.422), second in home runs (25), second in RBIs (91), third in slugging (.524), tied for fourth in runs (83), seventh in hits (140), and eighth in batting (.292). All-in-all, a pretty damn good season.
Jaha was named as a California League all-star and was also named league MVP.
Interestingly enough, Jaha played for Stockton again in 1990, as the team moved to the Advanced A league that year, moving up from A ball.
Jaha, who was a 14th round pick of the Brewers in 1984 from Portland (OR) Douglas High School, earned a promotion to Milwaukee during the 1992 campaign. He got called up just before the All-Star break and had 152 plate appearances the final three months of the season. Although he struggled (.226/.291/.308), he made the team the following spring and had a solid season, but it wasn’t until 1996 that the superstar in him shone through.
In 148 games, he slashed .300/.398/.543 and somehow missed out making the American League All-Star squad. He banged 34 homers and knocked in 118 runs in addition to scoring 108 times.
Jaha was limited by injury the next couple years and was released by the Brewers after the 1998 season. Oakland signed him to a minor league contract in early spring training 1999.
That season was a breakout year, as Jaha slashed .276/.414/.556 and earned his only All-Star game designation. His 35 jacks were a career high and he finished his ten year major league stint with 141 home runs.
After two discouraging, injury-plagued seasons, Jaha retired after the 2001 campaign.