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Friday, September 16, 2022

Jeff Gay returned to pros and found new start at single-A Reno; He saw six seasons, made AA

A one-time second round pick, Jeff Gay soon found himself in a backup role at single-A Quad City. By early 1988, his third season, he'd had enough and went home, The Moline Dispatch wrote later. 

But, after speaking with others, Gay got to go back. He also soon got a new start in the organization, at single-A co-op Reno, The Dispatch wrote.

"I have to tell you, I had the best time I've ever had out there," Gay told The Dispatch at the start of 1990. "I had a good time and it was a learning experience. I'm kind of glad I went there."

Gay eventually saw three more seasons after his return. He gained enough traction to make AA, but he couldn't make it higher.

Gay's career began in 1986, taken by the Angels in the second round out of Santana High School in California.

At Santana, Gay hit .540 his senior year and went 8 for 11 in the playoffs, enough for the Angels to take him 50th overall. The Angels, The Los Angeles Times wrote, were happy to get him.

"He was in the right place at the right time," Angels Southern California scout Rick Ingalls told The Times then, "and hopefully, two to three years down the road, he will be our catcher."

Gay started with the Angels at short-season Salem. He hit .278, with three home runs in 48 games. 

He then played 63 games at Quad City in 1987 and two at Salem, in a backup role

After starting 1988 again as a backup, he went home and then returned. Soon after, he arrived in Reno, he knocked in an early July game-winner on a single.

"I haven't been swinging the bat real well," Gay told The Reno Gazette-Journal afterward. "But I got a pitch I could hit, and got the head of the bat around."

Gay saw 45 games overall that year and hit .252. He then played 1989 at single-A Palm Springs. He hit .279 in 73 games there. He returned to Quad City for 1990 and hit .241 in 81 games.

For 1991, he moved to the White Sox system. He saw 16 games at high-A Sarasota and 26 at AA Birmingham. He hit .172 on the year to end his career.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,028
Made the Majors:1,339-33.2%
Never Made Majors:2,689-66.8%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:547
10+ Seasons in the Minors:332

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