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Saturday, May 11, 2024

Jayhawk Owens got his majors chance: Baseball Profiles

Jayhawk Owens 1990 Kenosha Twins card

After three seasons in the Twins system, catcher Jayhawk Owens had made AA. He'd also done enough to catch the eye of the fledgling Colorado Rockies, who took him in the first round of the 1992 expansion draft.

"I guess I'll have a chance to get to the big leagues quicker now, and I'm pretty excited about it," Owens told The Daily Murfreesboro News-Journal.

Owens did make the majors and he did make it pretty quickly after that, that next June. He ultimately saw time in four major league seasons, including a 73-game campaign in 1996.

Owens' career began in 1990, taken by the Twins in the second round of the draft out Middle Tennessee State University.

Ahead of the draft, Owens spoke to The Memphis Commercial-Appeal about learning the catcher's position, having spent his first full college season there.

"I learn stuff about catching every game I catch," Owens told The Commercial-Appeal. I don't think you'll ever learn it all because it's so complex."

Owens started with the Twins at single-A Kenosha. He got into 66 games and hit .236. He moved to high-A Visalia for 1991, then AA Orlando for 1992. He hit .267 in 102 games at Orlando.

Then came his move to the Rockies. Owens had actually been known as Jay Owens to that point. But Denver media keyed on his full name, Claude Jayhawk Owens and Owens started to be known as Jayhawk, a name based on his Native American heritage, Scripps Howard News Service wrote.

Owens saw 33 games with the Rockies that year and hit .209. He saw six more in 1994 and 18 in 1995. 

Going into 1996, though, Colorado traded away starting catcher Joe Girardi leaving Owens as the presumptive starter, The Tucson Citizen wrote.

"Some of the guys had said it was going to happen," Owens told The Citizen that February. "It was very exciting. It put me to the level I've been trying to get to. Before, I've been trying to stay up and survive."

Owens then got into his 73 games that year and hit .239. That season, however, ended up being his last.

Owens saw time in three more seasons in the minors. He last played for the Reds at AAA Indianapolis and AA Chattanooga in 1999.

Owens then turned minor league coach and manager. He's last credited as managing at AA Chattanooga in 2007.

Jayhawk Owens 1990 Kenosha Twins card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,366
Made the Majors:1,407-32.2%-X
Never Made Majors:2,959-67.8%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:573
10+ Seasons in the Minors:354

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