Pittsburgh Pirates All-Time Top 100: 76. Jason Bay

Jason Bay, a 6'2" left fielder, from Trail, British Columbia, played four seasons of college baseball with Gonzaga University from 1996-99. He was initially selected in the 22nd round of the 2000 amateur draft by the Montreal Expos. His first assignment was with the Vermont Expos of the "A-" level New York Penn League, where he hit .304 through 35 games. He spent 2001 split between two single "A" level teams, the Clinton Lumber Kings of the "A" level Midwest League (.362 average, 87 games) and the "A+" level Jupiter Hammerheads, in the Florida State League (38 games, .195). Prior to the 2002 season, the Expos sent him along with Jimmy Serrano to the New York Mets for Lou Collier. He hit .272 over 69 games with the FSL's St. Lucie Mets, then later with the "AA" level Eastern League Binghampton Mets, he hit .290 in 34 contests. He was traded to the San Diego Padres with Josh Reynolds and Bobby Jones for Jason Middlebrook and Steve Reed. He hit .309 in 23 games for the Mobile Bay Bears in the Southern League to close out the season.

2003 would see Bay promoted to the "AAA" level for San Diego, hitting .303 over 91 games with the Pacific Coast League Portland Beavers. He also appeared in three games with the Padres, going 2-for-8 with a home run and two RBI. San Diego sent him with Oliver Perez and Corey Stewart (as the player to be named later) for Brian Giles. He spent four games with the Nashville Sounds before joining the Pirates for 27 games starting near the end of August.

Pittsburgh liked putting him fifth, sixth, and seventh in the lineup out of left field. His best game of the season came on September 19th in game one of a doubleheader against the Chicago Cubs. He went 3-for-4 with a double and two home runs, including a grand slam, to total eight RBI for the game. Despite his heroics, the Pirates lost the game, 10-9. The Pirates went 75-87, 13 games behind the NL Central winning Cubs.

In 2004, nobody could ignore Jason Bay. He hit .282 with 24 doubles, 26 home runs and 82 RBI over 120 games. He won the NL Rookie of the Year Award with a 91% share, well ahead of second place finisher Khalil Greene of the Padres. He had multiple hits 33 times, including a 4-for-5 effort with three doubles, a home run, and eight RBI in a 13-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers on July 2nd. Later, he went for 4-for-6 in an 8-6, 11 inning victory on August 11th over the San Francisco Giants. He scored twice and hit a home run, collecting four RBI on the night. Pittsburgh liked him in left field, and he hit between third and sixth in the order. The Pirates finished five games ahead of last place Milwaukee in the NL Central, at 72-89.

2005 would see Bay improve on his already impressive offensive output. He batted mostly third out of left field (although he also occasionally batted cleanup). He played in all 162 games, and finished in the NL top ten in almost every offensive category, including his 21-for-22 stolen base record, 183 hits, 44 doubles, 32 home runs, 101 RBI, 95 walks, and a .308 batting average. He was rewarded with his first all-star selection, and also finished 12th in the NL MVP vote. His best game may have been on June 26th, when he went 3-for-4 with a double, two home runs, and four RBI in a 5-4, 10-inning win over the St. Louis Cardinals. Despite Bay's continued heroics, the Pirates finished dead last in the NL Central, at 67-95.

In 2006, Bay made his second all-star team and finished 23rd in the NL MVP vote. Even though his average dropped to .286, he still hit 35 home runs with 109 RBI, walking 102 times. He was ninth in the NL with a .396 OBP, batting cleanup and playing in left field most of the season. On May 27th, the went 3-for-7 with two walks, a home run and four RBI in an 8-7, 18-inning victory over the Houston Astros. At 67-95, Pittsburgh managed to avoid last place by one game, over the Cubs.

Bay's output dropped off in 2007. In 145 games he hit .247 with 21 home runs and 84 RBI. He batted between third and sixth in the order out of left field (with one appearance as DH). On April 18th, he went 3-for-3 with a walk and an RBI with a double, a triple, and a home run as the Pirates lost a 7-3 game to the Brewers. Pittsburgh was last in the NL Central at 68-94, four games behind the fifth place Reds.

In 2008, Bay looked to be picking it up again, batting .282 in 106 contests with 22 home runs and 64 RBI. In a 5-4, 14-inning win over the Cubs on May 24th, he went 4-for-6 with two runs, a stolen base, a walk, a home run and three RBI. On July 31st, the Pirates sent him as part of a three team trade to the Boston Red Sox. He would finish out the season and the next in Beantown, racking up 45 home runs and 156 RBI while hitting .274 through 200 contests. In 2009, he made his third all-star team and won his first Silver Slugger award, finishing seventh in the AL MVP vote. Bay has spent the last three season with the New York Mets, hitting .234 with 26 home runs and 124 RBI over 288 games. He recently signed a free agent contract to play with the Seattle Mariners. Bay is a three-time Tip O'Neill Award winner as the best Canadian athlete. All-Time Statline: Six seasons, 719 games, .281/.375/.515, 729-for-2590, 435 runs, 151 doubles, 18 triples, 139 home runs, 452 RBI, 50 stolen bases, 374 walks, 682 strikeouts, 13.8 wins above replacement.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editor (Charlie) or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.

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