’Cane Sees World Series Win

When Jon Jay, ’08, came to the University of Miami in 2003, his only dreams were to please his parents by getting a college degree and to please himself by playing baseball for his hometown ’Canes.

Last year, reality far outran his dreams. In his first full year as a St. Louis Cardinal, the Miami native became the starting centerfielder on a team that would become Major League Baseball’s surprise World Series champions.

The victory came with a trip to the White House. “Meeting the president, playing in and winning the World Series—I still can’t believe it,” Jay says from his Miami home before the start of spring training camp. “It has been so much fun. All I can think of is, let’s do it again.”

Now 27, the Christopher Columbus High School graduate played in 159 games last season, more than any other Cardinal, hitting .295. His team snuck into the playoffs after the Atlanta Braves lost to the Phillies on the last day of the season, giving the Cardinals the National League wild card. “We all went crazy when the Phillies won,” recalls Jay. “We knew we had a chance.”

They beat the Philadelphia Phillies and the Milwaukee Brewers before taking the series in seven games against the Texas Rangers. Jay proved integral to his team’s miraculous game-six comeback, scoring the 10th inning’s tying run.

During the off-season, Jay sponsored a celebrity bowling tournament for his family’s favorite charity, the Chapman Partnership, which provides services to homeless men, women, and children. Former ’Cane teammate Gaby Sanchez, ’05, along with a dozen other major leaguers such as Gio Gonzalez, John Mayberry, and Drew Storen, as well as Miami Heat forward Chris Bosh attended the affair, which raised $25,000.

“My family always taught me to give back to the community, and that was something we practiced in college too,” says Jay.

Even though he’s returning to the diamond with another World Series win on his mind, Jay can’t give up his old Miami dream. “I owe so much to my family and the teammates and coaches I had at the University, so I know I will eventually come back and finish my degree,” he says, just a few courses shy of his business diploma. “But right now, we are excited about 2012.”

Robert Strauss