R.J. Anderson writes about the Tampa Bay Rays for The Process Report and MLB as a whole for Baseball Prospectus and Bloomberg Sports. You can find him on Twitter @r_j_anderson. He writes about first baseman John Jaha.
There are many potential narratives surrounding John Jaha’s major league career. None can do the man justice. The Brewers drafted Jaha in 1984; however, the most Orwellian aspect of his life was the middle name “Emil”—Lime spelled backward. Jaha reached the majors in 1992 following years of toiling in the minors, but not before spending time playing for the Diakyo Dolphins of the Australian Baseball League. The American man (Oregonian, more precisely) who goes down under then brings back the thunder makes for a good movie, however Jaha’s teammate—Dave Nilsson—would likely steal the show. Even casting Jaha as a baseball-playing, walk-taking, home run-hitting robot designed to shut down as Y2K occurred seems a bit dishonest, as he did play, albeit briefly, after the turn of the century. Actually, Jaha had his best individual season in 1999—even garnering an All-Star bid and a Most Valuable Player award vote—and that came after signing with Billy Beane, so perhaps the robot vibe is genuine. Power, burliness, a goatee, and a quick descent from the peak: Jaha is the first baseman of the 90s.