Wednesday’s winner is Yonder Alonso, in the closest battle yet; he moves on to face Steve Finley in the Sweet Sixteen.
- Sample, from Roanoke, attended JMU and played for the Turks for three seasons in the mid-1970’s. He was picked in the 10th round of the 1976 draft by the Texas Rangers, and went on to be the first JMU Duke to make the major leagues when he debuted in 1978. The outfielder went on to play for nine years at the game’s highest level; seven of those years with Texas, and one each for the New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves. He was the Rangers’ starting left fielder in 1983, and hit .274/.331/.401 in 554 at-bats, with 28 doubles, three triples, 12 home runs, 57 RBIs, and he finished 5th in the American League with 44 stolen bases. For his career, he hit .272/.329/.384 in 2,516 at-bats, with 27 doubles, nine triples, 46 home runs, and 98 stolen bases. He was inducted into the VBL Hall of Fame in 2018.
- Jay played in Staunton in 2004, while he was a student at Miami. He was picked in the 2nd round of the 2006 MLB draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, and made his MLB debut four years later, on April 26, 2010. After winning the World Series with the Redbirds in 2011, he had his best season in 2012, hitting .305/.373/.400 in 443 at-bats, with 22 doubles, four triples, four home runs, 40 RBIs, 19 stolen bases, and a solid 34/71 BB/K ratio. He was with the Cardinals through 2015, and has bounced around quite a bit since then. In 2016, he played in San Diego; in 2017 in Chicago for the Cubs; in 2018 for both the Kansas City Royals and Arizona Diamondbacks, and back in Chicago (but with the White Sox) in 2019. He signed back with Arizona for 2020, and was 11-27 in Spring Training before the season was halted. Jay is hitting .285/.350/.375 in 3,774 career at-bats.
Vote by going to twitter.com/JohnATVL to vote! (Closes Friday morning)
And by the way, if you want to read much, much more about the 2019 VBL season, be sure to check out the 2019 Valley League Annual!