Sunday, June 5, 2011
#391) CHRIS JELIC
Chris Jelic came to the New York Mets when he was traded from the Kansas City Royals along with David Cone in exchange for Ed Hearn, Rick Anderson, and Mauro Gozzo on March 27, 1987. The talented athlete from Pennsylvania had previously been a member of both the football and baseball programs at the University of Pittsburgh. The quarterback played in two bowl games for Pitt and was the baseball team's MVP, as well as an All-Big East and NCAA all-district selection. His father, Ralph Jelic was a two-time bowl champion, while his mother, Cynthia was 1959's Women's Athlete of the Year at Pitt.
Jelic started his professional baseball career as a catcher, but began to also include outfield duties while with the Double-A Jackson Mets in 1987. He would help the club at first base and third base a couple seasons later. Chris was part of a record-setting contest for Jackson on July 15, 1988. The Mets and their opponent, the San Antonio Missions were locked in a scoreless tie following 25 innings of play. A seven hour and 10 minute game that was suspended at 2:30 AM for fear the exhausted players might be injured. Jelic amazingly caught every inning of the longest scoreless game in Texas League history which ultimately ended with a Missions win in the 26th inning once resumed.
After he hit for a fine .306 batting average with the Triple-A Tidewater club, the Mets chose to promote Chris to New York at the close of the 1990 campaign. Jelic was added to the big-league roster following catcher Barry Lyons release on September 4th. Chris finally made his major-league debut as a pinch-hitter at Shea Stadium on September 30th, and then remained in the game as the left fielder.
Jelic did not enter another contest until the Mets closed the year with a three-game series in Pittsburgh. Chris returned to his hometown as the starting left fielder in each of these. New York split the first two games, and was leading 4-3 in the series finale. However, Jelic had been unable to record his first major-league hit in the 10 at-bats of his short career. Leading off the 8th-inning he deposited a Doug Bair pitch over the left field wall for a solo home run. "The last game, my last at-bat, in my hometown—you couldn't write a better script than that." Jelic said after the game.
The Mets released Chris Jelic on November 13, 1990. He would join the San Diego Padres organization the next year, but his four games in New York were his only time in the major-leagues.
I created Chris Jelic's card in the set from a signed index card given to me by my friend, Jessie on June 5, 2011.