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Gregory Dion Jelks
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 190 lb.
- School Gadsden State Community College
- High School Cherokee (AL) High School
- Debut August 20, 1987
- Final Game October 3, 1987
- Born August 16, 1961 in Centre, AL USA
- Died January 6, 2017 in Sydney, New South Wales Australia
Infielder Greg Jelks was signed as a non-drafted free agent by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1981. The following summer, he made his professional debut with the Bend Phillies of the Northwest League. In his second professional season, Jelks hit 24 home runs with 75 RBI for the Single A Spartanburg Spinners of the South Atlantic League. In 1987 Jelks appeared in 123 Triple A games for the Maine Guides of the International League, where he hit 23 home runs with 79 RBI. That summer, Jelks was promoted to Philadelphia for 10 games, where he got his only major league hit, a double off Montreal Expos pitcher Neal Heaton.
Jelks became a free agent in 1989 and was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals, who assigned him to the Louisville Redbirds of the American Association. Over the course of eight minor league seasons, Jelks totaled 771 games, 96 home runs, 361 RBI, and a batting average of .245.
During the 1990s, Jelks played professionally in Italy and Australia. He set up residence in Perth, Australia, where he earned dual citizenship. He played on his new homeland's national team from 1997 to 1999 and was an assistant coach for the Australian national team in the 2006 World Baseball Classic. In the 1997 Intercontinental Cup, Greg batted .471/.538/1.088 with 10 runs scored, 6 homers and 12 RBI in 9 games to help Australia win a Medal (Bronze) for the first time ever in a global event. He was second in average in the event behind Paul Gonzalez, tied Orestes Kindelan for the home run lead, tied Gonzalez and Andrew Scott for 2nd in hits (16, 2 behind Jason Tyner) and was 4th in RBI. He was named to the All-Tournament team at DH though Gonzalez won MVP honors. Jelks hit .278/.395/.389 as the regular left fielder for Australia in the 1998 Baseball World Cup.
Jelks coached for Australia in the 2000 Olympics, 2001 Baseball World Cup and 2006 World Baseball Classic.
In 2002, Jelks began his professional managerial career when he took the helm of the Evansville Otters of the independent Frontier League. He led the Otters to a league championship in 2006. The following season, he was hired to manage the loop's fledgling expansion team, the Slippery Rock Sliders. The Sliders were a concept team, building off a unique relationship with Slippery Rock University. Following a year of poor fan reception and a last-place finish, the Slippery Rock Sliders folded and the franchise became the Midwest Sliders, a traveling team in the league's Eastern Division. Jelks was hired by the Washington Wild Things the following December, and began the 2008 season managing his third Frontier League franchise.
Jelks' brother, Pat Jelks, was an outfielder in the Boston Red Sox (1982-1986) and San Diego Padres (1988) organizations.
He died suddenly in January of 2017, when he fell asleep on a plane traveling back from Alabama, where he had visited his aging mother over the holidays, to Australia, and never woke up. His death was confirmed after the plane landed in Sydney. At the time, he was the manager of the Carine Cats, in Western Australia's state league. He was posthumously inducted into the Baseball Australia Hall of Fame in 2022.
Year-By-Year Minor League Managerial Record
|2002||Evansville Otters||Frontier League||33-51||11th||Independent|
|2003||Evansville Otters||Frontier League||51-37||3rd||Independent||Lost League Finals|
|2004||Evansville Otters||Frontier League||54-42||4th||Independent||Lost League Finals|
|2005||Evansville Otters||Frontier League||52-43||5th||Independent|
|2006||Evansville Otters||Frontier League||46-50||6th||Independent||League Champs|
|2007||Slippery Rock Sliders||Frontier League||29-66||12th||Independent|
|2008||Washington Wild Things||Frontier League||48-48||6th (t)||Independent|
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