Jay Avrea

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James Epherium Avrea

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Biographical Information[edit]

Right-handed pitcher Jay Avrea was signed out of high school by the Cincinnati Reds in 1938 and got his first taste of pro ball in the Georgia-Florida League in 1940. He was with both the Cordele Bees and the Jacksonville Tars and won only 2 games while losing 13. He wound up in the United States Navy in World War II. Jay had delivered mail in the offseason and around his tour of duty in the war, so he decided to work for the postal service full-time. But, with hopes of fulfilling his dream of making it to the big leagues, he returned to pro ball.

A dozen years after first signing with the Reds, Avrea broke camp with them at the start of the 1950 season and made a couple of appearances out of the bullpen before rosters needed to be trimmed. He was sent down to the Tulsa Oilers of the Texas League and helped the team to a pennant. He returned to Tulsa in 1951, but went 1-9 and retired from the game. Jay's six-year minor league stint is one to be proud of. He won 52 games and lost 53 with a 3.90 ERA. His first season (2-13) and his last in 1951 (1-9) did not do his record justice.

Avrea later owned and operated a flower shop, Jay's Florists of Wynnewood, for 25 years. The friendly, cigar-smoking Texan founded the Oak Cliff Optimist Little League and served as president of the Texas Old-Timers Professional Baseball Players Association. He was elected to the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame prior to his death on June 26, 1987, at age 66 in Dallas.


Baseball Players of the 1950s

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