Jesse Alan Crain
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 205 lb.
- School University of Houston, San Jacinto Junior College
- High School Fairview High School (Boulder, CO)
- Debut August 5, 2004
- Final Game June 29, 2013
- Born July 5, 1981 in Toronto, ON CAN
A reliever in ten big league seasons, Jesse Crain saved his best work for last, making the American League All-Star team in 2013 on the strength of a filthy good season with the Chicago White Sox. He is perhaps the only pitcher to have played his final game before getting the nod, succumbing to a right shoulder strain after pitching on June 29th, weeks prior to the All-Star Game, then never pitching again.
Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Crain grew up in Colorado. After beginning college at San Jacinto Junior College, he transferred to the University of Houston and was later chosen by the Minnesota Twins in the second round of the 2002 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Marty Esposito and began his career that summer with the Elizabethton Twins, going 2-1 with a 0.57 ERA and 2 saves in 9 games before being promoted to the Quad Cities River Bandits in August. With the River Bandits, he went 1-1 with a 1.50 ERA and a save in 9 outings. Crain started 2003 with the Fort Myers Miracle and was promoted to the AA New Britain Rock Cats in early May. After going 1-1 with a 0.69 ERA and 9 saves in 22 games, he advanced to AAA in July with the Rochester Red Wings, for whom he saved 10 games. He began the following season back with the Red Wings, and, after saving 19 games, was promoted to the Twins in August.
Jesse ended his first big league look with a tantalizing 3-0, 2.00 record in 22 games, recording his first win against the Texas Rangers on September 1, 2004. He made the Twins Opening Day roster in 2005 and won his first 8 decisions that year. He recorded his first big league save on July 10th against the Kansas City Royals and ended the season with another strong line at 12-5, 2.71 in 75 games, despite striking out only 25 batters (with 29 walks) in 79 2/3 innings. After pitching for Team Canada in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, he put together another solid season in the Minnesota bullpen, going 4-5 with a 3.52 ERA and a save in 68 appearances, pumping up his strikeout total to 60 in 76 2/3 innings in 2006. He was limited to just 18 games the next year, 2007, due to a torn rotator cuff (1-2, 5.51) but he bounced back in 2008 with a 5-4, 3.59 line in 66 outings as more of a righty specialist. Crain again represented Canada in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He struck out all four batters he faced in the 8th and 9th innings, with 90-plus mph pitches, but Canada lost to Italy. He had a difficult start to the season with the Twins that year, posting an 8.15 ERA in 23 games before being sent to the minors for about a month. He was back for the late-season push to attempt to catch the Detroit Tigers atop the AL Central and went 5-0 with a 2.93 ERA in his last 30 appearances, combining for a 7-4, 4.40 in 56 games. Back to his regular form in 2010, he went 1-1 with a 3.04 ERA and a save in 71 games, striking out 62 in 68 innings.
Following the season, Crain became a free agent and signed a three-year deal with the Chicago White Sox. The Sox more than got their money's worth, even if they were not particularly competitive, as he was solid all three seasons. In 2011, he went 8-3, 2.62 with a career best 70 strikeouts in 67 games. He piggybacked off that with a 2-3, 2.44 and 60 strikeouts in 51 games in 2012. He was damn near unhittable early in the 2013 season, going 2-3 with an 0.74 ERA in 38 games until the end of June. From April 17th to June 22nd, he enjoyed a streak of 29 straight scoreless appearances. He was named to the All-Star team for the first time but unable to participate due to a right shoulder strain. With the Sox in last place, Jesse was traded to the contending Tampa Bay Rays for future considerations on July 29th. He never did come back. He became a free agent and, on December 31st, signed a deal with the Houston Astros, spending the entirety of 2014 on the 60-day injured list. An attempt to come back in the White Sox system in 2015 bore no fruit, done just as he was kicking his career into high gear.
- AL All-Star (2013)