Jay Heard

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Jehosie "Jay" Heard (born January 17, 1920 in Athens, Georgia; died November 18, 1999 in Birmingham) was a Birmingham Black Barons left-handed pitcher who spent a month with the Major League Baltimore Orioles in 1954.

Heard served in the U.S. Army during World War II. After the war he moved to Birmingham and played for the 1946, 1947, and 1948 Birmingham Black Barons. After leaving Birmingham and segregated baseball he played for the Victoria Tyrees of the Western International League, winning 20 games, and the Portland Beavers of the AAA Pacific Coast League, where he picked up another 16 wins.

On December 16, 1953 Heard's contract was picked up by the Orioles, who had let star pitcher Satchel Paige out of his contract before moving to Baltimore from St Louis. Instead of the Hall-of-Fame Paige, Baltimore made Heard their first African American player. Heard, wearing jersey number 38, pitched twice in relief against the Chicago White Sox. In his April 24 debut he retired all four batters he faced. In his second appearance, however, on May 28, he allowed 5 runs off 6 hits in two innings, including a Cass Michaels grand slam. He was soon traded back to Portland for right-hander Bob Alexander.

Heard returned to the Beavers for one season, then moved on to the Charleston Senators of the AAA American Association. He returned to the Pacific Coast League during the 1955 season with the Seattle Rainiers, and moved on to the Tulsa Oilers of the AA Texas League before the end of the year. In 1956 he moved to the AAA International League Havana Sugar Kings, and played two seasons there before hanging up his glove.

Heard died in 1999 in Birmingham and is buried at New Grace Hill Cemetery.

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