This is an act that we’re going to usually reserve for every January. But in this case we will make a special exception. Jay Bruce admittedly isn’t having the season that he thought he would, although he urges his fans to believe in him and that he’ll be fine. It’s good to hear that from a player. That he knows that while there have been some rough roads, at the end of the day he knows that he is the caliber of player to make it in the big leagues.
Jay Bruce is the Godfather of Diamond Hoggers. When fellow DH HOF’er Adam Dunn was traded last August he took over that post as top dog. We’re hoping that this post brings him a little bit of luck in some small way. We think it could be just the medicine. So while we always thought that we’d wait until years down the road to induct him into our Hall of Fame, that day has arrived.
So without further adieu, we’d like to welcome our favorite player in baseball, ‘The Deal’ Jay Bruce into the Diamond Hoggers Hall of Fame. Jay becomes the 4th member and only the second active player (Dunn) to be inducted.
I guess we should start with why Mr. Bruce is getting this special treatment. Why he is worthy at such a young age with so much still ahead of him.
First off, we don’t think there is a guy who plays with more heart in all of baseball. The way that Bruce hustles day in and day out regardless of the score screams ‘gamer’ at you. We think back to when he made his debut in the big leagues. On our drive to the game that night there were several ex-Major Leaguers chatting it up on the radio who were asked what kind of player Jay Bruce was going to be as a pro.
Bruce was described as the type of guy you’d want in your ‘fox hole’ with you through the battles of a 162-game big league season. He was described as a guy who despite what was going on in the personal life for the next 15 to 20 seasons; would come out for 9 innings and give you everything he had emotionally, physically, and mentally to beat the guys in the other dugout. When we heard that we knew that Jay was going to be the type of guy who we’d have no problem calling our favorite player.
You need warriors on your team to ever get anywhere in this league. That’s what Jay Bruce is. Baseball players are people too. They’ve got personalities and despite being great hitters or pitchers, they’re not always good people. After seeing the way that Bruce treats the fans of baseball and kids for the past year; and also hearing stories, this guy is everything that the game of baseball should be about.
It’s funny because we’ve always wondered what makes a player be bad to the fans. What makes him come out of the clubhouse and snarl at little kids that have possibly waited their whole life to see him play. It’s something we never understood. And they’d probably say you have to walk in their shoes to understand it. We disagree. If we were Major Leaguers, we’d understand that signing autographs until our hand fell off is something that comes with the territory. And we’d delight in it just like Jay Bruce does.
We believe aside from the mental makeup of ‘The Deal’ that he’s going to have a special career with the bat as well. It’s as if the Great American Ball Park was built for him; and not Ken Griffey Jr., when you see Bruce launch a home run into the right field stands into those seats. That sea of Red comprised of those same people that sit out there for 9 innings and go nuts with ‘Bruuuuuuce’ chants sitting behind where he plays in the outfield. We think that Bruce has the ability to hit over 500 big league home runs and be a perennial All-Star who will give you anywhere from 35-45 home runs a season and a .280 average, eventually topping out around the .300 mark in his best years.
Then back into play comes the hustle. The way he plays right field. It is as if the position was created for him. He’s got a howitzer for an arm, almost daring anyone to challenge him for an extra base. He could knock a penny off a thumb tack from deep right field on the fly or on a hop. He plays right field like an old-time ballplayer. Too many guys in the present era of baseball do not play the outfield well. Bruce is a near Gold Glove quality outfielder.
Jay Bruce is the type of player we are proud to say represents what the Diamond Hoggers Hall of Fame is all about. Integrity, hustle, ability, kind to the fans, appreciates the history of the game; but most of all there’s one thing we love about him. He is a nice guy for sure; but when he is between the white lines you can tell he’s there to beat your ass. That’s the kind of guys we loved having in our dugout. That’s the kind of guys we love to root for and watch now.
Jay, welcome to the Hall.