Washington Nationals First Base Coach Jerry Morales was born Julio Ruben (Torres) Morales on February 18, 1949 in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. The New York Mets signed the 5'10'' 175 lb outfielder, Jerry Morales, as an Amateur free agent seventeen years later on June, 23, 1966.
In four Minor League seasons, starting with Morales' rookie campaign in the Appalachian League with the Marion Mets, New York's rookie affiliate out of Marion, Virginia, and followed by three years with the Class-A Mets' affiliates in Winter Haven, FL, Visalia, CA, and Raleigh/Durham, NC, Jerry Morales had a combined .260 batting average, with 35 doubles, 19 triples, 16 HR's and 121 RBI's, drawing enough attention that the San Diego Padres selected the then-twenty year-old outfielder with the sixteenth pick of the expansion draft of 1968.
Morales debuted with the Padres late in the 1969 season, on September 5th, in front of 9,753 fans in a game at home in San Diego Stadium against the Los Angeles Dodgers, coming on as a pinch runner for left fielder Al Ferrara. Four years later, after Morales' second full season in San Diego, in which he hit .281 with 9 HR's and 34 RBI's in 122 games, the Padres traded the twenty-four year-old outfielder to the Chicago Cubs for infielders Glenn Beckert and Bobby Fenwick...
...(for the Chicago Cubs portion of the Jerry Morales story, I'll turn you over to Al Yellon, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Bleed Cubbie Blue (http://www.bleedcubbieblue.com/), an SBN Chicago Cubs site, and his post from November 18, 2006, entitled, "The Top 100 Cubs Of All Time - #92 Jerry Morales" in which Mr. Yellon recounts Mr. Morales' history in Chicago...
(ed. note- also note the dangers of Googling info on baseball players, resulting in our startingly similar opening paragraphs.)
...Jerry Morales played his last Major League game on September 28, 1983, completing 15 MLB seasons in which Morales hit for a .259 career BA, with 95 HR's and 570 RBI's for the Padres, Cubs, Cardinals, Tigers, and Mets, before returning to Chicago in 1981 and finishing his career with the Cubs three seasons later.
...Jerry Morales history with the Washington Nationals organization begins in 2002, when Morales started three seasons as the Montreal Expos First Base and Outfield Coach under Manager Frank Robinson, at the same time Manny Acta served as Expos Third Base Coach.
Washington Nationals Manager Manny Acta introduced Jerry Morales as his first base coach in November of 2006. After the end of his playing days, and before joining the Montreal/Washington franchise, Morales, according to washington.nationals.mlb.com:
"...served as CHI's roving minor-league hitting and
outfield instructor from 1984-86...scouted Puerto Rico for
LAD from 1987-90...coached Rookie ball in NYM's system
in 2006...coached in the Puerto Rican Winter League from
1986-2002, working for Caguas, San Juan, Santurce and
Carolina...enjoyed 2-year stint as San Juan manager from
1999-2000...returned to Caguas as a coach during the
2005-06 winter league."
Jerry Morales is credited, in the profile, with strongly influencing the defensive play of outfielders Vladimir Guerrero and Brad Wilkerson during the years each spent under his tutelage with the Expos.
Entering his year thirty-ninth year in baseball, wearing #28 on the back of his Nationals' jersey, the 60 year-old Morales will be back in the coach's box off first base when the Nationals begin play in their new park in April. I wonder how many of the young Washington players know who they're handing their batting gloves to?
*Jerry Morales Links*
washington.nationals.mlb.com's profile of Jerry Morales:
Boxscore of Jerry Morales' debut on September 5, 1969 against the Los Angeles Dodgers, at baseball-reference.com:
Jerry Morales' stats at thebaseballcube.com:
Jerry Morales' stats at baseball-reference.com: