Professional baseball player JOHN JASO was born in Chula Vista, but graduated from McKinleyville High School in Northern California in 2001 where he played three years of varsity baseball.
He attended Southwestern College in 2002 and 2003, and he was selected Most Valuable Player in 2003. He signed to attend the University of SanDiego, but decided on a professional career, signing with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
John made his way through the minor leagues from 2003 to 2009, playingfor the Hudson Valley (NY) Renegades, the Southwest Michigan Devil Rays, the Visalia (CA) Oaks, and the Montgomery (AL) Biscuits. He was selected to All-Star teams five times and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays signed him to a contract on November 20, 2007. He made his major league debut on September 6, 2008 with Tampa Bay.
Throughout his illustrious career, John has contributed to the success of his teams as a catcher, first baseman and as a designated hitter, demonstrating his value as a complete player both on the field and as a left handed hitter at the plate. Notably, he has participated in baseball’s playoffs in 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014. One memorable highlight of John’s career occurred on August 12, 2012. As a member of the Seattle Mariners, he caught Mariner teammate Felix Hernandez’s perfect game against his former team, the Tampa Bay Rays.
In 2015, he returned to Florida to play for the Tampa Bay Rays a second time. On September 28, 2016, as a Pittsburgh Pirate, John experienced another career highlight when he hit for the cycle (single, double, triple and home run)—the first in the history of the Pirates’ PNC Park. John didn’t even realize what had happened until he had already performed the feat. “It didn’t really dawn on me until I was standing on third base,” he said. “I was looking at third base coach Rick Sofield and it finally just hit me. It’s just a great memory to have. You really don’t want to take this blessing for granted being here.” The bat that he used is enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. John Jaso became only the second player in Major League History to hit for the cycle and catch a perfect game, joining Hall of Famer Ray Schalk who did so in 1922.
Family and community are important to John. Members of his proud supportive family include his mother, Annie Bajo, his father, Greg Jaso, and his girlfriend, Miranda Rossi. As a part of his community involvement projects, he made volunteer appearances at the Children’s Hospitals in St. Petersburg and Pittsburgh delivering toys and joy to the young patients there. Along with his teammates, he also collected and distributed food
to needy families at Christmas time.
John’s best memory of his Southwestern College days was working mega hours at Coach Jerry Bartow’s (Number 40) favorite and infamous fundraising project, the Christmas Tree Lot, located where the new Southwestern College Wellness and Aquatics Complex currently stands on the corner of Otay Lakes Road and East H Street.
John Jaso, in recognition of your many outstanding contributions to professional baseball, Southwestern College celebrates your achievements and welcomes you into its Athletic Hall of Fame, Class of 2018.