Jay Kleven

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Jay Allen Kleven

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Biographical Information[edit]

Catcher Jay Kleven was a graduate of San Lorenzo High School and Cal State Hayward. He was a member of the all-Far Western Conference team as a senior, batting .362. After college, he was signed by the New York Mets as an amateur free agent in October 1971. He turned pro in 1972.

Kleven was a good defender but a light hitter in the minors. However, he got two hits against the New York Yankees in the Mayor's Trophy Game in June 1976 and caught manager Joe Frazier's eye (Frazier was quite familiar with Kleven, having managed him for three seasons in the minors). Shortly thereafter, Jay was called up to replace backup catcher Ron Hodges, who had a split fingertip on his throwing hand.

Kleven got into two games during his cup of coffee with the Mets, going 1 for 5. His lone hit was a two-run single at Wrigley Field on June 27th off Bruce Sutter of the Chicago Cubs. Jay played his last pro season in 1977. He went from New York's Triple-A club, the Tidewater Tides, to the top affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, the Indianapolis Indians. He turned down an opportunity to become a player-coach for Cincinnati's Double-A team, Nashville, in 1978

After retiring from baseball, Kleven worked for a trucking company for 10 years. He then became an educator. At the time of his sudden passing, he was working as a teacher for the San Lorenzo School District.

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