Baseball Mixed with Hint Of Jazz

Introduction

Over the past few decades, baseball in South Florida has been searching desperately for its own unique identity. Fans have seen periods of both success and failure. The majority are getting tired of waiting for a dynasty to be sustained. The Florida/Miami Marlins have seen their share of superstar-quality players, but team officials have never been able to keep them on-board long-term. However, that may finally be changing.

After having lost such elite talent as Gary Sheffield; Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez; Miguel Cabrera; and Giancarlo Stanton, the team was recently able to acquire arguably the best infield prospect of this generation. After yet another fire sale that saw outfielder Marcell Ozuna shipped to the St. Louis Cardinals, the Marlins got back a young pitcher named Zac Gallen. It seemed like another drought, until Gallen was quickly flipped to the Arizona Diamondbacks for a then-unknown middle infielder named Jazz Chisholm Jr.

A native of the Bahamas, and just the eighth Bahamian to ever play Major League Baseball, Jasrado Prince Hermis Arrington Chisholm Jr. was essentially making a homecoming in Florida. He seemed to have all the tools and skill set necessary to become a true superstar for a long time.

Early Years of Jazz

As young as two years old, it was his grandmother, Patricia Coakley, who first introduced young Jazz to the game of baseball. Herself an active participant, Coakley was the primary shortstop for the Bahamian national softball team. From there, Jazz Jr. crossed international borders into the United States when he was only 12 years old. He ended up settling in Wichita, Kansas, where he attended high school at Life Prep Academy.

Jazz Turns Pro

After finishing his amateur career, Jazz Chisholm Jr. returned home to his native Bahamas, and signed his first professional contract as an international free agent with the Arizona Diamondbacks in the summer of 2015. He even spent the 2017 World Baseball Classic, representing Great Britain. Jazz ended up being the fifth-best prospect in the Diamondbacks organization, and he was hungry to build on that.

Just two years later came Jazz’s big break. He was traded to the Miami Marlins straight-up for young starting pitching prospect Zac Gallen. That’s when his career really took flight. Shortly after returning back East, he dominated the winter league’s Roberto Clemente League in Puerto Rico.

Making a Household Name For Himself

Jazz Chisholm – BR Bullpen (baseball-reference.com)

As we all know, the year 2020 was not at all an easy one to endure. The coronavirus pandemic temporarily put virtually all aspects of a normal daily life on hold. Major League Baseball was no exception, with its beginning delayed until mid to late July. There was even a brief period akin to a second Spring Training, due to the long layoff.

Barely a year after the Marlins acquired him, those closest to the team were starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. The past few seasons were not as pleasant, due to a lengthy rebuild. However, 2020 seemed to be the dawn of a new era.

On September 1 of that year, an unheralded phenom finally got the call all young baseball players covet. Infielder Jazz Chisholm Jr. was all set to make his MLB debut versus the Toronto Blue Jays. Jazz only appeared defensively, but he would get his first at-bat the very next day.

Wearing No. 70 on his uniform, he followed former outfielder Antoan Richardson as just the seventh MLB player to hail from the Bahamas. Unfortunately, Jazz didn’t record his first hit until September 6 versus the Tampa Bay Rays. On the bright side, he was the fourth-best Marlins prospect when he first came up.

Legacy Cemented

Marlins calling on Chisholm for MLB debut (milb.com)

Having spent most of his early years at shortstop, he was shifted to second base upon his establishment as a Major League regular. Heading into Spring Training in 2021, Jazz Chisholm Jr. decided to change the number on his back. His choice clearly was influenced by the man signing his paycheck at the time, as he wore Derek Jeter’s one-time Yankee No. 2.

The small jersey modification really catapulted the young star’s career, as he hit his first MLB home run on April 6 against the Mets’ Jacob deGrom. Not only that, but his three-run blast proved to be the game-winner in a shutout.

Despite the new digit on his back, Jazz actually made another alternation ahead of the 2021 season. He also dyed his hair blue to show his full commitment and loyalty to the Marlins organization. Jazz Chisholm Jr. truly made his mark that season, and initially seemed like he would run away with Rookie Of The Year honors. However, his stats came back to Earth, and he suffered injuries in the second half, but he still clearly was one of the top young performers in MLB.

Unique Personality Becomes Fan Favorite

After bursting onto the scene in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, Jazz Chisholm Jr. seemed to carve out a true niche for himself in South Florida. He always maintains a positive demeanor, and also has a flare for the dramatic. Not only have locals embraced him, but he has become known nationwide because of all he brings to the table.

Jazz never fails to entertain, whether it’s with the different hairstyles and colors that he dons, or even his multiple colorful headbands that he wears. A fleeting fan base for many years, the Miami Marlins found exactly what they needed to bring some energy to the ballpark every day and night.

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