by Charlie Chitwood
If you’re one of the folks around Jefferson and Marion County that knows how to find Batavia, New York on a map, then you’re likely among the many that’s had a conversation about baseball with Johnny or Jackie Braley.
Grandson Taylor Braley, a big-hitting first baseman for the contending Southern Miss baseball team, had his name called by the Miami Marlins in this summer’s Major League Baseball draft. Taylor was picked in the sixth-round by the National League club and was the 179th player taken overall.
Whisked away to the Marlins Gulf Coast League squad, Braley’s professional debut was a perfect inning of relief. With just the one appearance under his belt, it was off to western New York State and a gig with the Batavia Muckdogs.
Braley made it to the short-season A squad in time to pitch in seven games for the Muckdogs, piling up 19-1/3 innings while allowing a dozen hits and six earned runs. The right hander struck out 21 hitters and walked only five while putting together a 2.79 ERA.
Back in Jefferson, Johnny and Jackie have already been through this kind of sports-thing before. Their son Lehman was the center on Jefferson’s 1986 state championship squad, then went on to notoriety as Brett Favre’s center at Southern Miss. Ironically, Favre’s retirement to Mississippi included time working with the Oak Grove High School football team –including two years with Taylor Braley on the team.
The sports world is chock-full of legacy stories like this. It takes having a few more gray hairs to really appreciate them, but the best feeling of all has to belong to Johnny and Jackie. How cool to be you.
Jefferson’s volleyball program has moved into the start of District 16-3A competition and the Lady Bulldogs are getting closer to a breakthrough.
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