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Cleveland legend Jerry Sands still making plays in Japan


For one magical week in 2015, Gerald “Jerry” Robert Sands dominated Cleveland baseball.

On April 11, 2015, the 27-year-old journeyman with fewer than 300 plate appearances under his belt made his debut with his third team in four years. It was his first major league appearance in over a year, and he didn’t let it go to waste, leading his new team with a pair of doubles and four runs batted in. He gave Cleveland the lead in the sixth with a double off of David Price, who had yet to start declining.

Cleveland ultimately lost the game, but it was too late — The Legend of Jerry Sands was born. Fans immediately took to their newfound hero, as chants of “JER-RY, JER-RY, JER-RY” echoed throughout Progressive Field when he came to bat in a big moment. Sands would go on to record a hit in each of his first four games with Cleveland, going 7-for-17 before the streak was officially snapped against the White Sox on April 20.

The legend only grew when Sands pinch-hit months later, on Aug. 9, to belt a grand slam and bury the Twins in the fifth inning.

They were never made public, but I assume he received dozens of sponsorship deals, and rumor is the team is poised to be called “The Cleveland Fightin’ Jerrys” whenever a rebrand finally happens.

I say all this to simply set up a highlight of Sands, now 33 and playing for the Nippon Professional Baseball’s Hanshin Tigers, making a tremendous diving catch, and once again earning his fair share of the spotlight.

Sands is in his second year playing for the Tigers, homering 33 times in his 185 games and, apparently, making incredible plays in the field as well. He also had a brief stop in the KBO, where he finished fourth in the league with 28 home runs in 613 plate appearances in 2019. He has had no trouble finding success overseas, and I couldn’t be happier for him.

We’ll always have the Francisco Lindors, the Shane Biebers, the José Ramírez’s — the guys who make huge plays and are consistently the best in the game. But not everyone gets a Jerry Sands to come up and take their team by storm then disappear into the night and re-emerge years later. That’s also fun.

Jerry Sands, forever.