Jacksonville sends 1,000th baseball player to ‘The Show,’ the major leagues

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp are celebrating a grand milestone on this Monday.

Jumbo Shrimp right-handed pitcher Eli Villalobos made his major league debut on Sunday for the Miami Marlins against the Oakland A’s, becoming the 1,000th Jacksonville player to also reach the big leagues.


The Jumbo Shrimp’s Scott Kornberg started researching the potential milestone during the pandemic. The research dates back to 1904 and the start of professional baseball in Jacksonville.

Villalobos tossed a scoreless inning for the Marlins to cap their 12-3 victory over the Athletics.

Of the 1,000 Jacksonville players to also play in the major leagues, Villalobos is the 163rd former Jumbo Shrimp to reach The Show. Jacksonville’s illustrious baseball history features 11 players enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, including legends Henry Aaron (1953 Jacksonville Braves), Tom Seaver (1968 Jacksonville Suns), Phil Niekro (1960 Jacksonville Braves), Nolan Ryan (1967 Jacksonville Suns) and Randy Johnson (1987 Jacksonville Expos).

Notable Jacksonville alumni also include Los Angeles Dodgers left-handed pitcher Clayton Kershaw (2007-08 Jacksonville Suns), New York Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton (2009-10 Jacksonville Suns) and Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto (2013-14 Jacksonville Suns).

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Villalobos is the fifth Jumbo Shrimp alumnus this season to make his major league debut, following catcher Jhonny Pereda (April 17, Marlins) and right-handers Roddery Muñoz (April 20, Marlins), Anthony Maldonado (April 24, Marlins) and Emmanuel Ramírez (April 28, Marlins).

On the Brent & Austen Show last week, Kornberg joined the guys to discuss the research and history of baseball in Jacksonville. Here’s a link:

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