Born: April 3, 1987 in Beaumont, Texas
Jay Bruce played baseball at Beaumont's West Brook High School. He was a third-team all-American and was drafted 12th in the first round of the 2005 Major League Baseball draft. Bruce accepted a scholarship to play baseball at Tulane University before opting to turn professional out of high school.
Bruce's professional career began in 2005 in the GCL, playing for the Reds' short-season rookie team. In 2006, he was promoted to the Reds' Low-A affiliate Dayton Dragons, where he excelled with a .291 average and 16 home runs, placing him on many top prospect lists. He was selected to the 2007 All-Star Futures Game and won the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year Award.
On May 27, 2008, Bruce made his major league debut that day against right-handed pitcher Ian Snell of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Bruce started in center field, batting 3-for-3 with two singles and one double. He drove in two runs, scored twice, walked twice, and stole a base. He had a 1.000 slugging percentage after his first six games.
He was selected to play in the 2011, 2012, and 2016 All-Star Games and nominated for a Gold Glove award in 2011 and 2013. He was traded to the New York Mets in 2016 and played with the Cleveland Indians for the 2017 season before returning to the Mets in 2018. In December of 2018, Bruce was traded from the Mets to the Seattle Mariners.
In 2019 he batted .221/.235/.510 for the Phillies, with 12 home runs and 31 RBIs in 145 at-bats as he spent more than one spell on the injured list. His 312 career home runs at the end of the season were 8th-most among active ballplayers, and his 1,535 strikeouts were 9th-most.
In February of 2021, Bruce signed a minor-league deal with the New York Yankees, but announced his retirement two months later, bringing a close to a brilliant career.