Jahmai Jones’ ‘special’ home run vs. Rays sets Yankees clubhouse on fire

Yankees' Jahmai Jones rounds bases after his first career home run that came against the Rays at Tropicana on May 12, 2024.
Sara Molnick
Monday May 13, 2024

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The Yankees’ 10-6 victory over the Rays on Sunday was powered by five home runs from four different players. However, it was Jahmai Jones‘ blast that stole the spotlight and ignited a wild celebration in the visitors’ clubhouse at Tropicana Field.

As reporters entered manager Aaron Boone’s office, they were greeted by the sounds of blaring music, raucous screams, and boisterous chants emanating from behind a closed door. Boone, genuinely touched by the scene, explained, “They’re excited for Jam Jones.”

But beyond the loud, thumping bass beats and celebratory shouts from his teammates, there was a distinct aroma of sacrifice and fortitude that underscored Jahmai Jones’ 383-foot blast to left field, which traveled at an impressive 109.5 mph.

For Jahmai Jones, this home run represented a milestone in more ways than one. It was not only his first career homer, coming in just his seventh at-bat of the season and only his second start, but it also happened to occur on Mother’s Day. Jones’ mother, Michele, had fought hard to bring him to this moment, making the occasion all the more special.

The 26-year-old utilityman admitted the special feeling about being in the Yankees lineup and the significance of hitting the first career homer on Mother’s Day. He highlighted the great importance his mother holds in his life and the shared experiences they have had together. Overwhelmed with emotion, Jahmai Jones expressed his eagerness to give her a call after the game, struggling to fully articulate his feelings about the momentous occasion.

“Getting to be in the lineup with the Yankees, it’s special in itself,” he said. “But doing it on Mother’s Day, it’s something I’ll never forget. My mom means a lot to me. We’ve been through a lot together and to do it on this day, I can’t really put it into words. Can’t wait to give her a call after this.”

Yankees' Jahmai Jones celebrates in dugout after his first career home run that came against the Rays at Tropicana on May 12, 2024.
NYY

Jahmai Jones owes his career to single mom’s resilience

Jahmai Jones experienced a profound loss at a young age when his father, Andre Jones, a former NFL linebacker, tragically passed away from a brain aneurysm in 2011. Jahmai was just 13 years old and about to begin his freshman year of high school. This heartbreaking event strengthened the already close bond between Jahmai Jones and his mother, Michele.

In the wake of his father’s passing, Michele had to take on numerous additional responsibilities to maintain a sense of normalcy for Jahmai Jones and his five siblings. The Yankees player acknowledged the challenges his mother faced during this difficult time and expressed deep gratitude for her unwavering support, recognizing that he wouldn’t be where he is today without her.

“Mom had to take a lot of different things on to keep everything as normal as it could be and going through that, she had to take a lot of different things on to keep everything as normal as it could be,” he conveyed. “Without her, I wouldn’t here for sure.”

After the game, it came as no surprise that Jahmai Jones found a text from his mother waiting for him when he reached the clubhouse. She expressed her joy and pride in his accomplishment, noting the added significance of achieving this milestone on Mother’s Day. Jahmai Jones, who had secured the home run ball with the help of Yankees security, shared his excitement about speaking to his mother later that day.

“She just said, ‘I’m so happy for you. The fact you did it on Mother’s Day is special,” said Jahmai Jones. “Again, can’t wait for a phone call later.”

On Sunday, Michele watched his son making only his second start of the season and blasting his first home run from their family home in Georgia as the Yankees cruised to victory. This moment marked a significant achievement in the player’s professional career and also served as a testament to the love, sacrifice, and resilience of a mother who had been his rock through the most challenging times.

Boone admits to ‘unfairly’ benching Jahmai Jones

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AP

Jahmai Jones, a utility player for the Yankees, has seen limited playing time this season. Before Sunday’s game, where he batted ninth and played left field while Alex Verdugo took a day off, he had only one start, six plate appearances, and 20 innings in the field under his belt.

Manager Aaron Boone admitted that he had “unfairly” kept Jahmai Jones on the bench, but not due to any shortcomings in his hitting ability. Before the game, Boone asserted that Jones possessed strong batting skills and could generate power with his swing. Despite not providing him with many opportunities, Boone expressed confidence in Jahmai Jones’ offensive capabilities.

Moreover, Boone added that Jahmai Jones’ teammates “love” him for his hard work and dedication. This sentiment was clearly evident after Jones hit his first career home run on Sunday. As he rounded the bases, Yankees pitchers in the bullpen could be seen cheering for him, and he was mobbed by his ecstatic teammates in the dugout upon his return. The postgame celebration continued with a beer shower, the scent of which lingered as reporters interviewed the effervescent player.

Describing the experience as “awesome” and surpassing all expectations, Jahmai Jones expressed his appreciation for the support and camaraderie shown by his teammates. He also mentioned that he had traded a bat and some batting gloves to retrieve his historic home run ball, stating, “I’m okay with that.” Jones indicated that he would have willingly parted with much more to secure this cherished memento.

The Yankees’ joy for Jahmai Jones was palpable, both when he returned to the dugout after his homer and in the postgame clubhouse. Jose Trevino, who also homered twice on Sunday, commented on the team’s excitement for the newbie, noting that he handles his business daily and grinds diligently to be prepared for such moments.

Yankees' Jahmai Jones celebrates with Alex Verdugo after his first career home run that came against the Rays at Tropicana on May 12, 2024.
NYY

Aaron Boone praised Jahmai Jones for his tireless work ethic, always staying “prepared for anything” and never complaining about his limited playing time. 

Since joining the Yankees as a waiver claim from the Brewers in late February, Jahmai Jones has been a constant source of positivity, rarely seen without a smile on his face. Despite the scarcity of opportunities, his relentlessly upbeat energy has quickly made him one of the most well-liked and respected players in the clubhouse.

As Jahmai Jones’ home run cleared the left-field fence, his teammates erupted in celebration, pouring out of the visitor’s dugout. Aaron Judge, in his excitement, practically hurdled the top rail to join the festivities. 

Gleyber Torres, grinning from ear to ear, remarked that he believed everyone enjoyed the moment even more than Jahmai Jones himself. Torres described the player as a diligent worker who seized the opportunity to play that day and delivered an exceptional performance. He emphasized that this aspect of baseball, where players make the most of their chances and excel, is what makes the game so beautiful.

The admiration is mutual, as Jahmai Jones raved about the unwavering support he has received from “every single person” in the Yankees’ locker room, which reflected the unique and special culture within the team. Jones expressed his confidence that this culture would greatly benefit the Yankees in the long run.

Conveying his love for baseball and being part of the team, Jahmai Jones emphasized that winning was the ultimate goal and as long as the team was successful, he would always have a smile on his face, regardless of his role or playing time.

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