PERTH Heat and Australian baseball legend Greg Jelks has passed away.
Born in Centre, Alabama on August 16, 1961, Jelks’ baseball talent was evident from a young age.
In 1981, the Philadelphia Phillies signed Jelks and on August 20, 1987, he made his MLB debut.
His love for the game saw Jelks travel the world and eventually sign with the Perth Heat, and for both Jelks and Perth, it proved a match made in heaven.
Baseball WA chief executive Lachy Dale remembers Jelks fondly.
“Greg Jelks changed the game of baseball in WA and put it on the map,” Dale said.
“He was integral to the success of the Perth Heat and WA baseball over the past 23 years and many people will still remember the days of watching the famous 44 play at Parry Field during the ‘90s.
“A true gentleman of the game, Greg will be sadly missed by the baseball community, but his legacy will forever live on.”
Jelks immediately became a household name and was the hero baseball needed to continue to grow.
Those storied nights at Parry Field became even more legendary once number 44 joined the Heat.
Jelks wowed the large Perth crowds with his booming bat and almost effortless talent on the field.
He made the game seem easy, fun and gave everyone a reason to come out to the ballpark.
When his playing days were over, Jelks gave back to the game through coaching.
He spent time with the Perth Heat, Team Australia, Carine as well as in the United States, most recently with the Washington Wild Things.
Jelks became a dual citizen and went on to represent Australia in prestigious international tournaments including the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
During his time in the ABL, Jelks put up numbers that remain in only the most elite of company.
His cause of death is unknown at this stage.