John Shelby
John Shelby Orioles.jpg
Born: (1958-02-23) February 23, 1958 (age 64)
Lexington, Kentucky
Batted: Switch
Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 15, 1981, for the Baltimore Orioles
Last MLB appearance
August 11, 1991, for the Detroit Tigers
MLB statistics
Batting average.239
Home runs70
Runs batted in313
Career highlights and awards

John T. Shelby (born February 23, 1958) is a former center fielder in Major League Baseball (MLB) who played from 1981 to 1991. He began his career as a member of the Baltimore Orioles before later playing for the Los Angeles Dodgers and Detroit Tigers. Shelby was a member of two World Series–winning teams: the 1983 Orioles and the 1988 Dodgers. His nickname was "T-Bone" because of his slight frame. He currently is a coach in the Atlanta Braves minor league system.

Early life

Shelby was born in Lexington, Kentucky, on February 23, 1958.[1] In 1976, he graduated from Henry Clay High School in Lexington, where he played baseball (as a shortstop) and basketball and was an all-area performer. After high school, he played one year of baseball at Columbia State Community College in Columbia, Tennessee.

Baseball career

Playing career

In the January 1977 amateur draft, Shelby was a first–round pick of the Baltimore Orioles.[1] He made his professional debut that year for the Bluefield Orioles of the Appalachian League, batting .256 in 60 games.[2]

Shelby with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988
Shelby with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988

When Shelby was traded to the Dodgers during the 1987 season, the team was so desperate for a center fielder that he was rushed into uniform and into his first game. There was not even time to put his name on the back of his uniform, so he played the entire game without his name stitched onto his uniform. During Game Four of the 1988 National League Championship Series, he drew a crucial walk off Dwight Gooden in the top of the ninth inning, allowing Mike Scioscia to come up and hit a game-tying home run, paving the way for the game-winning home run by Kirk Gibson in the top of the twelfth inning.

On June 3, 1989, he batted 0 for 10 in a 22–inning game against the Houston Astros.[3]

After the Dodgers released Shelby on June 2, 1990, he was signed eleven days later by the Detroit Tigers.[1] He became a free agent following the season, but the Tigers re–signed him on November 26. He was released for good by the Tigers on August 13, 1991.[1]

In 1992, Shelby's final season as a professional baseball player, he appeared in 127 games for the Pawtucket Red Sox, the Class AAA affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. He tallied 17 home runs and 64 RBI, but managed only a .205 batting average.[2]

Coaching career

He was the hitting coach for the Albuquerque Isotopes, the AAA affiliate of the Colorado Rockies.[4] In addition to managing several minor league teams, he has also served as a coach for the Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, and Milwaukee Brewers. He was hired as a roving minor league instructor with the Atlanta Braves for the 2017 season.

Personal life

His oldest son, John Shelby III, is a former player in Minor League Baseball and now a coach in the farm system of the Boston Red Sox.[5] His second-oldest son, Jeremy Shelby, played one season in the Baltimore Orioles' farm system. His fourth-oldest son, JaVon Shelby, played for the University of Kentucky Wildcats baseball team and was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in 2016 amateur draft.[6] His nephew Josh Harrison is a major league player.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e "John Shelby Stats". Retrieved November 13, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "John Shelby Minor Leagues Statistics & History". Retrieved November 13, 2017.
  3. ^ "Los Angeles Dodgers at Houston Astros Box Score June 3, 1989". Retrieved November 13, 2017.
  4. ^ "Colorado Rockies minors: Albuquerque Isotopes name John Shelby hitting coach". Purple Row. February 11, 2016.
  5. ^ "Drive Announces Coaching Staff for 2021 Season". February 1, 2021. Retrieved February 14, 2021.
  6. ^ "5 JaVon Shelby". University of Kentucky. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 31 March 2014.
Preceded byReggie Smith Los Angeles Dodgers First Base Coach 1998–2005 Succeeded byMariano Duncan Preceded byRusty Kuntz Pittsburgh Pirates First Base Coach 2006–2007 Succeeded byLou Frazier Preceded bySam Mejias Baltimore Orioles First Base Coach 2008–2010 Succeeded byWayne Kirby