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With Jumbo Diaz getting called up, here's a history of Jumbos in the Major Leagues

With Jumbo Diaz's call-up, here's a history of Jumbos in the Majors

For full size chart, click here.  

Baseball fans rejoiced on Friday when it was announced that relief pitcher Jumbo Diaz was called up to the Reds. Besides pitching in the Minors for 12 seasons, Jumbo also belongs to an important baseball lineage. He's a Jumbo. 

Though he's not so Jumbo anymore. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 315 lbs, he once tipped the scales at 347 before today's reported weight of 278.  

But just what does it take to be a Jumbo? According to our exhaustive research, Jumbo Diaz is not only the largest Jumbo, but he's also the first Jumbo in the Major Leagues since Jim "Jumbo" Nash retired in 1972.

While we wait for a Presidential Commission for the Nicknaming of Jumbos to be created to address this lack of Jumbos, here are some other notable Jumbos: 

Lightest Jumbo: Jumbo Whitney

Clearly the term "Jumbo" was a joke about the diminutive Frank Whitney. There was simply no point in which the 5-foot-6, 152 lb outfielder and second baseman was even considered husky.

As for his career? He only played one year for the Boston Red Stockings in 1876, hitting .237/.243/.302.

Heaviest non-Jumbo Diaz Jumbo: Jumbo Brown

Until being unseated by Jonathan Broxton and Walter Young, the 315-lb former Oriole, it was long believed that the 295-lb Jumbo Brown was the heaviest ballplayer of all time. Playing 12 seasons, Brown was on three World Series teams (including two that won), though never saw an inning of postseason action. 

While that's a bummer, Brown did manage to hit a triple in 1928. And no one can take that away from him. 

Best Jumbo (Pre-Modern Era): Jumbo McGinnis


(Library of Congress

Posting a 9.5 rWAR between 1882 and 1887, Jumbo McGinnis finished his career with a 102-79 record and 2.95 ERA, including a 77-50, 2.58 ERA stretch in his first three years in the league with his hometown St. Louis Browns.

Oddly enough, his baseball card lists him as a catcher. Probably because the card designer couldn't believe a "Jumbo-sized" individual wasn't used to block the plate. 

Best Jumbo (Modern Era): Jumbo Elliott

Jumbo Elliott was a the definition of a swingman, pitching 252 games while starting 144 of them. His best season came in 1931 when he started 30 games and relieved in 22 more. He led the league in appearances, wins and earned runs that year. Though that would be the high point in Elliott's career, he would collect 9.8 rWAR while playing for four different teams. 

Most triples in a season for a Jumbo: Jumbo Davis

Jumbo Davis

(Library of Congress

If you can lead the league in triples, you shouldn't be a Jumbo. I think we can all agree to that. That said, the 5-foot-11, 195-lb Davis led the league with 19 triples while also stealing a non-league leading total of 49 bases in 1887 for the Baltimore Orioles.

Sadly, Jumbo didn't even have the best name on that Orioles team. That award would have to go to his teammates Phenomenal Smith and Oyster Burns. 

Jumbo is also known for one other thing that is a bit more important than his baseball career. In 1888, Davis saved a girl from drowning while at Coney Island

Best nickname other than Jumbo: Jumbo Latham aka Juice Latham

Juice Latham


While today we honor the 5-foot-8 George "Jumbo" Latham for his stockiness, he was also known as "Juice" for his energy while playing and coaching. Though his listed weight of 164 lbs seems low, it is also believed that he finished his career tipping the scales at 250 lbs. 

Whether he was the inspiration of the Jamba Juice franchise, we can only cross our fingers and hope. 


So when Jumbo Diaz comes out of the Reds bullpen this weekend, just remember, you're not just cheering on a man who spent 12 years working toward his dream. You're also cheering on a man who represents the latest chain in a family of notable Jumbos.

Make 'em proud, Jumbo. 

Read More: Cincinnati Reds