Today is the 35th birthday of a great ex-Padre. He wasn’t really popular for what he did in a Padres uniform but instead for what he did in camouflage. Granted, there was his Major League debut where he induced Barry Bonds to pop out. Not only was Jason the first MIT graduate to play in the Majors, he was also an Air Force Reservist who spent his offseasons on full-time Active Duty. He threw out the ceremonial first pitch on the Padres first annual Military Appreciation Night in April of 2004.
“Zoo” appeared in only 7 games with the Padres before being returned to the Cubs after not sticking in the bigs following his selection in the Rule 5 Draft. Following a shoulder injury later in 2004, Szuminski left baseball to return to college. He received his MBA from Stanford in 2010 and now lives in San Francisco where he works for Spear Street Capital. He remained in the Air Force Reserve until last year and left the service as a Major. Follow this link to check out Szuminski’s final MLB stat line. The Padres were honored to have a great patriot and an actual rocket scientist on their roster, even if only for a little while.
From one Veteran to another, Happy Birthday!
*Edited 11 December 2013 @ 1414 – Thanks to a nice note received today from Sarah Szuminski (Jason’s sister), I have changed Jason’s age from 36 to 35. Thank you, Sarah. Math is not my best subject, thus the writing job. Sarah was also kind enough to update us on recent goings on in Jason’s life. He is going to be married in June to Ms. Molly Selfridge who is a pediatric oncology nurse practitioner. Congratulations you two and again, Happy Birthday Jason!