A solid backup catcher for the Cleveland Indians and the Milwaukee Brewers during the 1990s, Jesse told Steve Feldman of the Philadelphia Jewish Exponent he considers a highlight of his career to be throwing out Rickey Henderson when the all-time stolen base king tried to steal on him. A career .255 hitter, Jesse rarely makes a mistake in the field; he has committed only three errors during his eight years behind the plate. In January 2005, Levis was named the manager of the Kingsport Mets, a minor league affiliate of the major league squad.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. April 14, 1968
After an outstanding career at the University of North Carolina -- where he was a first team All-ACC and third team All-America -- Jesse was selected in the fourth round of the 1989 free agent draft by the Cleveland Indians. He had previously been drafted by his hometown Philadelphia Phillies in 1986 out of high school, but chose not to sign with them.
After spending three years in the minors, Jesse finally broke into the majors in 1992, appearing in 28 games and hitting .279 for the Indians. He served as a backup for the Indians over the next three seasons and traveled with them during the 1995 postseason, warming up pitchers in the bullpen. Although he made it to the World Series in that capacity, the Indians lost that showdown to the Atlanta Braves.
During the 1995 off season, Levis was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers and had his first opportunity to be a regular catcher in the big leagues. He appeared in 104 games and hit .236, but committed only one error, compiling a sparkling .997 fielding percentage. Jesse remained with the Brewers for two more seasons, hitting .285 in 99 games in 1997 before returning to the Indians before the 1999 season.
After playing for the Indians in 1999, Levis spent the 2000 season with AAA Buffalo recuperating from an injury, and hit a more-than-respectable .286 for the Bisons. In 2001, trying to get back to the majors, he played for the Brewers' AAA affiliate Indianapolis, and batted .272 (63-232) before being called up to the majors by the Brewers. Jesse played in 12 games for Milwaukee (who finished 68-94, fourth in the NL Central), including the final eight games of the season; Levis went 8-33 for a .242 average with six runs, two doubles, and three RBI.
A member of the Philadelphia Phillies organization during the 2003 season, Levis was a native of Philadelphia whose boyhood hero was Phillies manager Larry Bowa. Levis said prior to the 2003 season, ''This is a great situation to be in...I wouldn't want to be with anyone else but my hometown team, especially with a chance to help them. That's why I signed here. I want to finish my career as a Phillie. It's more than I could ever ask for.'' Levis played the 2003 season with the Phillies' AAA affiliate, the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Red Barons. During the season, Jesse appeared in 79 games and hit .279 (74-265) with 26 runs scored and 30 RBI.
Levis played for the Cleveland Indians, 1992-95, and 1999, and the Milwaukee Brewers, 1996-98.
5'9", 200 pounds
Throws right, bats left
Batting Avg.: .255
Slugging Avg.: .307
Home Runs: 3
Home Run %:
Strike Outs: 66
Stolen Bases: 2
Total Chances per Game: 4.32
Fielding Avg: .995