Arlington Heights resident and Prospect High School graduate Jason Leblebijian, who was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 25th round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft Wednesday, June 7, 2012, started practice with the Blue Jays on June 10, 2012. Leblebijian is currently playing in the Appalachian League in Bluefield, West Virginia for the Bluefield Blue Jays — affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays. The team plays at Bowen field, which is on the West Virginia – Virginia state line.
The 21-year-old who left college between his junior and senior year as a star shortstop at Bradley University has earned an entry on baseball-reference.com (Jason Lebelijian), where his stats can be followed.
The Appalachian League is a Rookie-class minor league in existence since 1937 with one year of inactivity in 1956. The season starts immediately after the draft in June and continues until September. Last year’s champions of the Appalachian League were the Johnson City Cardinals of Johnson City, Tennessee and affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals.
From 1958-2010, Bluefield’s Bowen Field was associated with the Baltimore Orioles — the oldest continuous MLB affiliation with the same major league franchise in Minor League Baseball. Cal Ripken, Jr. and Boog Powell are on record as playing at Bowen Field.
Bowen Field is also home to the Bluefield College baseball team, was built in 1939, and holds 3,000 people. The stadium is operated by the city of Bluefield, and is one of the few minor league baseball stadiums that doesn’t sell beer.
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Bluefield, West Virginia (green arrow) and Virginia (red ‘A’ marker).
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