Ja-Mes follows his big brother

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2004

There is one almost sure-fire way to ensure a youngster gets the best instruction, the best experience, the best exposure and the absolute best motivation.

It’s nothing really money can buy (although it was an idea of the late John Henry Williams). When youngsters are basically born into a sport &045; sibling a big-time athlete, dad a successful coach &045; the potential is there for something special.

Keep an eye on Ja-Mes Logan.

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He’s the younger brother of Nook, the former Natchez High standout who is now playing his first season with the Detroit Tigers’ Class AAA affiliate in Toledo, Ohio. Much like his brother, Ja-Mes (pronounced Juh-MEZ) has speed and long legs along with a body that’s starting to get stronger now as a 14-year-old playing for the Natchez All-Stars this summer.

But there may be one area Ja-Mes may be a step ahead of big bro &045; he’s a natural left-handed hitter.

&uot;He’s helped me out,&uot; the younger Logan said prior to the team’s departure for the state tournament Thursday. &uot;He’s always been like a dad to me instead of a brother. He’s been working with me, working on my speed. Just beat the ball out &045; that’s all I need to do.&uot;

If there’s anything about the elder Logan’s game, it’s speed. In his first season in AAA, Nook is leading the International League in stolen bases with 36 and is tied for the lead in times caught stealing at 11.

But Logan, a natural right-handed batter, converted to a switch-hitter by request of the organization. The adaptation is still a work in progress &045; Logan leads the Mud Hens with 87 strikeouts in 94 games and 381 at-bats.

With his speed, Logan can make it to first on a drag bunt that much faster coming out of the left-handed batter’s box. It’s the only side of the plate Ja-Mes knows (he throws righty) and indicated his ability to drag bunt last week when he put down a beautiful bunt in the team’s 12-2 win over Brookhaven.

Like Agassi’s commercial, the right genes make all the difference.

&uot;It was perfect,&uot; All-Stars head coach William Barnes said. &uot;He loves to do that. He’ll come to us and ask us to bunt.&uot;

Turned out Nook was in attendance for that game when he spent four days in Natchez visiting family for the IL’s All-Star break. And his advice to younger brother was applied perfectly.

&uot;He told me all I’ve got to do is put it on the ground, beat the ball out and I’ll be on base,&uot; Ja-Mes said. &uot;He’s the one who taught me how to bunt &045; him and Coach William Barnes and Coach Glenn (Carroll).&uot;

Ja-Mes is a good size at 6-0 and has the potential to be as tall if not taller than Nook, a 6-3 budding star in the Tigers’ farm system.

As for Ja-Mes, you can bet in four years he’ll draw the attention of college and some pro scouts just as Nook did. If he’s anything like his brother, he could do real well.

It’s like the old saying goes &045; if he keeps his head on straight, he could be something.

Adam Daigle

is sports editor of The Natchez Democrat. Reach him at (601) 445-3632 or at