Late in 1953 at the age of eighteen, Jay hurled a three-hit shutout for the Braves to beat the Reds in his first ML start. A $20,000 bonus baby, Jay was the first graduate of the Little League program to reach the majors. Ironically, he had been the subject of a petition attempting to bar him from Little League at age twelve because of his advanced size. While in the majors, he wrote an article entitled “Don’t Trap Your Son in Little League Madness.”
But Jay didn’t blossom with Milwaukee, who still had Warren Spahn and Lew Burdette winning 20 a year. He went 7-5 (2.14) in 1958, but missed the World Series with a broken finger. Traded to Cincinnati in December 1960, he flourished, in 1961 tying Spahn for the league lead in wins (21) and shutouts (4), and beating the Yankees in Game Two of the WS. He won 21 again in 1962, but dropped to 7-18 the following year and was finished by 1966.