Claimed by his hometown team, Jefferson was selected by the New York Mets in the first round of the June 1983 draft. Unfortunately, the highly-touted prospect never came close to living up to his potential.
After toiling in the minors for three years, Jefferson was sent to the San Diego Padres in the nine-player Kevin McReynolds-Kevin Mitchell deal after the 1986 season. Though he became a regular in the Pods’ outfield in 1987, he clashed with manager Larry Bowa in May and spent much of the first half on the disabled list. Jefferson stole 33 bases but batted just .230 that year, severely hindering his shot at remaining San Diego’s full-time outfielder.
In 1988 Jefferson performed horribly, batting .144 over 111 at-bats. At the end of the season he was traded with Lance McCullers to the New York Yankees for Jack Clark. He logged just 12 at-bats with the Bombers before being shipped to the Baltimore Orioles for John Habyan in July 1989. For the next year and a half, he played intermittently for the O’s, the Cleveland Indians, and the Cincinnati Reds. After just 19 games with Cincy in 1991, Jefferson was released for good.
Having hung up his spikes, Jefferson later became a coach for the Single-A Frontier League Butte Copperkings. When the player’s strike threatened the 1995 season, Jefferson became a much-maligned replacement player for his original team, sharing the outfield with fellow ex-Met Herm Winningham.