Lucroy hit .379 as a freshman at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette. Also, he increased his home run totals every year. He became one of the most successful players in Ragin' Cajuns history. Over his career, he set the school record in doubles (54), runs batted in (184), and total bases (414) as well as recording the second most career hits (241) in just three seasons.
After the 2007 regular season, Lucroy played Hawaii Winter Baseball and hit .299/.357/.377 for North Shore, the Western Division champion.
In 2008, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Jonathan as 16th-best prospect in the Brewers organization. He was up at #10 in the Milwaukee farm system in the spring of 2009. And in the winter before 2010 spring training they moved Lucroy up to 5th-best prospect in the Brewers organization.
On August 7, 2010, Jonathan's wife, Sarah, gave birth to their first child, daughter Ella Elizabeth.
A SELF-MADE CATCHER
Lucroy is more self-made than anything. Growing up in Umatilla, Florida, Lucroy was around 10 years old and playing Little League when his father, Steve, asked him perhaps the most important question he's ever been asked.
"Kids that age are scared of the baseball," Lucroy recounted recently. "He asked me, 'Jonathan, do you want to start catching?' And I said, 'Yeah.' I ended up being the only one that would go back there and catch because everybody else was scared to get hit, and I wasn't.
"And I stayed there because I couldn't do anything else."
From those days in Little League learning the basics of catching, Lucroy advanced to Umatilla High School. His father, a former third baseman who had had some pro tryouts, threw him "hundreds of thousands of rounds" of batting practice, Lucroy estimated.
Lucroy also played on a traveling team based in Orlando but never caught the attention of any of the big-time, in-state schools like the University of Florida, Florida State, or Miami. His lone scholarship offer of note came from Louisiana-Lafayette.
"In Florida, there's a real deep talent pool," Lucroy said. "A lot of the bigger schools there go after the big names, whereas someone like me, I wasn't really a big-name player. I was from a small school.
"For the most part, I kind of flew under the radar, I guess."
Still, Jonathan went from college to the big leagues in less than three years. (Todd Rosiak of the Journal Sentinal)
March 2013: Lucroy was a catcher for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.
Behind the scenes, Lucroy has focused much of his support to military initiatives in honor of his college roommate, John Coker, who was wounded by gunfire while serving with the Army National Guard in Afghanistan. Lucroy has provided financial support for Fisher House Wisconsin, a facility for military veterans and their families receiving treatment at the Milwaukee VA Hospital, and invites wounded veterans to games once a month and meets with them. He also provided support and recorded a public service announcement for a city-wide initiative to hire veterans, and since 2010, Lucroy has provided $5,000 scholarships to military families every year.
He is also active with Make-A-Wish, granting wishes and visiting hospitals, and served as a spokesperson for the Muscular Dystrophy Association's Team Muscle Walk and Brewers Community Foundation's Drive for Charity. His contributions to BCF have supported the Miracle League of Milwaukee, which allows children with physical challenges to play organized baseball, regardless of ability.
In 2014, Lucroy won the Brewers' Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association Heart and Hustle Award. Rather than leave him home to continue getting treatment for a broken toe, the Brewers took Lucroy on the road, where he remained engaged in meetings with the other catchers and pitchers.
Lucroy was sidelined 4-6 weeks. Often, players on that sort of timetable remain home so the team's athletic trainers can focus their energy on the active roster, but Lucroy, because of his standing on a team stuck in a terrible season-opening slump, was apparently deemed a different case. The team was scheduled to depart for a weeklong trip to Cincinnati and Chicago, and Lucroy was granted permission to travel in seat pants that cover the walking boot on his left foot.
"My toe may be broken," he said, "but I'm still there mentally."
Personal frustration about his own slow start had morphed into concern about the team's continued struggles. Lucroy tried to contribute where he can, mostly by remaining positive in the clubhouse as players begin to ponder what sort of personnel changes lie ahead. After their first 18 games, the Brewers had the worst record in the Major Leagues.
"You're sitting there watching and you can't do anything about it. That's the worst part," Lucroy said. "This is a pretty big hole we're in, but we have to find a way to keep battling and fighting. I try to put these times in terms of life in general, and you're going to hit things in life that are tough times. Everybody is good in good times, but it's about how you react in tough times. That's the true measure of a man." (McCalvy - mlb.com - 4/26/2015)
David Lucroy is a righthanded pitcher for the Lakeshore Chinooks, a collegiate wood bat club that plays home games just north of Milwaukee. Most players on that team are placed with host families, but not Lucroy. He has real family in town.
His older brother Jonathan is the Brewers' starting catcher. Jonathan and wife Sarah already have a young daughter, and now they joke about raising two kids.
"He's actually calling me and my wife Dad and Mom," Jonathan said.
It has been a while since the Lucroy boys (Jonathan is six years older) were under the same roof. Jonathan has mostly been away since the Brewers being drafted in 2007. In 2012, they drafted David in the 29th round, but he opted for college at East Carolina instead.
"I'm pretty happy that he's here and we can spend a little time," Jonathan said. "Really, what's most important is that he gets to hang out with his niece." (Adam McCalvy / MLB.com | 6/9/2013)
June 20, 2015: Father's Day came early for Steve Lucroy, who was elated when his sons were joined in the same professional organization the week before the official day.
With catcher Jonathon Lucroy already entrenched behind the plate in Milwaukee, the Brewers made it a family affair when they selected younger brother David, a righthander out of East Carolina University, in the 20th round of the draft. David will begin his professional career in Helena, Mont., where he once visited his big brother at the same stage in his career.
"My dad is jacked up," David Lucroy said.
It's a dream come true for Steve Lucroy, whose other son, Matthew, is a firefighter/EMT in Florida. Having his oldest and youngest son together in the Brewers organization means that, for the first time in years, the family will be able to enjoy Spring Training together. Did Dad ever see this coming?
"I'll be honest," Steve said. "I never thought that Jonathan would make it. I didn't. I knew he was good, but I never thought that he would make it to the big leagues. I watch him now on TV, and I still have a hard time putting my hands around that, grasping the idea that I've got a kid actually playing in the big leagues on TV."
He pauses and thinks about it a moment.
"I know some dads can sit there and say, 'Oh yeah, I knew he was going to make it.' No, I really didn't," he said. "We kept saying, 'Look, just get to the next stop.' Both boys have taken it and run with it. That's just what I want them to do."
Steve Lucroy was once presented with the same opportunity. Growing up in Florida, he was good enough as a shortstop and third baseman that he earned an opportunity to play at Seminole Community College in Sanford, FL, a baseball hotbed that has produced Major Leaguer such as Bobby Thigpen and Lance Parrish.
But Lucroy chose a different route, marrying high school sweetheart Karen and going to work for his father's golf course-fertilization business. He eventually took over the business and ran it for many years. (A McCalvy - MLB.com - June 19, 2015)
Twenty-five sailors and Marines helped recognize Lucroy with the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award on the field before a 2016 Giants-Brewers game at Miller Park. Jonathan had received the same honor in 2015, also.
George Brett was among the other recipients honored at a ceremony in Washington in December. The award is presented annually to those who possess "the values, integrity and dedication to serving our country that Bob Feller himself displayed." Lucroy was one of 15 current Major Leaguers nominated.
"It was a great time and a big honor," Lucroy said. "Tommy Lasorda was there, Sen. Rob Johnson [R-Wis.] showed up, and that was great. And there was a Marine and a number of sailors honored as well, and to be a part of that was just a huge thing."
Lucroy made a pair of visits to Washington over the winter. The other was a trip with military veterans in November on a Stars and Stripes Honor Flight, marking the second straight year he took part in that program. (McCalvy MLB.com - 4/5/2016)
July 22, 2016: A pair of All-Stars and rivals on the field are teaming up off of it. Lucroy and Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo are joining forces in support of the "Cancer Knows No Borders" campaign as they hope to encourage residents of Wisconsin and Illinois to donate to their choice of two cancer non-profit organizations, each of which is represented by one of the All-Stars. Fans of the Brewers and Lucroy can donate to Wisconsin's Aurora Health Care Foundation (www.aurora.org/noborders).
Rizzo, a cancer survivor, has selected his own non-profit, the Anthony Rizzo Family Foundation (www.rizzo44.com), to be the recipient of donations by Cubs fans.
"Anytime that you can help people out through the platform that we have, I think it's important to take advantage of that," Lucroy said.
The "Cancer Knows No Borders" will run for 16 weeks, focusing its efforts on Wisconsin and Illinois. Roundy's Supermarkets and the USA Today Network-Wisconsin are also joining in on fundraising efforts. Customers at Wisconsin and Illinois-located Pick 'n Save, Copps, Metro Market and Mariano's store locations can donate to the cause, and USA Today Network sites in Wisconsin will include content, advertising and promotional materials created to raise awareness of the campaign
"I have my 5-year-old here, and I couldn't imagine what it would be like if she had cancer," Lucroy said. "Playing against Rizz and Jon Lester, who also had cancer, there's a lot of people in baseball that have had or know somebody that has had it. It's easy for me to relate to it. I'm very happy to be a part of this and lend my support to it, to bring some awareness, bring some attention to it and hopefully get some funding." (C Hogg - MLB.com - July 22, 2016)
MLB players have all kinds of routines to get them ready to hit. David Ortiz gives one big clap. Mike Hargrove conducted an entire interpretive dance. Nomar Garciaparra took his batting gloves into a conga line.
Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, though? He touches his back shoulder. No, seriously, he touches his back shoulder a lot. Like, all the time.
The best 2016 non-waiver Trade Deadline acquisition by a contending team this year was made by the Rangers when they acquired Jonathan from the Brewers.
You can name other clubs that made necessary improvements, such as the Cubs, trading for closer Aroldis Chapman, or the Nationals, trading for closer Mark Melancon. The Dodgers made substantial improvements, too. But the one individual who has been a tremendous difference-maker in more ways than one is Lucroy. He has added offense, defense and superb handling of pitchers to a Rangers squad that was already talented. A two-time All-Star, Lucroy is an elite catcher. And he has delivered at that level for the Rangers.
Lucroy had made it known last offseason that he would rather be traded to a contending club than stay with the rebuilding Brewers. But he made his peace with not being traded through four months of the regular season, by performing at an All-Star level for Milwaukee.
The Rangers reaped immediate dividends from the Lucroy trade while the Brewers are building for the future. Lucroy did not come cheaply. The Rangers gave up three legitimate prospects, including their Nos. 2 and 3 prospects—outfielder Lewis Brinson and pitcher Luis Ortiz—for Lucroy and Jeremy Jeffress, who had been successfully closing for the Brewers. Jeffress is back on the Rangers' roster after undergoing a stay at a rehabilitation facility for substance abuse.
But for the present, the trade to Texas has worked out for both Lucroy and the Rangers. "I think that's a good way to put it," Lucroy said. "It's worked out pretty well; it's been a good deal for everybody. But that's pretty much what I expected. I heard good things about this place.
"This team is pretty fun to play for. There are a lot of really talented players, obviously. It's a lot of fun. It's kind of easy to play for [this team]. Lots of guys on the same page, everybody pulling on the same rope, playing for something bigger than ourselves. It's nice to be a part of."
Lucroy's ability to acclimate himself in a hurry to the club's pitching staff was vitally important to his success in Texas. "Look, there's all kinds of resources out there, video and all kinds of stuff," Lucroy said. "The coaches here really helped me out. I really tried to communicate as much as I can with the pitchers."
Rangers manager Jeff Banister has termed Lucroy's preparation as "off the charts." The Rangers' pitchers are impressed with him, too. "He really does put in a lot of time to studying guys and having conversations with us to know how we tick and what our philosophy is in trying to get guys out," said Cole Hamels. "That's been nice to see that and to build on that."
"I've seen him in the clubhouse early, always studying, so it gives me trust about the pitch calls," Yu Darvish said. "He frames the ball well, so borderline pitches are called strikes. For me, that's a big thing."
Typically, Lucroy is modest and matter-of-fact about his accomplishments. "It has nothing to do with me, it has everything to do with this clubhouse," Lucroy said. "They've been nothing but accepting of me. It's been pretty impressive how much these guys want to win and how hard they play every day. I've been here two months now, but it feels longer with the way these guys treat me and accept me." (Bauman - MLB.com - 9/26/2016)
Lucroy is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys hunting and fishing. He hunts deer and ducks. The largest fish he's ever caught is an eight- or nine-pound bass. Lucroy doesn't like spiders or snakes. (Kruth - MLB.com - 10/3/2016)
November 14, 2016: Lucroy announced that he will play for team USA for the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
June 2007: Jonathan signed with the Brewers, via scout Brian Sankey, for a bonus of $340,000 after they chose him in the third round, out of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
March 27, 2012: Lucroy and the Brewers agreed to a five-year contract extension. It includes a club option for 2017 that would allow the club to buy a year of free agency. The contract guarantees Lucroy $11 million over five years, but assistant general manager Gord Ash explained that they are essentially working with two contacts, and the second one increases Lucroy's take to $13 million if the catcher gains Super 2 arbitration-eligible status after the 2012 season.
Super 2 players are the top 22 percent of players in terms of Major League service time, with between two and three years of service who spent at least half of the previous season in the big leagues. Those players qualify for an extra, fourth year of arbitration. With two years and 136 days of Major League service, Lucroy will likely qualify as a Super 2, but his status will depend on the number of young players called up to the Major Leagues during the 2012 season, with the designation becoming official at the end of the regular season.
August 1, 2016: Lucroy was acquired by the Rangers, along with reliever Jeremy Jeffress, from Milwaukee; Texas sent outfielder Lewis Brinson, pitcher Luis Ortiz and a player to be named later to the Brewers.
November 3, 2016: The Rangers exercised the option on Jon for 2017, paying him $5.2 million.
July 30, 2017: The Rangers traded Lucroy to the Rockies for a player to be named later.
November 2, 2017: Lucroy chose free agency.
March 9, 2018: The A's signed Lucroy to a one-year deal.
October 29, 2018: Lucroy chose free agency.
December 29, 2018: The Angels signed free agent Lucroy. The contract is for one year and $3.3 million and can net Lucroy as much as $4.5 million with performance bonuses.
August 2, 2019: Lucroy was designated for assignment and released by the Angels.
- August 8, 2019: Lucroy was signed by the Cubs. Lucroy was under contract for $3.35 million, but Los Angeles remains responsible for that salary after the catcher cleared waivers and was granted his release.
The Cubs are only required to pay Lucroy a prorated portion of the MLB minimum salary.