Tuesday, November 1, 2011

#29 Randy Jones

Card: This is Randy Jones' 10th and final Topps card. Jones first appeared in the '74 set.

Picture: This picture captures Jones in the middle of his delivery and looks a lot like his '82 card but they are different.

Player:  Randy Jones was drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 5th round out of Chapman University in the 1972 draft.  After pitching in only 23 minor league games, the Padres called up the 23 year old lefty in June of '73.  Jones pitched in 20 games, started 19 and completed six of them.  Jones pitched well going 7-6 with a 3.16 ERA. 

Jones suffered through a sophomore slump in '74.  Jones was very hittable and his control was not sharp as his ERA jumped to 4.45.  Jones won only 8 games and led the league with 22 loses and was out of the rotation by September.

Jones found his command in '75 and had a great year.  Jones completed half of his 36 starts, won 20 games, and led the NL with a 2.24 ERA.  Jones recorded the save in the All-Star game as the NL beat the AL 6-3. Jones was named the Sporting News NL Comeback Player of the Year and finished second to Tom Seaver in Cy Young voting.

Jones followed up his successful '75 campaign with another great year in '76.  Jones started 40 games, completed 25 of them, threw 315 innings, and won 22 games all of which led National League pitchers.  At the All-Star break Jones had an amazing 16 wins and was the starter for the NL earning the win with three scoreless innings.  Known for his control, Jones tied a record with 68 consecutive innings without a walk (since broken by Greg Maddux).  This time Jones won the Cy Young award with 15 of the 24 first place votes.  Jones was an excellent fielding pitcher as he set an MLB record for handling 112 chances without and error and tied an NL record with 12 double plays.

Jones injured a nerve in his pitching arm in his last start of '76 and re-injured it in June of '77.  Jones struggled finishing with a 6-12 record and a 4.58 ERA.  Jones regained his health and his performance followed suit.  The junk balling lefty had nice back to back campaigns in '78 and '79.  Once again the workhorse of the Padre staff he logged 253 and 263 innings with ERA's of 2.88 and 3.63.

The nerve injury would be something Jones would battle the rest of his career and he started only 24 games in 1980 going 5-13 with a 3.91 ERA.  By now Jones owned most Padre pitching records but was traded to the Mets for Jose Moreno and John Pacella. 

Jones struggled to stay healthy and effective in New York.  Jones went 1-8 in '81 with a 4.85 ERA.  Jones would have a similar year in '82 with a 7-10 record and 4.60 ERA.   Jones was released by the Mets after the '82 campaign and signed with the Pirates.  Jones was released by Pittsburgh in spring training which meant that by the time most kids saw this card Jones was out of baseball. 

Stuff:  Sinker mid-70s, slider, curve, fastball low 80's

Flipside:  Since '82 was his last season, these stats are Jones' career totals. Jones is the only starting pitcher to win a Cy Young and finish his career with a losing record.

Oddball:  Jones threw so slow that he reportedly pitched an entire game in 1978 without breaking 80 mph. 
Check out the white-man 'fro from his 1977 card:
History:  Jones at his best kept hitters frustrated with precision control, locating his sinker low in the strike zone and busting sliders inside to lefties.  Jones had some great seasons, winning a Cy Young award and pitching in two All-Star games.  He would have had an even better career if not for the recurring injury to the nerve in his left bicep. 
Randy Jones owns a restaurant and catering business and has his own BBQ sauce. Jones can be heard on the radio for Padre pre-game shows.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent post. I forgot how good this guy was during his short window of excellence. And that '77 card is a classic.