Wednesday, November 28, 2012

#259 Jeff Jones - Oakland A's

Oakland Athletics pitcher Jeff Jones glows here in brilliant neon green on his third Topps card.  Is Jones playing peek-a-boo with the batter?
Player:  Jeff Jones  spent five years in the major leagues, all with the Oakland A's.  Drafted in the 13th round in 1977 he was in the majors by 1980.  He worked out of the pen, but on Billy Martin's staff that meant infrequent work since the starters completed 94 of 162 starts!  Jones was second on the team with 5 saves and logged a 2.84 ERA in 44.1 innings.
Jones led A's reliever's  in '81 with 61 innings, averaged two innings per game, and posted a 3.39 ERA.  Jones scuffled mightily in '82 as he allowed 70 baserunners in 37 innings. 
He spent more time in AAA than Oakland the next two years pitching just 13 games for the big league A's each year.  His 5.76 ERA in '83 was a career worst and despite lowering it to 3.55 in '84 his major league career came to end when he was released after the season.

Flipside: Jones made only three starts in his career and despite being used primarily as a reliever he fared pretty well.  The May 1 highlight was his only start in '82 and he allowed two runs in five innings.  He allowed three runs over 10.1 innings in his two other starts.
Oddball: Jones tied Dave Beard for the team lead in saves for the A's in 1981 with three.  Yes, three saves led the team as the A's notched just ten saves all year.  It was a strike shortened season so the A's played only 109 games.  Another factor was that if it was close, skipper Billy Martin  left his starter in the game and A's sore armed starters completed 60 games.
History:  Jones finished his career with a 9-9 record, 8 saves, and a 3.95 ERA (95 ERA+) in 205 innings of work.  He had a relitively short career and after the A's let him go he pitched in the minors through the '87 season.  
Jones' last days as a pitcher were spent in the system of his hometown Detroit Tigers.  He parlayed that into a coaching career that saw him rise through the ranks and become the Tigers pitching coach midyear in 2011.

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