Originally published March 4, 2012
Jimmy Jones' debut could hardly have gotten better.
Pitching for the Padres in September 1986, Jones threw a complete-game shutout, facing just one batter over the minimum, for a one-hitter.
"My family was here, so I wanted to do halfway decent," Jones told reporters
afterward. "I was pretty nervous, but I guess that is pretty normal. I
tried just to get past the first hitter and when I did, I knew I'd be
It was the start of a career that saw Jones play in eight major league seasons, not ending until 1993.
Jones' path to that major league debut began in 1982, taken by the Padres in the first round of the draft, third overall, out of Jefferson High School in Dallas.
He started at short-season Walla Walla, going 4-6 in 14 starts. He made AA Beaumont in 1984 then AAA Las Vegas in 1986. That September, he made San Diego.
debuted with the Padres with the stellar Sept. 21 outing. His second
outing, though, wasn't as good. On Sept. 26, Jones went just two
innings, giving up three earned runs. getting a no-decision.
ended the year with three starts, and a 2-0 record. Coming into 1987,
Jones hoped to secure a spot in the Padres rotation out of spring
training. But, this time, Jones' nerves got the best of him, pitching his way back to the minors.
"I was more nervous in the first inning today than in my whole life," Jones told The Los Angeles Times
after a late-spring start where he gave up three runs in four innings.
Jones was nervous because he'd heard on the radio that day's start would
be an important one.
After spending April back at AAA, Jones returned to San Diego for May. He got into 30 games, 22 of them starts. He went 9-7, with a 4.14 ERA.
In 1988, Jones got 29 starts with the Padres, going 9-14, with a 4.12 ERA. That July, though, Jones returned to form, throwing a complete-game, six-hitter in a 6-2 win.
off-season, though, the Padres sent Jones to the Yankees in a
five-player deal. Coming out of spring in 1989, Jones found himself back
in the minors. He also found himself upset at the decision.
"They told me I'd be more prepared by starting regularly in Columbus. They're the bosses," Jones told The South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
"I'd rather be here. If I was pitching in relief, I'd get my chances.
The big leagues is the only place to be, no matter what your position
Jones ended up getting into 11 games with the Yankees that year, six starts. In 1990, he got into 17 games, seven starts.
moved to the Astros for 1991 and 1992. In 1993, his final season, Jones
played with the Expos. He went 4-1 with Montreal that final year, with a 6.35 ERA.
In recent years, Jones has turned to coaching. For 2012, he's headed into his second season as pitching coach in San Antonio for the AA Missions.