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Sunday, February 18, 2024

Todd Jones fulfilled potential over 16 ML seasons, 319 saves

Todd Jones 1990 Osceola Astros card

Todd Jones had some control problems his final year of college at Jacksonville State, The Atlanta Journal wrote in June 1989.

His body of work, though, still got him selected late in the first round.

"I had a real up-and-down year," Jones told The Journal after his selection. "But professional scouts look more to what you are going to be able to do than what your statistics are."

For Jones, what he was able to do turned out not only to make the majors, but remain there for 16 seasons. He also became among the top closers in the game.

Jones' career began that year in 1989, taken by the Astros 27th overall out of Jacksonville State.

Jones started at short-season Auburn. He made high-A Osceola for 1990, then AA Jackson for 1991 and AAA Tucson and then Houston in 1993.

"I wasn't expecting this at all," Jones told The Atlanta Constitution after his callup in July. "I was kind of walking on air. But it's starting to sink in now."

Jones saw 27 relief appearances with two saves that first year. He then saved five in 1994, then 15 in 1995. Jones saved at least 10 games in 11 of his 16 seasons.

He moved to the Tigers for 1997 in a trade and saved 31 in 68 appearances. Jones impressed out of spring training, The Detroit Free Press wrote.

"If there's one guy that's caught my attention in camp so far, it's Jones," Detroit manager Buddy Bell told The Free Press. "I'm really impressed with his stuff."

He saved 28 in 1998, 30 in 1999 and then 42 in 2000. He also made the All-Star team in 2000.

He saw 69 outings between Detroit and Minnesota in 2001, 79 in 2002 with Colorado, 59 between Colorado and Boston in 2003 and 78 in 2004 between Cincinnati and Philadelphia, while not closing.

Jones returned to closing in 2004 with Florida, saving 40. He saved 37 and 38 in 2006 and 2007 back with Detroit. He then ended his career with 45 outings, 18 saves with Detroit in 2008.

He saved 319 total games over his career.

Going into 2008, Jones spoke to The Free Press about his philosophy, calling it "Christian-based."

"I still mess up all the time. I'm not perfect," Jones told The Free Press. "But I try to be accountable. I try to reflect what I try to believe in."

Jones is serving in 2024 as a Tigers TV analyst for Bally Sports.

Todd Jones 1990 Osceola Astros card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,311
Made the Majors:1,395-32.4%-X
Never Made Majors:2,916-67.2%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:568-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:349

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