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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Motorboat Jones, Trying To Hit - 22

Originally published Jan. 14, 2011
Motorboat Jones hit six home runs all of 1992. But two of them came in the same game, that May, in a game against the South Atlantic League's Rainbows.

He also had a single, and nearly hit a third home run that went just foul, The Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier wrote.

"I don't think they underestimated my power," Jones told The Post and Courier after the game. "I don't think anybody comes into this yard thinking they can hit it out. I was just up there trying to hit."

Jones would know about that park, and the others in the South Atlantic League. He had been there before, with the Wheelers in West Virginia two years earlier and at Greensboro in 1989.

Jones, the player with a dynamic nickname, was in his sixth minor league season in 1992, but he had yet to play above single-A. He would play above single-A only once, for 26 games the next season at AA Chattanooga.

He would also make one last run at the majors in spring 1995, with replacement ball, his career ending later that year in independent ball with Jones having to come to the realization that he would never make it to the bigs.

Jones' career began in 1987, selected by the Reds in the 12th round out of high school. By then he already had that nickname, Motorboat.

Born Eugene Jones, he gained the moniker "Motorboat" as a child from his grandmother, he later told Sports Illustrated, because he made sounds like a motor. And it stuck.

"My mom calls me Motor," Jones told SI in July 1992, "and my teammates call me Boat."

Jones played his first two seasons at rookie ball in the Gulf Coast League. He hit .262 and .242 respectively. He first made the South Atlantic League in 1989, at the Reds' team in Greensboro. He hit .251 with five home runs. He also had 16 stolen bases.

Jones split 1990 between the South Atlantic League Charleston (W.V.) Wheelers and the Midwest League Cedar Rapids Reds. Between them, he hit .252 with 33 stolen bases and four home runs. He knocked in two of his 69 RBIs that year on a May double with Charleston.

He spent all of 1991 back at Cedar Rapids, then all of 1992 back at Charleston. He tripled in a run in a July 1992 game. He hit a two run shot for Charleston in an August contest.

For 1993, Jones made it out of single-A, to high-A Winston-Salem. He hit .300 with 19 home runs and earned that 26-game look at AA Chattanooga. He hit .225 at AA, but in his debut for the Lookouts, Jones went 4-for-6, according to The Gadsden Times.

But it was his final year in affiliated ball. The next season, Jones was in the independent North Central League, playing for Brainerd Bears and the Marshall Mallards.

He returned for spring 1995 with the Reds, as a replacement player. He told The Times later that he signed up to be a replacement because he needed the money.

There, he had the opportunity to hit against his brother, Dennis "Speedboat" Jones. Motorboat drew a walk. He later hit a three-run home run in another game.

To The Associated Press late that spring, Motorboat said he tried not to think about what would happen.

"You can't worry about what you can't control," Jones told The AP.

The strike over, Jones later played 19 games at independent Saskatoon, ending his career.

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