Feb 10, 2016

2000 N.L. Champion Mets Pitcher: Bobby Jones (1993-2000)

Robert Joseph Jones was born on February 10, 1970 in Tom Seaver’s hometown of Fresno, California. There he attended Fresno high, the same high school as Seaver.

The six foot four right handed Jones, became the Mets first round compensatory pick in the 1991 draft (36th pick overall) when Daryl Strawberry left for free agency. The next year he was the AA Eastern League Pitcher of the Year going 12-4 with a 1.88 ERA at Binghamton. In 1993 Jones went 12-10 with a 3.63 ERA in 24 games, at AAA Norfolk getting a call up to the Mets staff that August. 

The right handed Bobby Jones made his debut on August 14, 1993 at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia beating the Phillies, allowing just one run over six innings. He lost his next two decisions, but in his last outing of the season he pitched ten innings of shutout ball against the St. Louis Cardinals at Shea Stadium. He struck out nine batters, but got no decision, in the 1-0 Mets extra inning win. He finished up the year at 2-4 with a 3.65 ERA. Jones would spend eight seasons with New York, putting up some good numbers & pitching some fine games for the Mets during the mid nineties into the new millennium.

In 1994 Jones was one of the Mets top pitchers, second to Bret Saberhagen; winning 12 games with a .632 winning %. He started the third game of the Mets season, with a 4-1 win at Wrigley Field, beating the Cubs. After losing to the Cubs at Shea, he earned two more wins closing out April 3-1 with a 3.16 ERA.

On May 7th he pitched an eight hit shut out against the Cardinals in St. Louis. He closed out the month with two wins where pitched eight innings in both outings, besting his record to 6-4. After a rough June, he ended the strike shortened season with five straight winning decisions from July 1st through August 8th. Throughout the year he had three separate eight inning shutout performances. He was among the league’s top ten in winning percentage (.632%) innings (160) games (24) and ERA (3.15). 

In 1995 he got the Opening Day start in Colorado, taking the 11-9 loss to the Rockies. Jones then won three straight games in May, allowing just two earned runs over 23 innings pitched, recording 12 strike outs.

He was streaky through the rest of the year, having his worst stretch in June into July, when he lost four straight decisions. In September he won two straight games, highlighted by a September 8th, three hit shutout, where he struck out six Montreal Expos at Stade Olymique. For the second place ' 95 Mets that went 69-75, Jones led the team in wins (10) ERA (4.19) starts (30) strikeouts (127) losses (10) & earned runs (91). 
 In 1996 he was the Mets Opening Day starter once again, facing the St. Louis Cardinals. he had a bad day, as he allowed six early runs & was gone by the fourth inning. After losing his next start he got hot, winning his next five decisions. On May 10th he pitched an eighth inning, four hit shutout against the Chicago Cubs at Shea Stadium, followed up by a five hit eight inning shutout against the San Diego Padres on May 2th, also at home.

He struggled at .500 most of the rest of the year, but by mid August he was the Mets top pitcher with 11 wins (11-7). He only earned one more victory along the way in September, finishing the season at 12-8 second on the staff to Mark Clark in wins. He was the only other starter on the staff to have double figures in wins. Jones also had 116 strikeouts with 46 walks in 195 innings pitched, while posting a 4.42 ERA with three complete games. 

1997 would be Jones’ best season, as the Mets finished third going 88-74 in the NL East. This year he started the third game of the year & pitched eight strong innings, allowing just one run, beating the Padres in San Diego 4-1. As the Mets moved up the coast to Los Angeles, Jones pitched another eight inning victory, this time allowing three runs. After going 3-2 in April, he won his next eight games while earning the Pitcher of the Month Award for that May. That month he was 5-0 allowing just five earned runs in 39 innings pitched, striking out 21 batters. On May 28th he struck out seven Expos, pitching a four hit 7-0 shutout in Montreal. 

All Star: Jones was named to the All Star team, and struck out Ken Griffey Jr. & Mark McGwire in the 8th inning of that All Star game played at Jacobs Field in Cleveland. 
 His second half was not as good as his first half, but he finished the year at 15-9 (9th most wins in the NL), with a 3.63 ERA, striking out 125 batters while walking 63 in 193 innings.

He threw two complete games & had one shut out. With that shut out, he had four straight seasons of at least one. That season manager Dallas Green was fired as Mets manager & Bobby Valentine took over changing the face of the organization. 
 Bobby Jones got the Opening Day start from Bobby Valentine in 1998, he pitched six innings of shutout ball against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Mets bats were shut down by Curt Schilling who tossed eight innings of two hit shutout ball himself. The Mets won the game 1-0 in 14 innings on Alberto Castillo's RBI single.

The rest of the year would be literally a .500 season for Jones, as he became the number three man behind Al Leiter & Rick Reed. He went 9-9 with a 4.05 ERA, striking out 115 batters in 195 innings pitched. Jones then seemed to start slowly fading away as the Mets staff got stronger. 


In 1999 he was 3-0 at the start of the season, winning his first three starts going an impressive seven innings each time. But he soon fell to 3-3 and complained of having a dead arm. An MRI revealed he had strained his rotator cuff & he was placed on the DL, then sent down to AAA Norfolk for rehab. He went 2-2 for the Tides, pitching in four games. He would only pitched in 12 games for the 1999 Wild Card Champion Mets, as he resurfaced in September but did not make the post season roster.

In 2000 he started out the year at 0-2 and was the Mets number five starter, on a very good staff. He lost his first start of the year, getting shut out by the Padres 4-0. He made just six starts in the first two months, going 1-1 as he beat Arizona on May 19th.

In June he was 4-4 just getting by for the first four months of the season. But then at the end of July through the end of the season, Jones went on a roll with the help of plenty of run support. He pitched well enough to go 8-1 during that stretch. 

Although in the end he put up one of the worst ERAs of his career (5.06) & led the team in earned runs allowed (87). He finished the 2000 Mets NL pennant season at 11-6 with 85 strikeouts & 49 walks pitching in 154 innings (27 starts). During the season The Mets added the left handed Bobby Jones to the roster, only to confuse the broadcasters & score cards even more. 

 Post Season: It was in the 2000 that postseason Jones had the finest monet of his career & put up one of the teams best ever pitching performances.

In Game #4 of the NLDS at Shea Stadium, Jones threw a one hit shutout beating the San Francisco Giants to advance the Mets to the NLCS for the second year in a row. Jones struck out five Giants that night, walked two and allowed only a Jeff Kent double in the 5th inning for the only hit. That was the same inning he allowed the two walks, otherwise he was perfect the rest of the game.

The rest of his post season wasn’t as good. In the NLCS Game #4 he allowed six runs in four innings of work, against the St. Louis Cardinals. He earned no decision in Game #4 at Shea Stadium, as the Mets would go on to a 10-6 win. In the 2000 Subway Series, he took the 3-2 loss in Game #4 at Shea Stadium, allowing three earned runs in five innings of work. 

Jones pitched well enough to spend eight seasons in New York and in that time go 74-56 with a 4.13 ERA. His 74 Mets victories ranks him ninth on the Mets all time top ten list.

He would pitch four shut outs & strike out 714 batters (9th on the Mets all time list), while walking 353 (11th on the Mets all time list) in 1215 innings (9th on the Mets all time list) over 190 starts (8th on the Mets all time list). 

On the down side he did give up a lot of hits; 1255 (6th most in Mets history) & many runs; 628 (fifth most in Mets history). He also posted some high ERA’s, going over the four mark in five seasons & over the five mark twice. He also averaged over 20 HRs allowed each season. 

Jones was granted free agency in November 2000 and he signed on with the San Diego Padres. He had a horrible first year in San Diego leading the NL in losses (19) & HRs allowed (37) posting a 5.12 ERA.

On September 3rd he was on the losing end of Bud Smith's no hitter losing 4-0 to the St. Louis Cardinals. The next season 2002, he went 7-8 and finished his playing career at the age of 32. 

In his ten year career he went 89-83 with a 4.36 ERA, 887 strikeouts & 412 walks in 1518 innings pitched over 245 games. He made 241 starts, completing 11 games with four shut outs.

Trivia: Jones is into cooking & enters many cooking competitions. His specialty is BBQ style, ribs & brisket.

He also is an avid wine collector & has made his own vintage wines.

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