Feb 13, 2016

Original 1962 Met Turned Police Officer & Senator: Sherman Jones (1962)

Sherman Jarvis Jones was born on February 10, 1935 in Winton, North Carolina. The six foot four right handed pitcher was originally signed by the New York Giants in 1953. He spent the rest of the fifties in the minor leagues winning ten games twice in that time period. There he earned the nickname "road block" when he helped stop a team losing streak.

In 1960 he won ten games going 10-0 in the Pacific Coast League with AAA Tacoma, getting him his chance to pitch in the big leagues. Jones debuted with the San Francisco Giants pitching in 16 games of relief going 1-0 with a save, finishing up eight games overall posting a 3.09 ERA. He got traded to the Cincinnati Reds in May of 1961 to complete an earlier deal that sent Don Blasingame and Bob Schmidt to Cincinnati for Ed Bailey.

Jones pitched in 24 games of relief for the ’61 NL Champion Reds, going 1-1 with two saves and a 4.42 ERA. He got to pitch two thirds of an inning in the 1961 World Series, retiring two batters.

Jones was then drafted by the New York Mets in the 1961 expansion draft (34th pick overall) becoming an original Met in the 1962 inagural season. In Spring Training he took a line drive to the leg which put him on crutches for over a week. Manager Casey Stengel originally wanted Jones to pitch the clubs first game, so the so called ace of the staff, Roger Craig could start the home Opener at New York.

But in another of the many classic '62 Mets tales, Jones suffered a freak accident when a lit match flew off the cover & struck him in the eye. His start had to be moved ahead, & Craig pitched the Mets first historic game.

Jones started the third game in Mets history on April 13, 1962, which was the team's first ever home game, played at the Polo Grounds. He pitched well, against the Pittsburgh Pirates allowing two runs in five innings of work that day.

The first run (Smokey Burgess) scored on a Don Hoak double, Burgess had reached base on an infield hit, when Charlie Neal's throw pulled the first baseman off the bag. Hoak then scored when Bill Mazeroski's fly ball fell between Ritchie Ashburn & Gus Bell. Bell had waved off Ashburn but as it ended up couldn't make the play after all. Sherman Jones was the pitcher of record that day & took the loss in front of the 12,447 fans on the historic rainy afternoon in New York.

It was also Jones who got the first Mets hit at the Polo Grounds that day, when he singled in the third inning off Tom Sturdivant. In his next outing, the St. Louis Cards beat him up for six runs over four innings & it would be his last start as he was moved to the bull pen.

He lost two more games there & was sent back to the minors at the end of May, getting back as a September call up at the end of the season. He would go 12-6 for the Mets at A ball in Raleigh the following year posting a good 2.10 ERA but never got called up to the big leagues again. He played two more minor league seasons before he retired from baseball in 1965.

Jones had spent12 years in the minor leagues going 84-63 with a 3.96 ERA pitching 289 games. In the majors he pitched 48 games going 2-6 with three saves in 110 innings posting a 4.73 ERA.

Retirement: At age 30 Jones started a second career as a Police officer in Kansas City Missouri, and would stay on the KC Police force for twenty two years.

After that he was elected to the Kansas Legislature of Wyandotte County, serving in the House of Representatives from 1989 to 1992. He then served in the Senate from 1993-2001. Mr. Jones had quite a career going from an original Met to a policeman to a politician.

In 2007 he passed away at the University of Kansas Medical Center, at the age of 72.

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