Mar 17, 2016

Mid Nineties Mets Player With Five Walk Off Game Winning Hits: Chris Jones (1995-1996)

Christopher Carlos Jones was born on December 16th, 1965 in Utica, New York. The six foot, two right hand hitting outfielder, attended Liverpool High School , where he was signed as a third round draft pick for the Cincinnati Reds in 1984. He spent eight years in the minor leagues before making it to the Reds in 1991. 

He spent time between Cincinnati & the minors leagues that year, hitting two HRs for the Reds that September. In December he was released & then signed with the Houston Astros. He played with Houston through July but only batted .190, getting sent back down. He was released & then signed on with the Colorado Rockies in 1993. On June 6th of that year he had big day hitting two HRs in a loss at Philadelphia. In 86 games played that year he hit 6 HRs with 11 doubles & 31 RBIs while batting .273. 

The next year he hit 20 HRs at AAA Colorado Springs, while driving in 75 runs. He got back to the Rockies & batted .300 there in 42 games. He was granted free agency there & signed on with the New York Mets that off season. He began 1995 at AAA Norfolk, where he hit .333 in 33 games which got him a promotion to the Mets team by mid May. 

Jones debuted as a Met on May 16th 1995, getting a base hit in his first at bat. In that game he scored the only run in a Bobby Jones 1-0 win over the Houston Astros. Later that month he hit HRs in consecutive games he played in, on a home stand against the San Francisco Giants. On May 31st he had one of his finest Mets moment, as he hit a tenth inning walk off HR against the Padres Trevor Hoffman, in a 6-5 Mets comeback win. Jones kept his average up at .338 by the end of June, closing out the month with a three run HR in Florida against the Marlins in an 8-3 Mets win. 

Jones was producing for New York, in mid July he drove in runs in six of seven games. On July 19th he hit an eighth inning HR off Rene Arocha in St. Louis, tying up the game which lead to a Mets extra inning win over the Cardinals. On July 29th he got his second walk off game winning HR of the season, this time off the Pirates Ross Powell in a 2-1 Mets victory over Pittsburgh. 

 In August he had yet another walk off hit, it came as a pinch hitter on August 24th, in a game against the San Diego Padres. The Mets entered the 9th inning down 4-2, but tied it up against Trevor Hoffman, knocking him out of the game. As Jones came up pinch hitting for Don Florence, he singled home Ryan Thompson with the game winning run. He saw little playing time in September, finishing the year batting .280 with 8 HRs six doubles, 31 RBIs & a .327 on base % or the second place Mets. 

 In 1996 he appeared as an Opening Day pinch hitter, coming through with an RBI single off the Cardinals Rick Honeycutt in the four run Mets seventh inning. The Mets went on to a 7-6 win. On April 23rd, Jones had his first walk off HR of the new season, a two run shot off the Cincinnati Reds Jeff Shaw, in an 8-6 Met win. On June 1st his sixth inning sac fly brought home what turned out to be the winning run in a 4-3 win over the L.A. Dodgers. Incredibly, he had another walk off HR in late July. On July 31st Jones hit a two run walk off HR against the Pittsburgh Pirates Dan Pleasac for a 3-2 Mets win. 

He saw action mostly as a pinch hitter the rest of the year finishing up with a .242 average. He hit four HRs with seven doubles & drove in 18 runs in 89 games. Even after all his heroic late inning hits, he was let go to free agency after the season. He signed on with the San Diego Padres playing in 92 games with 7 HRs 25 RBIs & a .243 average. 

In 1998 he played his last MLB season with the Arizona Diamond backs & San Francisco Giants. In a nine year career Jones batted .252 with 30 HRs 43 doubles 11 triples 131 RBIs & a .303 on base %. 

Retirement: Jones played for the Independent League Newark Bears where he eventually became the teams manager. From there he managed an Independent team in South Carolina in 2007.

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