- January 12, 1950
- 178 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 6-16-1973 with SDN
- Allstar Selections:
- 1976 CY, 1976 TSN
A poised, fast-working control pitcher and a master of the slider and sinker, Jones won the 1976 NL Cy Young Award, going 22-14 for the Padres with league highs in wins, starts, complete games, and innings. That year, he tied Christy Mathewson's NL record of 68 innings without issuing a walk and became the first NL pitcher since WWII to win 20 and not strike out 100. With a 20-12 record and an ERA title (2.24) the previous season, Jones finished second to Tom Seaver in Cy Young voting, making him only the second pitcher to be runner-up one year and win the award the next (Mike Marshall was the other). He tied for most losses in the NL in 1974, when he went 8-22, and his 1975 performance won him TSN's NL Comeback Player of the Year Award. He stopped the AL in the ninth inning of the 1975 All-Star Game and was the starter and winner in the 1976 contest. The owner of two one-hitters, Jones established a Padre record by hurling three consecutive shutouts in May 1980. He was often injured and generally ineffective after his trade to the Mets following the 1980 season, and he had trouble winning at Shea Stadium even in periods when he was pitching well on the road.
Jones established the ML season record for most chances accepted by a pitcher without an error (112 in 1976), tied ML pitchers' records for highest season fielding percentage (1.000, 1976) and most assists in an inning (3, 9/28/75), and tied the NL pitchers' season record for the most double plays (12, 1976).
Jones was drafted Five Round by the San Diego Padres in the 1972 Major League Baseball Draft. His major league debut on June 16, 1973.
In 1974, Jones went 8-22 with a 4.45 ERA. He was able to turn it around in 1975 when he won 20 games and led the National League with a 2.24 ERA earning The Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year Award honors. His best season was in 1976, when he went 22-14 with a 2.74 ERA, winning the National League Cy Young Award and being named The Sporting News NL Pitcher of the Year. He was selected as the left-handed pitcher on The Sporting News NL All-Star Teams after the 1975 and 1976 seasons.
Jones established the Major League season record for most chances accepted by a pitcher without an error (112 in 1976), tied ML pitchers records for highest season fielding percentage (1.000, 1976) and most assists in an inning (3, 9/28/75 - 3rd inning), and tied the NL pitchers season record for the most double plays with 12 in 1976.
Jones owns the distinction of recording a save for the NL in the 1975 All Star game and being the starting and winning pitcher the next year. He entered the 1976 All-Star Game with a record of 16-3, an All Star break win total that no one has equaled since. During his last start of the 1976 season, he injured a nerve in his pitching arm that required exploratory surgery, and he was never quite able to regain his Cy Young form.
Jones pitched effectively for San Diego through the 1980 season. On December 15, 1980, he was traded to the New York Mets. After the 1982 season, Jones signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He was released by the Pirates before the 1983 season started, thus ending his playing career.
His career win-loss record was just 100-123; he remains the only Cy Young winner with a losing record (among starting pitchers who played their whole career in the major leagues). He was named an All-Star in 1975 and 1976. After his retirement, Jones' uniform #35 was retired by the Padres.
Post-playing career: Coaching and Catering
After retiring from Major League Baseball, Jones has coached young pitchers. His most prominent pupil was Barry Zito, a current Major League pitcher with the San Francisco Giants and the 2002 Cy Young Award winner while with the Oakland Athletics. He also is the owner of Randy Jones All American Grill, Randy Jones Big Stone Lodge, the home of his catering business Randy Jones Buckboard Catering. The Big Stone Lodge also sells a barbecue sauce that bears Jones' name. Jones also is involved in the San Diego Padres local radio broadcast pregame show.
In 1996, Jones was also inducted by the San Diego Hall of Champions into the Breitbard Hall of Fame honoring San Diego's finest athletes both on and off the playing surface.
Jones can be heard live, every Tuesday at 1:00-2:00 (PST) on wsRadio.com. "Randy Jones on Baseball" covers everything baseball from his Hall of Fame/Legendary guests, to the latest news and an inside look at the Major League Season.
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- Randy Jones