Baltimore Orioles Centerfielder Adam Jones – Trajectory on Point
Food for thought for those of you who tend to disregard Adam Jones’ dual accomplishments last season of making the All Star team and winning a Gold Glove. He had an historic season, one that should be remembered fondly for a long time by Orioles fans.
Adam Jones’ range factor per nine innings in 2009 was higher than any season Paul Blair had in his career.
2009 Jones = 3.21
1974 Blair = 3.18
1976 Blair = 3.17
1970 Blair = 3.13
1973 Blair = 3.00
Now I’ll return the forum to the people who want to argue that how many plays a guy actually makes is “meaningless” compared to how many the latest alphabet soup says he coulda woulda shoulda caught. Then when they get tired of that, they can return to arguing how wins are “meaningless” etc. I’m kidding, but only half kidding.
Just to follow this up, I looked at 56 years of Baltimore Orioles centerfielders, 1954-2009.
Here are the top range factors per 9 innings based on playing at least half the club’s innings at the position:
3.22 – Al Bumbry (1982)
3.21 – Adam Jones (2009)
3.18 – Paul Blair (1974)
3.17 – Paul Blair (1976)
3.16 – Al Bumbry (1980)
3.13 – Paul Blair (1970)
3.06 – Chuck Diering (1954)
3.04 – Jim Busby (1957)
3.04 – John Shelby (1984)
3.01 – Mike Devereaux (1990)
3.00 – Paul Blair (1973)
Say what you will,but that’s pretty good company. Jonesy had a helluva year.
In the modern Orioles 56 seasons in the American League, they’ve been represented on an All-Star team by 60 players, most recently Adam Jones in 2009. At 23 years young when he notched the GWRBI for the AL with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly, Jones’ youth at the time of his first All Star selection bodes well for his big league future. Only five players made their first All Star appearances in Baltimore Orioles uniforms at a younger age than Jones: Two Hall of Famers, a guy who got traded for another, and a pair of kid pitchers who flamed out early due to arm trouble.
Right-hander Jerry Walker was the youngest Orioles All Star ever, just 20 years young when he started and won for the American League in 1959. He went the distance for a 16-inning Baltimore victory less than six weeks later, never looked the same and was out of the big leagues to stay by age 25. One year after Walker, the Orioles sent 22-year-old Chuck Estrada to the Midsummer Classic, and he too had his career cut short by injury. Four Baltimore pitchers earned All Star selections when –like Adam Jones– they were 23. Starters Bob Turley and Milt Pappas, both successful big leaguers, did it in 1954 and 1962 respectively. Closer Gregg Olson did it in his sophomore season of 1990, while borderline Cooperstown candidate Mike Mussina was the last to do it, in 1992.
When you look at position players, Jones’ peers as 23-year-old All Stars include Bobby Grich, who started at SS for the AL in 1972 before returning to the Game five more times as a second-baseman in his 17-year career. Catcher Andy Etchebarren was on the American League squad a couple times early in his 15 seasons in the majors. You may have heard of the other guy, too. Fellow named Brooks Robinson.
Shortstop Ron Hansen was 22 when he started for the American League during his Rookie-of-the-Year campaign of 1960. He never got back to the Midsummer Classic and got traded in a deal for Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio a couple years later, but carved out a 15-year major league career. The only other Orioles to make an All Star team when they were so young? Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken.
So congratulations again, Adam Jones! Big tings a gwan in 2010.
Oh, and one last thing. I still think this should be Adam Jones’ at-bat music. One of you twitterers let him know it’s the peoples’ choice: