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Sam Jones (baseball)

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Title: Sam Jones (baseball)  
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Collection: 1925 Births, 1971 Deaths, African-American Baseball Players, Atlanta Crackers Players, Baltimore Orioles Players, Baseball Players from Ohio, Burials at Woodlawn Cemetery (Fairmont, West Virginia), Cancer Deaths in West Virginia, Cangrejeros De Santurce (Baseball) Players, Caribbean Series Players, Chicago Cubs Players, Cleveland Buckeyes Players, Cleveland Indians Players, Columbus Jets Players, Detroit Tigers Players, Indianapolis Indians Players, Louisville Buckeyes Players, Major League Baseball Pitchers, National League All-Stars, National League Era Champions, National League Strikeout Champions, National League Wins Champions, Negro League Baseball Players, Oakland Larks Players, People from Belmont County, Ohio, San Diego Padres (Minor League) Players, San Francisco Giants Players, St. Louis Cardinals Players, Toronto Maple Leafs (International League) Players, Wilkes-Barre Indians Players
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Sam Jones (baseball)

Sam Jones
Pitcher
Born: (1925-12-14)December 14, 1925
Stewartsville, Ohio
Died: November 5, 1971(1971-11-05) (aged 45)
Morgantown, West Virginia
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 22, 1951, for the Cleveland Indians
Last MLB appearance
October 3, 1964, for the Baltimore Orioles
MLB statistics
Win–loss record 102–101
Earned run average 3.59
Strikeouts 1,376
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Samuel Jones (December 14, 1925 – November 5, 1971), known during his career as "Toothpick Sam" Jones or "Sad Sam" Jones, was a Major League Baseball pitcher who played from 1951 to 1964.

Born in Stewartsville, Ohio, Jones began his major league career with the Cleveland Indians in 1951. When he entered a game on May 3, 1952, 39-year-old rookie Quincy Trouppe, a Negro League veteran, was behind the plate. Together they formed the first black battery in American League history. Both Sam Jones and Quincy Trouppe played for the Cleveland Buckeyes in the Negro League

After the 1954 season, the Tribe traded him to the Chicago Cubs for two players to be named later, one of who was slugger Ralph Kiner. In 1956, the Cubs traded him to the St. Louis Cardinals in a multi-player deal; prior to the 1959 season, he was dealt once again, this time to the San Francisco Giants for Bill White and Ray Jablonski. He was picked 25th by the expansion Houston Colt .45s in the 1961 expansion draft, then traded to the Detroit Tigers for Bob Bruce and Manny Montejo. He rejoined the Cardinals for the 1963 campaign and played 1964 with the Baltimore Orioles. He spent the final three years of his pro career as a relief pitcher with the Columbus Jets of the International League before retiring at the end of the 1967 season.

During his career, Jones was known for his sweeping curveball, in addition to a fastball and changeup. Stan Musial once remarked, "Sam had the best curveball I ever saw... He was quick and fast and that curve was terrific, so big it was like a change of pace. I've seen guys fall down on curves that became strikes." [1]

During his career, Jones led the National League in strikeouts, and walks, three times: in 1955, 1956, and 1958. On May 12 of the former of these three seasons, he no-hit the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0 at Wrigley Field, becoming the first African American in Major League history to pitch a no-hitter. He achieved this no-hitter in the hardest way: after walking Gene Freese, Preston Ward (who was pinch-run for by Román Mejías) and Tom Saffell to begin the ninth inning, he left the bases loaded by striking out Dick Groat, Roberto Clemente and Frank Thomas in succession. His greatest year came with the Giants in 1959, when he led the league in both wins with 21 (tying him with Milwaukee Braves starters Lew Burdette and Warren Spahn) and ERA with 2.83. He was named 1959 National League Pitcher of the Year by The Sporting News, but finished a distant second to Early Wynn of the Chicago White Sox for the Cy Young Award. He was named to the NL All-Star team twice, in 1955 and 1959.

Jones died from a recurrence of neck cancer first diagnosed in 1962, in Morgantown, West Virginia at the age of 45.

References

  1. ^ The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers: An Historical Compendium of Pitching, Pitchers, and Pitches. Bill James and Rob Neyer. 2004.

External links

  • SABR Biography Project
  • Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
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