A New Project for 2011: “Today’s Tiger”

Today I’m launching a project that I’ve wanted to explore since I started The Daily Fungo in March 2006. I’m calling it Today’s Tiger, a daily look at a Tigers player from the past, posted each day of 2011. Some installments will be brief, others more in-depth but hopefully you’ll learn a little bit about Tigers history and the players that’ve worn Olde English D.

Let me know what you think — and feel free to suggest players you’d like me to highlight.

So, with that, here’s the first installment.

Lynn Jones

  • Born: Jan. 1, 1953 in Meadville, PA
  • Acquired: Drafted from the Reds in the 1978 rule 5 draft, Dec. 4, 1978.
  • Seasons in Detroit: 5 (1979-83)
  • Uniform number: 35 
  • Stats: .264 avg., 6 HR, 71 RBI, .658 OPS

The Tigers selected Lynn Jones from the Reds in the December 1978 Rule 5 Draft and, as they were required to do, kept him on the 25-man roster the entire 1979 season. In 95 games that year Jones batted .296 with four home runs, seeing time mostly in the outfield but also as a pinch-hitter.

Jones was a role player and pinch hitter for Sparky Anderson’s earliest Detroit teams, posting a decent on-base percentage in his first three seasons. The 1982 and ’83 seasons, though, saw his production slip and as a result his playing time was limited to 64 at bats in ’83.

That offseason the Tigers made him a free agent and he promptly signed with the Royals. In 1984, Jones hit a career-high .301 in a similar role to what he played in Detroit. He faced his former team in the American League Championship Series, going just 1 for 5.

The next season Jones appeared in 110 games for Dick Howser‘s Royals — a career high — but saw his average plummet 90 points. It wasn’t a total downer though, he won a World Series ring that year and had two extra-base hits in the Series against the Cardinals.

1986 would be his final big-league season — and his worst statistically. He hit .128 in 67 games with a single RBI and after that season he became a free agent but didn’t sign with another team.

Jones was the Royals’ first base coach in 1991 and 1992 before managing in the Marlins system. In 2001, he was the Marlins’ first-base coach. He earned his second World Series ring in 2004 as a member of Terry Francona‘s coaching staff in Boston. Today he’s the Braves’ baserunning coordinator.

Happy New Year’s Birthday, Lynn Jones

LynnJones.jpgNappy New Year to you and Happy 56th Birthday to former Tigers outfielder Lynn Jones.

The Tigers selected Jones from the Reds in the 1978 Rule 5 Draft. He played for the Tigers from 1979 through 1983 and was a part-timer’s part-timer. He appeared in an average of 61 games for the Tigers in those five seasons. His best season was 1979 when he hit .296 with four homers and 26 RBI in 95 games.

After the 1983 season the Tigers granted free agency to Jones and he signed with the Royals. He faced the Tigers in the ’84 ALCS and won a World Series with K.C. in 1985.

Final stats for his eight-year career: 527 games, 239 hits, seven homers (six with Detroit), and a .252 average.

Happy Birthday, old number 35.

P.S. Today also marks the birthday of Tigers Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg.