Friday, November 07, 2008

Phillies Phlashback Phriday: Willie Jones

Here at WSBGM's we consider ourselves to be a fan-friendly blog and therefore I am going to share a story (received via email) with you from loyal reader and occasional commenter Burton.

My grandfather is a die-hard Braves fan. If he used the Internet, he would probably have his own blog and call it We Should Fire Bobby Cox. Anyway, for as long as I can remember he was a Braves fan, which, lead to my indoctrination at an early age. The other day, I found out that this was not always the case. From the 1940's through the early 60's, he was a true Phillies Phan. I never knew this, so I asked him why. He told me that he grew up and played baseball with an early Phillies All-Star, Willie Jones, and used to follow his career with the Phillies.

My grandfather grew up in Laurinburg, NC which sits on the border with South Carolina. He used to play baseball for his community when he was young, and for his high school later on. Willie Jones was born in Dillon, SC which is about 15 miles from Laurinburg. When they were both boys, they played baseball against each other, and eventually became good friends. My grandfather and his friends all called him "Puddin' Head". When they reached high school, they were both playing third base for their respective teams. Because they were good friends, they would try to hit the ball at each other just for fun. During one game, Willie hit a line drive right at my grandfather. My grandfather reached for the ball but could not get his glove around fast enough, so he caught the ball bare handed. The ball hit with such force that it broke the fingernails completely off his ring finger and his pinky finger. It also shattered all the bones in his pinky finger to the point that he was pulling bone shards out of his finger for the next couple of months. To this day, the tip of his pinky finger is completely flat. I had known that he had sustained this injury playing baseball, but I never knew that he received that injury from a future Phillies All-Star. They stayed in touch with one another while Willie worked his way though the minors, eventually signing on with the Phillies in 1947. My grandfather followed his career and was a loyal Phillies Phan until Jones moved to Cincinnati in 1959. My grandfather stuck with the Phillies until 1965 when the Milwaukee Braves moved to Atlanta, and my grandfather became a Braves fan.

Some Willie Jones Stats:
*Willie Jones made his debut with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1947. By 1949, the South Carolina native had become the team's starting third baseman. In his first full season at third, in 1949, Jones hit 19 home runs and drove in 77. He held that position for nearly a decade.
*In 1949, Jones tied a major league record when he had four straight doubles in a game. His fielding abilities were outstanding. He led the league with best fielding percentage in five years and he led the National League in putouts at third base for seven seasons. The feat tied the record.
*In 1950, Jones hit a career-high 25 home runs and was a key component of the Phillies' "Whiz Kids" that won the NL pennant. He also drove in a career-high 88 runs batted in that season.
*Jones is in the all-time top 10 for the Phillies in six offensive categories. He had six grand slams while he was wearing a Phillies uniform and is second only to Mike Schmidt for the Philadelphia franchise.
*Jones was an All-Star during the 1950 and 1951 seasons. In the 1950 World Series, he collected 4 hits in 14 at-bats.
*He finished his career with 812 runs batted in and 190 home runs and a career .258 batting average.

~Carson

14 comments:

GM-Carson said...

Jason Donald has become a buzz name as far as prospects go and that's a good thing because the Phils haven't really had many of them in their system over the past few years. I'm torn on his future, and I could easily see him being a trading chip to land a proven MLB player to bolster the current group we have for anothe playoff drive next season.

This Holliday rumor won't go away until he's traded, because as I've read many baseball people think the Phils are the frontrunners to get him if the Rox do indeed trade him.

Bob D said...

The Rockies want 2 or 3 of the following for Holliday: Victorino, Carrasco, Marson, Donald, and Happ. That would hurt the Phils over the long haul for a one year rental. All of those guys could be on the team next year. But to add a top right handed bat in the OF is very tempting.

Maria said...

If those are the kind of players they want, than I'd rather throw more money for Burrell.

GM-Carson said...

I'm okay parting ways with Happ and Donald if it means landing an established MLB player that will be a big upgrade, but Carrasco and Marson look to be potential cogs in for the Phils by 2010 and possibly later next season. Victorino is a Philly style guy and needs to remain with the team, no ifs, ands, or buts.

Andrew said...

I just don't see Holliday coming to Philly. Rumors like this surface every year and rarely does anything actually happen. And almost never when its Philly. Amaro is going to be a lot like Gillick (who is still his "consultant") and probably not make any big moves this off season. Our LF will be either Burrell, someone in the farm or currently on the 40 man, or a second rate player like Baldelli. Holliday would be too good to be true, thus its not gonna happen. We can still dream.

dr. steve said...

I'd be more willing for Carassco and Money, as he's essentially unproven and from what you guys have said, he's probably going to be a bust.

Personally I think we should be going for FREE AGENTS, as they do not cost prospects. And the Phillies would NEED to have Holliday retire a Philly to make this deal work.

Shane Victorino leaving this team would be the worst move anyone can make. And trading our near-future catcher because you think Ruiz's playoff burst was the real Ruiz is the second worst move.

I'm a big Happ fan, Jason Donald looks like he can actually play 3B and Hit... yeah, I don't want to trade ANY of these cheap, talented players for someone we'll have for a year and then offer 500,000 to stick with us.

Burton said...

Thanks GM Carson for posting this story. Being a died-in-the-wool Braves fan, a triat I inherited from my grandfather, I thought it was interesting that I had some Phillies in my DNA as well. I guess that is why I married a Pennsylvanian...

GM-Carson said...

Dr. Steve- sending money for a player that is still under contract is like buying the player and it is really frowned upon in MLB and always has to be approved by the commishioners office. Sending anything over a million to a team for a trade gets dicey, unless the one team is offsetting a contract, which would not be the case with Holliday to the Phillies.

GM-Carson said...

Burton because Ted Turner practically owns you is the only reseason I'm okay with you being a Braves fan. My dark evil plan is to convert you eventually through brainwashing like I did with my wife. Phillies are the key to salvation brother!

GM-Carson said...

Also, I'm all for signing free agents if it makes sense, but in essence you do give up prospects because you lose draft picks if the free agent being signed is a Type A or B.

Bob D said...

Marson is as close to untradable as any minor leaguer. He has tremendous upside for a major leaguer. Carrasco is a great prospect (top20 in baseball) but pitchers are not always a sure thing but he is close. Happ has some some success and to trade him would be diffucult. Donald should be held onto incase of injury and may vye for the 3B spot in the future. His bat could fit in the lineup very well as one with a good batting average with some pop. Basically Amaro would be wise to hold his hand he was dealt.

Jeremy said...

Brett Myers made an appearance on the Lex and Terry Radio Network this AM. From what I heard it sounded like a good time. You can catch the replay on the L&T XM radio station this evening.

dr. steve said...

I guess this will be the test of Amaro. Is he a clever fox? Is he an Ed Wade-type team destroyer? Is he stupid?

Maybe he can trade Eric Bruntlett and Kyle Kendrick for Holliday. Maybe he'll trade Donald and Happ for talking rights to Ugeth Urbina.

I'm not optimistic. I'll say that.

SirAlden said...

Great Post~!