Saturday, February 27, 2010
#594) BOBBY JONES
Bobby M. Jones was traded with Lariel Gonzalez by the Colorado Rockies to the New York Mets in exchange for Masato Yoshii on January 14, 2000. It was a trade welcomed by the left-hander, who grew up in East Rutherford, New Jersey as a Mets fan idolizing Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry. "It's a dream come true," said Jones, who had struggled the previous year. "I wasn't real focused. I think my mind was on a lot of different things outside of baseball itself. I really missed home and my family a lot. Being in New York solves that real quick." During spring training of 2000 he lost the battle for the fifth starter in the rotation to Glendon Rusch. He was to begin the season with Triple-A Norfolk.
Although not on the active roster Bobby was traveling with the New York Mets on Opening Day of the 2000 campaign. The Mets faced the Chicago Cubs in Japan to start the season. Jones was taken along as insurance in case of injury. He would pitch in an exhibition game facing the Yomiuri Giants on March 28th. Surrendering a two-run home run that day to Yoshinobu Takahashi in New York's 9-5 loss. Jones would have to wait until June 16, 2000 for his official Mets debut. One of his three stints on the major league roster that summer. The second of these ended quite dramatically in a verbal exchange with manager Bobby Valentine. Jones chose to voice his displeasure over being optioned back to Norfolk with the press and referred to Valentine as a "joke". The fiery manager caught word of it and confronted Jones in the clubhouse following a game against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 19th. Players separated the two men to avoid a physical altercation and Bobby Jones was sent down the next day.
When rosters expanded in September he was promoted to New York with two other players. "I think it is definitely a blessing in disguise, kind of," Jones said. "We got to express what we had to. I'm going to treat it like it didn't even happen, even though it did happen." Manager Valentine had this comment, "It was a professional situation that he immaturely took as personal. I told him I don't have a problem with him as long as he's ready to pitch."
Bobby would spend the 2001 season on the disabled list with a rotator cuff injury, but came back to the Mets in 2002. He would pitch in 12 games from the bullpen before being traded along with Jason Bay to the San Diego Padres for Jason Middlebrook and Steve Reed on July 31st.
After his active baseball career he started his own academy named "Bobby Jones Sports" in Montville, New Jersey. He would also serve as a pitching coach for both the Don Bosco Preparatory and Montclair High School varsity baseball teams. Most recently taking a position of pitching instructor at Pro Player Baseball Academy in Hawthorne, New Jersey.
Bobby Jones signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to the Pro Player facility on February 26, 2010.