Douglas Reid Jones was born June 24, 1957 in Lebanon, Indiana. He spent 16 seasons in the major leagues with seven teams, mostly as a relief ace who racked up 303 career saves.
Drafted in the third round of the 1978 draft by the Milwaukee Brewers, Jones would spend nearly nine years in the minor leagues before making an impact at the major league level. He would spend four-plus seasons in the Brewers system before a four game cup of coffee in 1982. A lost 1983 (3 games, 1 game started, 10.29 ERA) and a mediocre 1984 would lead to a change of scenery. Jones would sign with the Indians on April 3, 1985.
Basically a twenty-nine year old rookie, Jones made his Indian debut in 1986. He appeared in eleven games. It wasn’t until 1988 that Jones became the full-time closer for the Tribe, breaking the club record for saves in a season with 37. He would earn a spot on the All-Star team, and finish 15th in MVP voting for the season. Jones leveraged solid control in 83 1/3 innings, striking out 72 and only walking 16. He would finish 46 games with an ERA of 2.27, a miniscule 1.02 WHIP and ERA+ of 181. He would follow his break out 1988 season with a 32-save effort and a second all-star appearance in 1989. Jones would break his own club record for saves with 43 in 1990. Another all-star season with a 2.56 ERA, he allowed just 66 hits in 84.1 innings. A rough 1991 would see Jones post career-highs in ERA, WHIP, hits per nine innings. He would record only seven saves that season, as the 34-year old would give way to 25-year old closer Steve Olin. As Jones’s fortunes went, so did the Indians, who finished a league-worst 57-105. Jones was granted free agency, and signed with the Houston Astros. He was able to revive his career in the National League, hurling an astounding 111.2 innings in 1992. His 70 games finished led the league. He earned 36 more saves, and struck out 93 batters while only walking 17. Jones would spend one more year in Houston before becoming a journeyman sort of relief artist in Philadelphia, Baltimore and Chicago (NL). He would return to both Milwaukee and Cleveland before finishing his career in 2000 with Oakland. Remarkably, for spending time in seven separate organizations, Jones was only traded once in his career (from Houston to Philadelphia in 1993.)
Jones was one of the 10-best relievers of the nineties. He amassed 303 saves (21st all-time), and is 124th overall in WPA with 13.8. He was the oldest player to pitch in the major leagues in 2000 (43), and was the most error-prone pitcher in the American League in 1987 (5). His career 3.7 K/BB still ranks as eighth best in the history of Major League Baseball for a reliever. Incredibly, he posted over 2.6 K/BB during 13 of the 16 seasons during his career, including each of the last 10 seasons of his career.
During his time donning #46 for the Tribe, Jones went 9-9 in 100 games, with an ERA of 2.73, 45 saves, 174.2 innings pitched, 159 strikeouts and 40 walks (3.98 K/BB.) Jones was named as one of the 100 Greatest Cleveland Indians Players ever in 2001 as part of the club’s 100th anniversary celebration. He was one of 36 pitchers chosen.
#46 Small Sample Size All-Stars
Loren Dale Mitchell wore #46 in 1946 before switching to #33 in 1947. Small Sample Size Champion Mitchell hit .432/.444/.500 with 172 OPS+ in 45 sweet plate appearances. Mitchell would turn to #33 for the following two seasons, and then #34 in 1950. Never content with a uniform number, Mitchell would finish his Cleveland career as #3 from 1951-1956.
Martin Kevin Cordova (Martin Kevin?) would turn in his best season in his only season as an Indian in 2001. The former Rookie of the Year would spend 83 games if left field, 31 in right, two in center and seven as the team’s designated hitter en route to a magical .301/.348/.506, 122 OPS+ season at age 31. Cordova’s 442 plate appearances would be all he would get in Cleveland, as the free agent would sign with Baltimore Orioles. Cleveland turned a cool half-mil into a 20 home runs and 69 runs batted in. The Orioles? They spent 9.1 million for 19 more home runs over the next three seasons.
Juan Manuel Lara would also don #46 for a brief tour in Cleveland. Lara, signed as an amateur free agent in 1999, would eventually be called up on September 8 and appear in nine games for the Tribe in the fall of 2006. He went five innings, allowing one earned run, striking out two and surrendering four hits and no walks — resulting in a 266 ERA+. He also appeared in 2007 wearing #58 with much less success.
Lara was involved in a serious automobile accident in November, 2007. He was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries, included a vertebra fracture, potential brain damage and broken ribs. His injuries at the time were considered career-ending. Lara miraculously returned to the mound as a member of the Cleveland farm system in 2009, appearing in 15 rookie-league games. In 17 innings, he struck out 19, but allowed 24 hits and 8 walks.
Middle Initial, Please
Both Mike W. Jackson and
Giancarlo Mike T. Stanton appeared as Cleveland Indians in uniform #46. Both serve as sterling examples of Cleveland's enduring history of front office mastery.
The original Mike Jackson came to the Tribe from Kansas City in exchange for the superiorly-sideburned hurler Steve Mingori. Mingori would appear in 264 games for the Royals, win 16, save 27, with an ERA+ of 128. Michael Warren Jackson would appear in two-thirds of an inning for Cleveland.
The original Mike Stanton was a middling reliever who originally signed with Cleveland in 1979. Drafted three times in the span of 12 months (1971-1972), Stanton would not sign a contract until drafted by the Houston Astros with the fifth overall pick in the 1973 Amateur Draft. Stanton would appear in seven games for the 1975 Houston Astros, and would not reappear in the major leagues until 1980 with the Indians. Cleveland sold Stanton to the St. Louis Cardinals on December 7, 1981. The Indians would purchase Stanton back from St. Louis on February 8, 1982 only to be released by the Tribe five days later. Stanton would catch on with the Seattle Mariners on April 5, 1982, and spend three seasons with the Mariners, before retiring after a two-and-a-half month stint with the Chicago White Sox. Stanton would go 4-6 with a 5.09 ERA in 75 games for Cleveland over the 1980 and 1981 seasons.
The One Year Wonders
Fabian Gaffke, Gene Woodling, Dale Mitchell, Hal Kurtz, Mike W Jackson, Rick Kreuger, Tom Waddell, Jim Kern, Bruce Egloff, Ryan Thompson, Jeff Tam, Paul Rigdon, Marty Cordova, Ricardo Rodriguez, Bob Howry, Juan Lara and Aaron Fultz all wore uniform #46 for only one season.
The All-Time List
Fabian Gaffke PH, RF, LF (1942) 164/243/194, 27 OPS+, 73 PA; was #14 in 1940
Gene Woodling RF, PH (1943) 320/346/600, 183 OPS+, 27 PA; switched to #16 in 1946
Dale Mitchell CF (1946) 432/444/500, 172 OPS+, 45 PA; switched to #33 in 1947
Hal Kurtz RP (1968) 1-0, 28 G, 0 GS, 5.21 ERA, 38 IP, 58 ERA+
Steve Dunning SP (1970-1973) 18-29, 70 G, 65 GS, 4.37 ERA, 401.1 IP, 85 ERA+; traded to Rangers for Dick Bosman and Ted Ford
Mike W Jackson RP (1973) 0-0, 1 G, 0 GS, 0.00 ERA, 0.2 IP, no ERA+; traded by Royals for Steve Mingori
Rick Kreuger RP (1978) 0-0, 6 G, 0 GS, 3.86 ERA, 9.1 IP, 101 ERA+; traded by Red Sox for Frank Duffy
Mike T Stanton RP (1980-1981) 4-6, 75 G, 0 GS, 5.09 ERA, 129 IP, 78 ERA+; sold to Cardinals; purchased from Cardinals
Tom Waddell RP (1984) 7-4, 58 G, 0 GS, 3.06 ERA, 97 IP, 135 ERA+; also #54 in 1984; Rule 5 draftee from Braves; switched to #54 in 1985
Mike Jeffcoat RP (1984-1985) 5-2, 72 G, 1 GS, 2.96 ERA, 85 IP, 141 ERA+; also #54 in 1984; was #54 in 1983; traded with Luis Quinones to Giants for Johnnie LeMaster
Jim Kern RP (1986) 1-1, 16 G, 0 GS, 7.90 ERA, 27.1 IP, 53 ERA+
Doug Jones RP (1987-1988) 9-9, 100 G, 0 GS, 2.73 ERA, 174.2 IP, 159 ERA+; All-Star in 1988; 15th in MVP voting in 1988; also #11 in 1988; was #39 in 1986; switched to #11 in 1989
Jeff Kaiser RP (1989-1990) 0-1, 11 G, 0 GS, 4.41 ERA, 16.1 IP, 93 ERA+; was #47 in 1988
Bruce Egloff RP (1991) 0-0, 6 G, 0 GS, 4.76 ERA, 5.2 IP, 93 ERA+
Bill Wertz RP (1993-1994) 2-3, 35 G, 0 GS, 4.08 ERA, 64 IP, 108 ERA+; lost on waivers to Red Sox; traded to Mariners for Mike Butcher
Jason Jacome RP (1997-1998) 2-1, 22 G, 5 GS, 6.23 ERA, 47.2 IP, 76 ERA+; claimed off waivers from Royals; sold to Yakult Swallows (Japan Central)
Jeff Tam RP (1999) 0-0, 1 G, 0 GS, 81.00 ERA, 0.1 IP, 4 ERA+; claimed off waivers from Mets; lost on waivers to Mets
Jason Bere SP (2000, 2003) 6-3, 13 G, 13 GS, 6.34 ERA, 61 IP, 77 ERA+; traded with Bob Wickman and Steve Woodard by Brewers for Richie Sexson, Paul Rigdon, Kane Davis and Marco Scutaro (PTBNL)
Marty Cordova LF, RF, PH, DH (2001) 301/348/506, 122 OPS+, 442 PA
Bob Howry RP (2005) 7-4, 79 G, 0 GS, 2.47 ERA, 73 IP, 171 ERA+; was #62 in 2004
Juan Lara RP (2006) 0-0, 9 G, 0 GS, 1.80 ERA, 5 IP, 266 ERA+; switched to #58 in 2007
Aaron Fultz RP (2007) 4-3, 49 G, 0 GS, 2.92 ERA, 37 IP, 156 ERA+
Scott Lewis SP (2008-2009) ) 4-0, 5 G, 5 GS, 3.49 ERA, 28.1 IP, 124 ERA+
Tony Sipp RP (2010-2011) 8-5, 139 G, 0 GS, 3.59 ERA, 125.1 IP, 109 ERA+; was #49 in 2009; switched back to #49 in 2012
Statistics and such
Other fun facts, the uniform #46 has been worn 41 times by 28 different players covering 38 seasons of a possible 84 seasons since 1929. Uniform #46 was shared in a season three times, 1973, 1984 and 2000.
Which of the #46 Small Sample All Stars belongs in the SSS Hall of Fame?
Dale Mitchell, 1946 — 172 OPS+, 45 PA (5 votes)
Aaron Fultz, 2007 — 156 ERA+, 37 IP (1 vote)
Juan Lara, 2006 — 266 ERA+, 5 IP (0 votes)
Gene Woodling, 1943 — 183 OPS+, 27 PA (1 vote)
Scott Lewis, 2008-2009 — 124 ERA+, 28.1 IP (1 vote)
8 total votes