BALTIMORE–The Orioles announced on Friday that former centerfielder Adam Jones, one of the most accomplished and popular players in their history, would officially retire as an Oriole before their September 15th game against Tampa Bay.
The cryptic announcement was near the end of a social media post sent by the club on Friday morning.
Jones, who played 11 seasons with the Orioles from 2008-2018, is among the team’s all-time leaders in games played (1,613), runs scored (875), home runs (263) and RBIs (866).
He was a five-time All-Star (2009, 2012-2015), a four-time Gold Glove winner (2009, 2012-2014) and three-time winner of the Most Valuable Oriole award (2011, 2012, 2018). Jones won the Silver Slugger in 2013.
He came to the Orioles in a trade with Seattle before the 2008 season and played a season with Arizona in 2019 before concluding his career with two seasons in Japan in 2020 and 2021.
Jones was only 5-for-25 against Oriole pitcher Kyle Gibson when he was with Minnesota, but four of those hits were home runs. No batter has hit more.
“He was fun to face,” Gibson said. “He was always a guy whenever he would either get a hit or he’d be on the bases or you would get him out, he would look at you and he’d want to talk to you. If he would hit a double in the gap, and say I stranded him on base, if I was walking off, he’d say: ‘You should have thrown the sinker.’ If I’d get him on a slider, he’d give me that face that it was a good pitch. He was a fun competitor to face. He was a tough at-bat. It was a lot of fun being on the other side.”
Oriole catcher James McCann faced Jones many times when he caught for Detroit.
“He was the ultimate ballplayer,” McCann said. “He could hurt you in so many ways. His energy for the game, his passion for the game was very evident from across the way. Me being a young player, him being a veteran, he always treated me really well. In batting practice, or when he came up to the plate, having conversations with him, he was one of those guys who truly embodied being a major league veteran baseball player.”
McCann caught up with Jones when he visited spring training in Sarasota this year.
“I was just on his podcast this week. We’ve talked. The passion that he has for the game of baseball, I love it.”
There aren’t many current Orioles who were teammates with Jones.
“I spent some time with Jonesy when I came up,” outfielder Anthony Santander said. “Great personality, and of course, I learned a lot from him, how to respect the game, how to prepare, how to be able to compete every day, outfield defense. It was a really great time learning from him. I’m so glad that he’s going to get a chance to retire here with the Orioles.”
Jones and Santander were both popular with Oriole fans.
“He always had a smile on his face, interacting with the fans, enjoying and having a great time with fans,” Santander said.
Orioles manager Brandon Hyde was a coach with the Chicago Cubs in 2014 and 2017 when they faced Jones and was in his first season managing the Orioles when he was with Arizona.
“I hadn’t seen him play a whole lot. Obviously, I knew what a dynamic player he was and what a centerfielder he was,” Hyde said. “I heard a lot about him, positive things about him from guys who were in the clubhouse from years past. A lot of guys have said a lot of great things about him.
“I’ve gotten to know him this past year, really the first time I’ve ever met him, seems like a wonderful guy. He’s a big fan of our club. We appreciate the support. It’s a really cool thing we’re doing. It will be nice to see him at the ballpark. I’ve seen him a couple of times. It’s been great.”
Hyde remembers Jones making the exceptional catch on former Oriole Manny Machado’s drive in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
“Watching him make that play, I knew what kind of player he was,” Hyde said.
The Orioles will hand out Adam Jones T-Shirts to the first 15,000 fans 15-and-over on September 15th.
Notes: Kyle Bradish will start for the Orioles on Saturday. There’s been no decision on the next start for right-hander Jack Flaherty, who was scratched Wednesday because he said he didn’t “bounce back” fully from his previous start. “We’re hoping it will be the next couple of days,” Hyde said. … Hyde said that outfielder Aaron Hicks, who’s on the 10-day injured list because of a back injury, was running on Friday and showed improvement.