Charley Jones Bio

Charley Jones

 

 

Charley Jones played in organized baseball from 1875-1888 and is mostly known to baseball historians for being the career home run leader until being passed by Harry Stovey. But he was also known for being volatile, playing for a total of eight teams during a twelve year career.

 

In fact, in 1877 Jones, afraid that the club Cincinnati was going to go under, jumped and signed with the Chicago White Stockings. This caused an uproar and the league ordered him back to Cincinnati after just two games. This proved to be a minor issue when compared to what transpired three years later.

 

 

In Jones’ time, a player monthly salary was to be paid at the end of the month. At the start of September, 1880 the Boston Red Stockings were on a road trip. The team usually didn’t pay its players until it got home, instead giving players advances against their salary until they reached Boston. A whole seasons worth of financial arguments boiled over and Jones demanded his August pay right there and then. When Harry Wright and the Red Stockings refused, Jones decided that he would not play until he had been paid. Wright telegrammed the front office and the Red Stocking immediately released Jones. This also led to Jones being blacklisted from the entire National League! Over the next few months Jones and the Red Stockings battled in court over the pay. The Red Stockings lost and eventually were made to pay with their portion of gate receipts from a road game. With no other viable leagues for Jones to join, he retired and opened a laundromat.

 

After the American Association formed and began play in 1882, Jones quickly signed on to play in the league. But the Association decided to honor the NL’s blacklist and Jones was unable to play in the newly formed league. The tides quickly turned however, as tensions arouse between the AA and the NL after the 1882 season. This led to AA ignoring the NL’s ban and the subsequent allowance of Jones to play for the Cincinnati Red Stockings. In Jones’ return to organized baseball, he showed no ill effects of his time off, as he finished fifth in league OPS, second in Home Runs and first in RBI’s. Jones went on to play until 1888, enjoying his fair share of success along the way

In a contemporary setting, Jones’ statistics were nothing special. But when compared against his peers, Jones was truly a superstar. Below is a table of his statistics, adjusted for park effects and calculated against league averages.

 

Charley Jones Special Batting

 Year Ag Tm  Lg  PA  Outs  RC  RC/27  OWP    BA *lgBA   OBP *lgOBP  SLG *lgSLG  OPS *lgOPS*OPS+ psOPS  SB%
+————–+—-+—-+—-+—–+—–+—–+—–+—–+—–+—–+—–+—–+—–+—-+—–+—-+
 1875 25 TOT NA   51   39    6  4.15      | .255  .263| .255  .270| .451  .322| .706  .592| 134        50%
         WES NA   47   35    6  4.63      | .277  .263| .277  .270| .489  .322| .766  .592| 154        50%
         HAR NA    4    4    0  0.00      | .000  .263| .000  .270| .000  .322| .000  .592|-100         0%
 1876 26 CIN NL  283  197   35  4.80      | .286  .250| .304  .263| .420  .304| .724  .566| 154          
 1877 27 TOT NL  255  165   40  6.55      | .312  .264| .353  .282| .471  .329| .824  .611| 168         0%
         CIN NL   73   48   11  6.19      | .304  .263| .342  .281| .478  .328| .821  .608| 168         0%
         CHC NL    9    5    2 10.80      | .375  .290| .444  .309| .500  .361| .944  .670| 182          
         CIN NL  173  112   27  6.51      | .313  .263| .353  .281| .466  .328| .819  .608| 168          
 1878 28 CIN NL  265  180   37  5.55      | .310  .255| .321  .273| .441  .314| .761  .587| 158          
 1879 29 BSN NL  384  243   66  7.33      | .315  .262| .367  .278| .510  .339| .877  .617| 183          
 1880 30 BSN NL  291  196   39  5.37      | .300  .243| .326  .266| .429  .321| .755  .587| 156          
 1883 33 CIN AA  411  276   60  5.87      | .294  .264| .328  .294| .471  .347| .799  .641| 147          
 1884 34 CIN AA  519  324   81  6.75      | .314  .250| .376  .289| .470  .340| .846  .629| 168          
 1885 35 CIN AA  517  330   79  6.46      | .322  .253| .362  .300| .462  .340| .824  .640| 157          
 1886 36 CIN AA  567  365   68  5.03      | .270  .249| .356  .313| .390  .332| .746  .644| 132          
 1887 37 TOT AA  440  289   53  4.95      | .278  .278| .343  .342| .395  .375| .738  .716| 106          
         CIN AA  175  105   27  6.94      | .314  .282| .400  .347| .451  .381| .851  .727| 134          
         NYP AA  265  184   26  3.82      | .255  .275| .306  .338| .360  .371| .666  .709|  87          
 1888 38 KCC AA   26   21    1  1.29      | .160  .251| .192  .310| .240  .331| .432  .641|  35          
+————–+—-+—-+—-+—–+—–+—–+—–+—–+—–+—–+—–+—–+—–+—-+—–+—-+
 12 Seasons     4009 2625  565  5.81      | .298  .257| .345  .294| .444  .336| .789  .630| 149    

 

 

His lifetime batting average was over .40 points better than league average over his career, along with his on base percentage topping the average mark by .51, and his slugging percentage being greater than .100 points better than average. His total OPS was over .150 points better than the average. When using Baseball-References OPS+, which is a collected OPS stat, adjusted against park and league average, Charley Jones places 34th all time, with a score of 149. And remember, Jones missed two prime seasons in the middle of his career due to the contract dispute and ban. To put this number in perspective, directly in front of Jones on the all-time list with scores of 150 are Nap Lajoie & Honus Wagner.
 

In his ten full seasons in organized baseball, Jones finished in the top ten in batting average five times,  on base percentage six times, slugging percentage eight times, OPS eight times and home runs ten times!
 

What would have been, if Jones were allowed to have played his entire career? He still probably would have feel short of a Hall of Fame career, but Jones has to be remembered as one of the best players of early baseball.

 

 

Charley Jones

 

Written By

has written for mopupduty.com since 2006. Follow Matthias on Twitter, Facebook and Google +

  • Early

    Did the VC given him any respect in voting for the HOF? Most of these early players are going to be left out of the hall indefinently, no one living remembers anything that happend before 1920 and the powers that be that put people in the hall still look at pure numbers although they are coming around. Wagner et al were lucky enough to be current when the hall opened. As for left out years, this was done on his own accord and no consideration or excuse should be given to his numbers. Ted Williams missed 5 of his prime seasons to go off to Asia and shoot down planes, his career stats would have been close to Ruth in run production and probably close to Rose in hitting. We’ll never know.

  • Thanks for the yap. I don’t think Jones’ missed two years on his own accord, the NL banned him from playing, so there wasn’t much he could do about it. While he was a bother and did push for his pay, Boston did own him as per the contract, and in-fact lost a court case to this effect in early 1881. That aside, Jones never got any veteran committee love according to Total Baseball. Maybe we should open a Mop Up Duty hall of fame in a few months, and create grading periods, such as pre 1890, 1890 – 1910, etc, etc.