Jones with the Detroit Tigers
|Born: April 24, 1968|
|July 7, 1993, for the Houston Astros|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 15, 2008, for the Detroit Tigers|
|Earned run average||3.97|
|Career highlights and awards|
Todd Barton Jones (born April 24, 1968) is a former Major League Baseball relief pitcher. He batted left-handed and threw right-handed. He was an effective middle reliever for a variety of teams, and he had an up-and-down career as a closer. On September 16, 2007, Jones became the 21st member of the 300-save club and later ended his career as the Detroit Tigers' all-time leader in saves.
Jones graduated from Osborne High School in Marietta, Georgia and attended Jacksonville State University in Alabama. He was drafted by the Houston Astros in the first round of 1989 Major League Baseball draft and made his major league debut during the 1993 season.
Initially used mainly as a setup man, Jones soon became a closer for the Astros. His best years came with the Detroit Tigers from 1997-2001, when he logged 142 saves. On April 22, 1999, Jones earned career save number 100. On September 27, 1999, Jones threw the last official pitch at Tiger Stadium, striking out Carlos Beltrán as the Tigers defeated the Kansas City Royals 8-2.
While playing for the Colorado Rockies in April 2003, Jones made remarks criticized as anti-gay comments during a discussion of the play Take Me Out. Jones publicly apologized, but did not retract his comments.
Jones signed a one-year contract with the Florida Marlins during the 2004 offseason. After an injury to incumbent closer Guillermo Mota, Jones took on the role for the first time since being traded to the Minnesota Twins in 2001. He finished the 2005 season with a 2.10 ERA and 40 saves. On December 8, 2005, Jones signed a two-year contract to return to the Tigers. In 2006, he also participated in the inaugural World Baseball Classic.
Jones was a finesse pitcher and showed good durability. He threw a low-90s fastball as his main pitch, usually aiming for contact. In every year from the strike-shortened 1994 season to 2007, he pitched in at least 51 games. On May 21, 2006, he became the Detroit Tigers' all-time leader in saves, passing Mike Henneman. On July 27, 2008, Jones lost the closer role to Fernando Rodney. On September 25, 2008, Jones announced his retirement from Major League Baseball.
Since 2002, Jones has been writing a weekly column, "The Closer", for The Sporting News and Jones was on the cover of the baseball preview issue with the caption "Don't Tell columnist Todd Jones but (Beware of The Tigers)".
Jones currently resides in Pell City, Alabama with his wife Michelle and his son Alex (born October 7, 1994) and daughter Abby (born May 22, 1997). He currently works as an adviser for the local high school and middle school boys baseball teams, and occasionally appears as a guest analyst for the Detroit Tigers.