Henry Jones (joneshe02)
- Bats Unknown, Throws Right
- Height 5' 6", Weight 150 lb.
- Debut April 22, 1890
- Final Game May 31, 1890
- Born July 27, 1860 in McKeesport, PA USA
- Died September 23, 1922 in Pittsburgh, PA USA
Pitcher Henry Jones played five games for the Pittsburgh Alleghenys in 1890. He was for a long time confused with another Henry Jones, who was an infielder/outfielder who played in the majors in 1884. The nickname "Baldy", previously attributed to the fielder, in fact belonged to the pitcher, as he is mentioned in Sporting Life as "the man with the bald head" and in The Sporting News as "bald as a billiard ball".
He is first mentioned in newspaper accounts as playing for the Baltimore & Ohio Rail Road team at Shaner Station in 1889. An article a few weeks later mentions that he was a coal miner and that a number of National League teams were bidding for his services. He played for various teams in the central states, including ones in McKeesport, PA in 1884, Allegheny, PA in 1885, Duluth, MN in 1886, Cumberland, MD in 1887, Frederick, MD also in 1887, and then Chattanooga, TN. He was quite successful in the amateur ranks, prompting the interest by the Pittsburgh team.
A man named Henry Jones umpired a National League game featuring the Alleghenys on May 28, 1890. While Retrosheet attributes this game to the other Henry Jones, it was most likely this Henry Jones who was pressed into service as an umpire, given his namesake was working for the railroad in Detroit, MI at the time and had in fact just suffered a serious accident a few weeks earlier.
By 1895, he no longer played baseball and was working as a butcher in Sutersville, PA. In the 1860 census, conducted just before his birth, his family is living in Elizabeth Township, in the Monongahela Valley of Pennsylvania, and they show up in Allegheny in 1870, where his father, an emigrant from Wales, was a butcher. In 1880, the family was living in Suterville and his occupation is listed as miner. He was in the same town in 1900 and 1910, still listed as a coal miner, living with wife Mary and a number of children. In 1920, the family had moved to Pittsburgh and Henry was working in a steel mill. He then moved to McKees Rocks, PA and died in Pittsburgh in 1922. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette mentioned his name among a listing of prominent persons who died that year, mentioning that he had once been a professional pitcher and his obituary called him "one of the first professional ballplayers in this city", confirming that he was indeed the one-time pitcher.
- "Henry Jones", in Bill Carle, ed.: Biographical Research Committee Report, SABR, May/June 2016, pp. 4-6.