Odell Jones

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Odell Jones

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Biographical Information[edit]

Odell Jones was a graduate of Compton High School in 1972. He threw a no-hitter in AA for the Thetford Mines Pirates in 1974, then played for the Bayamón Cowboys of the Puerto Rican Winter League in 1975. He led the International League in wins, innings pitched and strikeouts in 1975, and in strikeouts again in 1978 and 1987. He also led the 1981 Pacific Coast League in strikeouts, giving him an impressive four strikeout titles at AAA. He made his major league debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates late in the 1975 season, then spent all of 1977 with the Bucs, with a record of 3-7, 5.08 while splitting his time between the starting rotation and the bullpen. He then went back to the minors for most of 1978, only making 3 appearances with Pittsburgh, but doing well both there (2-0, 2.00) and in AAA (12-9, 4.57 with the Columbus Clippers).

After that season, he was traded to the Seattle Mariners with Mario Mendoza and Rafael Vasquez for Rick Jones, Tom McMillan and Enrique Romo. The Mariners had big hopes for him in 1979, but he disappointed with a 3-11 record and a 6.07 ERA in 25 games, including 19 starts. The Mariners gave up on him, returning him to the Pirates before the start of the 1980 season, but he did not pitch again in the majors until the second half of 1981. He did very well then, in spite of a record of 4-5, with a solid 3.31 ERA in 54 1/3 innings. But it was not enough to keep him in the big leagues, as he went back to AAA in 1982. After the season, the Texas Rangers picked him in the 1982 Rule V Draft with the aim of using him as a reliever. The conversion worked, as he put together back-to-back solid seasons, 3-6, 3.09 with 10 saves in 1983 and 2-4, 2.64 with 2 saves in 1984. But still, he went back to the minors in 1985, only to resurface with the Baltimore Orioles in 1986, when he again pitched well out of the bullpen (2-2, 3.83 in 21 games). But he again failed to stick, returning to AAA in 1987.

On May 28, 1988, in one of only two starts for the Milwaukee Brewers that season, Odell Jones took a no-hitter into the 9th inning against the Cleveland Indians, giving up a hit after 8 1/3 innings of brilliant pitching (7 K's, one walk). He was relieved by Dan Plesac who finished the game and picked up a save. Before the 1988 All-Star break, Odell Jones was 3-0 with a 3.45 ERA. After the break, he went 2-0, but his ERA jumped to 5.61. It was his last season in the majors. His record that year was 5-0, 4.35, the most wins for him in any of his big league seasons. For his career, he was 24-35, 4.42 with 13 saves in 201 games; his ERA was shot by his two early seasons as a starter when he was hit hard, but he was generally effective after that, both in the big leagues and in AAA, so it's a wonder why he did not get more of a chance to pitch in the big leagues.

In 1989, Jones pitched for the West Palm Beach Tropics of the Senior Professional Baseball Association. In 1990, Jones pitched for the Fort Myers Sun Sox, also from the Senior Professional Baseball Association. He pitched in 4 games and had a 1-1 record when the league folded.

He starred in winter ball for years. He played in five Caribbean Series with four teams from three different countries - the Vaqueros de Bayamón, Tiburones de La Guaira, Águilas Cibaeñas and Tigres del Licey, setting a Series record for career ERA (1.38). He was named to the Caribbean Baseball Hall of Fame in 2024 in a class with Francisco Campos, Jesús Feliciano, Julián Tavárez and César Tovar. He was the second pitcher from the US to win entry, 25 years after George Brunet.

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