BALTIMORE (AP) — Former Baltimore Orioles outfielder Adam Jones was honored before Friday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays, hours after he signed a ceremonial contract and retired with the franchise with which he spent the bulk of his career.
Jones jogged in from center field with his two sons at his side to a loud ovation. After a video montage featuring tributes from several former teammates, Jones threw an honorary first pitch to ex-Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis.
“When I first got here, the mission was to play as many games as I could as hard as I could as long as I could,” Jones said. “I was able to fulfill that. That was the easiest thing to do, was to play. The hardest thing to do was to manage the other stuff. The easiest thing to do was to show up here every day and to put on the uniform.”
Jones played 11 of his 14 seasons in the majors with Baltimore, earning five All-Star appearances, four Gold Gloves and one Silver Slugger award.
He was a key part of playoff teams in 2012, 2014 and 2016. Since the franchise moved to Baltimore in 1954, Jones ranks fourth among Orioles in hits (1,781), fifth in homers (263), RBIs (866) and runs (875), eighth in games played (1,613) and 10th in stolen bases (90).
Jones was drafted by Seattle in 2003 and played parts of the 2006 and 2007 seasons with the Mariners. He was dealt in early 2008 to Baltimore as part of the return for pitcher Erik Bedard. With the Orioles committed to a rebuild, he signed with Arizona in 2019 before playing two seasons with the Orix Buffaloes in Japan.
Jones, who now has a role with MLB’s baseball operations department, said it was important to formally close out his playing career in Baltimore.
“It is my second home,” Jones said. “I just wanted to show my kids this, also, because the last thing they really see me as being (as a player is) a ramen-eating Japanese player. And now they get to see this and see how their lives have been shaped based on rocking the black and orange.”
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Patrick Stevens, The Associated Press