December 10, 1943 |
|April 17, 1964, for the Boston Red Sox|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 4, 1972, for the Texas Rangers|
|Runs batted in||237|
|Career highlights and awards|
James Dalton Jones (born December 10, 1943) is a former Major League Baseball player who played nine seasons in the big leagues for the Boston Red Sox (1964–1969), Detroit Tigers (1970–1972), and Texas Rangers (1972).
Born in McComb, Mississippi, Jones was principally a utility infielder and pinch-hitter. He played 262 games at second base, 186 at third base, 158 at 1st base, 18 in the outfield, and 1 at shortstop. In 907 Major League games, he compiled a .235 batting average with 548 hits, 268 runs scored, 237 RBIs, 91 doubles, 19 triples, 41 home runs, and 20 stolen bases.
Jones was a highly recruited prospect while playing in high school. To gain the edge in recruiting, the Red Sox involved Jones' boyhood hero, Ted Williams, in the effort, and Jones ended up signing with Boston.
He played for Boston from 1964 to 1969. He had his best season in 1967, the Red Sox "Impossible Dream" season. Dalton led the American League with 13 pinch hits and had a career-high .289 batting average. He also had several key hits for the Red Sox during the pennant drive. On September 18, 1967, he hit a 10th-inning home run in Detroit to beat the Tigers. In the last two games of the season, Jones went 3-for-5 and scored the game-winning run in the final regular season game. Jones also gave a tremendous performance in the 1967 World Series. He was Boston's starting third baseman in Games 1–4 and served as a pinch hitter in two other games. He was 7-for-18 with a .389 batting average and .421 on-base percentage in the World Series—second only to Carl Yastrzemski (who hit .400 for the Series) among the Red Sox.
Jones was traded to the Detroit Tigers before the 1970 season. He played two seasons with the Tigers. On July 9, 1970, Jones hit a towering fly ball into the right field upper deck in Detroit with the bases loaded. What should have been a grand slam ended up being a three-RBI single, as Jones passed teammate Don Wert between first and second base. Jones was called out but the three baserunners scored. Interviewed in July 2006, Jones blamed Wert for the embarrassing incident that Jones is now best remembered for. The ball was a towering fly ball, which may or may not have had the distance to make it into the right field overhang at old Tiger Stadium. Jones felt that Wert should have been halfway to second base, prepared to advance if it was a home run, and prepared to return to first if it was caught. Instead, Jones recalled that Wert was returning to first to tag up. Jones says he was already at first when the ball landed in the upper deck, and he passed Wert just 1 or 2 steps past first base. 
After his playing career ended, Jones worked for a time at a bank and spent five years working for Exxon.