Sunday, May 27, 2018

Dalton Jones (#317)

Here is Dalton Jones' 1966 card, where he is a third-year player still considered to be the team's "second baseman of the future". He appeared to be headed that way after his first 2 seasons, but was then derailed into utility status.

Jones was signed by the Red Sox in June 1961, and played 2 ½ seasons in their farm system. He was a shortstop in 1961-62, and a 2nd baseman in 1963.

Dalton made the Red Sox from the outset of the 1964 season, and for the next 2 years collected over 400 plate appearances each season, starting 78 games at 2nd base in '64 and 76 games at 3rd base in '65.

His career took a detour beginning in 1966. George Smith was acquired from the Tigers and started over 100 games at 2nd base for the Sox in his final season, leaving only 49 starts for Jones.

The following year, rookie Mike Andrews arrived on the scene, becoming the regular 2nd sacker. Jones started 23 games at 3rd base that year. (Dalton had averaged 114 games played every season from 1964 through 1969, except for the Sox’ Dream Season of 1967, when he only got into 89 games.) He hit a career-high .289 in 1967, and started the first 4 games of the World Series at 3rd base.

In 1968, Jones found a new position – he started 54 games at 1st base, when George Scott was out of the lineup for much of the second half of the season. In 1969 Scott moved over to third base, with Jones becoming the primary starter at 1st base (74 starts).

After the 1969 season, Jones was traded to the Tigers for infielder Tom Matchick (hardly equitable compensation for a 74-game starter in 1969!) Jones started about half the games in his 2-year stint with the Tigers, filling in at 2B, 3B, and left field.

In May 1972 he was traded to the Rangers, and played his final MLB season as a 2B/3B backup for Texas. Released in January 1973, he played for the Expos' AAA team that year before retiring.