Adam Jones was born and raised in idyllic San Diego, but it wasn't the La Jolla, Delmar or Coronado Island paradise you read about in travel brochures. Adam lived in the gritty southeast side of the city and saw his share of crime during the day while falling asleep to the accompaniment of police car sirens at night.
The low-income area was so historically image-challenged that in the early 1990s, a local councilman named George Stevens campaigned against official use of the words, "Southeast San Diego," saying that the phrase had become a way of unfairly connoting an impoverished, crime-infested district. (The campaign succeeded.)
As the second youngster of five children, raised by a single mother, Jones excelled at football and basketball. Then one spring when he was 12, a hoops teammate asked him to give baseball a try. He made the rec league all-star team his first year and fell hard for the game.
Adam would buy bags of bite-size Snickers from the dollar store, then trek up to the North County suburbs, and sell them for five bucks apiece, just to cover equipment and registration costs.
At Morse High, Jones made the varsity as a 9th-grader, playing shortstop and pitching. He never had to practice with the JV squad on what was called the "DG," -- the damn gravel -- a "field" that had neither dirt nor grass.
While growing up in Southeast San Diego, Jones excelled at both football and basketball and did not pick up a baseball bat until he was twelve. In 1997 his stepfather, Kenneth, took him to a Padres game after which he started to gain an interest in the sport. He picked up the sport very quickly and went on to star on his high school team.
His parents split up when he was a tot. He didn't live with either his mother or his father during his last year of high school. A lot of the people Adam knew and came in contact with are no longer alive. Some were killed in gang shootings. Jones' older brother, Anson Wright, had also been a good athlete. But Anson made some wrong decisions in his life, so things didn't pan out for him. But then, Anson Wright had a son of his own, and he turned his life around, while also making sure his younger brother avoided the gang life that once had attracted him. Adam's senior year at Morse High School in San Diego, he lived with Wright. His father lived in Los Angeles, and his mother resided in a different county, though Adam saw her regularly.Adam did well academically. He liked class, but thought studying was boring.
Adam credits his brother, Anson Wright, with keeping him on the straight and narrow. He constantly looked out for his younger sibling while pushing him in the right direction.
Wright told Adam to stick with baseball, even when he had to sell candy door-to-door to raise money for much-needed equipment. And Wright made sure his younger brother didn't get involved with the wrong people, as he himself had in his younger days.
Often, Jones would come up with his own ways to fund his baseball career. At times he worked late into the night, putting up posters advertising shows for rappers from his neighborhood and around San Diego. In junior and senior high, he sold candy door-to-door. "That's how I was able to get some of the things I needed for baseball," Adam said. "I would go out and try to hustle up the money."
Jones's mother works as a customer service person at a Wal-Mart. His Dad is a bus driver.
Samuel Morse High School is the same San Diego high school that Mark McLemore graduated from over 20 years before Adam. Mark was a teammate of former Red Sox first baseman Sam Horn at Samuel Morse High.
Adam played basketball a lot as a youngster. But when he was 12, a friend asked Jones if he'd like to play a little baseball after basketball season was over. "So I said OK," Jones said. "And I started to like it."
Jones grew up in the same southeast San Diego neighborhood as former Major Leaguer Mark McLemore, who is now a friend. They graduated from the same high school, and even had the same English teacher.
Adam was a solid righthanded pitcher in high school, displaying a quick, lively arm. He had a 3-3 record with a 2.71 ERA. But he hit .406 with four home runs and 27 RBI to get the attention of scouts.
He has personality and fire in his belly. His work ethic and coachability are quite impressive. He wants to learn and applies what he is taught right away. If you don't like Adam, you don't like baseball. He has the tools, he has some style, and he knows how to go about his buisiness in a professional way. He has his game face on when he's out there.
Before 2004 spring training, Baseball America rated Jones as 9th-best prospect in the Mariners organization. And before 2005 spring camp, the magazine had Adam as #8 in the Seattle system. In the spring of 2006, Baseball America had Adam ranked as the #2 prospect in the Seattle Mariners farm system, behind only catcher Jeff Clement. And during the winter before 2007 spring training, the magazine rated Adam #1—the top prospect in the Mariners organization.
During 2004 spring training, Adam listened intently to veteran players in the clubhouse. And he observed how the veteran players went about their preparation for a game. He kept his eyes and ears open, soaking it all in.
Jones is confident in his ability and eager to apply what he learns. His work ethic is strong.
In 2007, Adam ranked third in the Pacific Coast League with a .586 slugging percentage.
As a rookie with the Mariners in 2007, Jones went about his business quietly. Teammate and fellow outfielder Jost Guillen took Adam under his wing, talking to him about how to play and act like a Major Leaguer and building him up, while also telling him to sit down and shut up on occasion.
On September 13, 2007, Jones hit a pinch hit home run, becoming the ninth Mariners rookie to hit a pinch-hit home run. The most recent to do that before Adam: Greg Dobbs delivered a pinch-hit home run against the Indians on Sept. 8, 2004, at Safeco Field. Other Mariners rookies to hit pinch-hit home runs are Joe Simpson ('79), Reggie Walton ('80), Dave Hengel ('87), Bruce Fields ('88), Ken Griffey Jr. ('89), Bill Hasselman ('93), and Greg Pirkl ('94).
Adam put on over 20 pounds of muscle during the offseason before 2009 spring training. He was in terrific shape. He improved his diet, also. Plus, he is just gaining in maturity.
Jones can still be both inquisitive and brash. And on most days, appears to enjoy the give-and-take between teammates, opposing players and even reporters. For example: During the 2008 season, he approached Los Angeles Angels center fielder Torii Hunter, the owner of eight Gold Gloves, and informed Hunter of his plans to win the award.
In May 2010, when the Orioles made a trip to Toronto, Adam was detained by Canadian immigration officials in a case of mistaken identity. The episode angered Jones, of course. Jones, who was believed to be mistaken by immigration officials for troubled NFL cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones.
During the additional screening process, both the Orioles and immigration officials took steps to make sure that Jones doesn't have the same problems in the future.
Jones is one of Baltimore's most unique sports personalities, a charismatic straight shooter brimming with talent and ability. His brashness has made local and national headlines, and his outspokenness as a young player in the clubhouse has rubbed teammates the wrong way in seasons past.
But in 2011, maturity was showing up in Adam. Childhood friend, Quintin Berry, a fifth-round pick of the Phillies in the 2006 draft, said the change is most evident during the winter. Gone are the days when Jones would play the occasional catch to stay in shape. This offseason, his regimen included hitting with Berry and driving to Irvine, Calif., to get in some extra work. Jones also worked with personal trainers and consulted with runners. Gone was the Morse High School phenom and team prankster who would shirk baseball practice to steal soda and candy.
"When he came up, it was easy for him," Berry said of Jones, a natural talent who was always looking for ways to get out of mundane workouts. "Now you can tell he really, really wants to get better. You can tell he wants to be one of the best to play. (Brittany Ghiroli-MLB.com-4/05/11)
Just before the last game of the 2011 season, Jones was bestowed the 2011 Louis M. Hatter Most Valuable Oriole Award by members of the local media.
In his down time on planes or for a few minutes before B.P., Adam likes to work crosswords.
In 2012, Jones was driving a Mercedes Benz. But his dream car is a Lamborghini Murcielago.
When Adam returned to Orioles spring camp March 17, 2013, two of his teammates had a present for him—a sombrero sitting at his locker. The Mexican hat was starter Miguel Gonzalez’s, but reliever Luis Ayala placed it on the locker, a friendly reminder that Team USA, which Jones played for this spring, had lost to Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.
“Ayala put a big sombrero atop my locker today. That is pretty cool. He represents his country even though he is playing in the United States,” Jones said. “It is nice to see how prideful players are about their countries.”
Jones left for the WBC on March 3 and had been away for two weeks.
September 16, 2013: One of the Orioles' most outgoing personalities, Jones has been very active in the Baltimore community since he joined the O's in 2008, focusing on making a positive impact on underprivileged youth in Baltimore City.
Jones has made numerous appearances at Boys & Girls Clubs, the Y of Central Maryland and Baltimore City Title I schools, where his visits include promoting an active lifestyle and engaging in question-and-answer sessions with the children. He has also taken a strong interest in working with players in Baltimore's Reviving Baseball in the Inner Cities (RBI) program, hosting a clinic at which players from RBI and other Baltimore City baseball leagues received baseball instruction from Jones and other former and current Orioles players and coaches. Jones also frequently visits RBI games on the team's off-days.
A fan favorite on Twitter, Jones frequently uses the social media forum to promote community acts or random fan giveaways, and his presence in the community is something the outfielder takes seriously and has stepped up since signing a six-year contract extension last May.
In addition to his work in Baltimore schools, Jones also has a partnership with BARCS (Baltimore Animal and Rescue Care Shelter), for which he posed in the OriolesREACH pet calendar. Additonally, Jones contributes money every year to the OriolesREACH Gameday Experience, a program that gives underprivileged children the opportunity to come to Oriole Park for a game, hat, T-shirt and concessions. (Ghiroli - mlb.com)
Adam was an all-star in 2009 and from 2012 through 2015.
October 2013: While vacationing in Paris, Jones and his longtime girlfriend, Audie Fugett, got engaged. Fugett announced the engagement , flashing a diamond ring on her left hand and writing, "We're engaged!!!!! So excited to spend the rest of my life with my best friend!"
March 12, 2014: Adam and Audie welcomed a baby boy born in Baltimore. Adam's wife, Audie, is an attorney.
When two fans ran on the field at Yankee Stadium during a 14-5 Orioles win on April 8, 2014, Jones did not mince words. In fact, the Baltimore center fielder voiced his feelings directly to the offenders as they were taken away.
"I let them know how I felt, obviously a lot of choice words because I think it's idiotic for people to run on the field and I think the punishment needs to be a lot harsher," Jones said. "And they should let us have a shot to kick them with our metal spikes on because it's stupid."
The two fans entered the field in the bottom of the eighth inning from stands on the third-base line and ran into the outfield before being tackled by security.
"I remember a couple of years ago, one dude broke his ankle in Baltimore," Jones said. "I was laughing at him. I wish he shattered his femur because it's stupid. It's just plain old stupid. Anybody who does it, I wish the cops tase the living [crap] out of them."
Orioles first base coach Wayne Kirby had this assessment of Jones, during the 2014 AL West Championship Orioles' season:
"Adam is a leader by example," Kirby, who works with the O's outfielders, said. "He's not as vocal as a lot of people, but he does all the little things that make you a leader. He runs to first base hard on every pitch, and that puts a lot of pressure on the defense. "You ask any big leaguers that's gotten a big multiyear deal: that's hard to do."
Jones’s baseball role model also did not walk much, but otherwise they were different hitters. Growing up in San Diego, Jones idolized the Padres’ Tony Gwynn and signed a letter of intent to play for Gwynn when he was the coach at San Diego State. Jones instead signed as a first-round pick of the Seattle Mariners, but he worked out in the winters with Gwynn, who made a lasting impression before he died in June 2014.
“He had fun playing the game,” said Jones, who sometimes blows bubbles while chasing fly balls. “Hey, man, this game is frustrating as it is. It’s not a one-man game; it’s a team game. So he always told me, ‘Do what you can do to impact the game, have some fun and live with the results."
One of his nicknames is Jonesy. "But I call myself Captain Slappy," Adam said. Another is "Pappo".Jones' mom, Andrea Bradley, gave him the nickname when he was young whenever he got into trouble. It stuck with him into adulthood.
On his life off the field, he said, "It's very mild. I'm just trying to raise my kids." Jones says, "Mark McLemore was my mentor. He showed and told me ow this game would pan out. He's not been wrong.
Favorite team (outside baseball): the LA Lakers.Favorite actor: Denzel WashingtonTV Show: MartinMusic: Hip HopFood: "My mom's tacos and my wife's pork chops."
Adam is more than the Orioles' center fielder and cleanup hitter, although both are significant roles. He's even more than the face of the franchise, which carries its own sense of responsibility. Jones is also the city's highest-profile African-American professional athlete. He has built and helps maintain two inner-city recreation centers in Baltimore and is working on a third.
It wasn't that long ago, Jones noted, that he was an underprivileged teenager using public transportation, meeting his friends at the mall, dreaming of a better life. He had baseball and enough talent to make it to the big leagues, to become an All-Star. Most aren't that fortunate.
"I'm not far from these kids, so I understand all the things they are going through," he said. "It's important to me to reach out to them. That's why my biggest thing is I like to reach out to 12- to 17-year-olds. Those are the ones that need the most help, the ones you are trying to effect their minds, get in their heads. Get them ready for the real world, as opposed to the false realities we see on TV."
"Sports brings people together, black, white or indifferent," he said. "They bring us together, and for those three hours, they can have beers, can have hot dogs, nachos, some Boog's [barbecue], and forget about our daily lives. Sports unites communities."
Baseball can be a difficult game, but life can be infinitely harder. Jones can't fix all the problems by himself. But his powerful, eloquent words and deeds set a great example. (Hagen - mlb.com - 4/29/15)
PIES NO MORE
February 27, 2016: Adam Jones can no longer deliver postgame pies to teammates, and a nation weeps.
Just one short month ago, America celebrated that most sacred of holidays known as National Pie Day. It was a simpler time, one full of sweet pastries as far as the eye could see. And, to honor the occasion, we took a moment to celebrate one of baseball's finest traditions: the postgame pies of Adam Jones.
He pies with conviction: He pies with panache: Or should we say, "he pied" -- for Jones was forced to tell the world that his antics would be no more.
Suspiciously, Jones chalked the decision up to "safety," as though blindly flinging baked goods at an unsuspecting teammate might end badly. (C Landers - MLB.com - February 27, 2016)
Adam was honored in a pregame ceremony on April 29, 2016 as he was presented with the 2015 Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award by teammate Darren O'Day. (O'Day, the O's Major League Baseball Players Association representative, handed Jones the award on-field before the Orioles' 6-3 win over White Sox.) Receiving the prestigious Players' Choice Award was a special moment for Jones.
The Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award, named in honor of the MLBPA's first executive director, is given annually to the player who inspires others through his on-field performances and contributions to his community. "To get it from one of my peers, one of the people who does a good amount of work in his own right on the field," Jones said, "that's pretty cool."
In recognition of Jones' outstanding performance in 2015, the Major League Baseball Players Trust will provide grants totaling $50,000 to charitable causes personally selected by Jones. The Boys & Girls Club of Encanto, in Jones' hometown of San Diego, will receive a $45,000 grant from the Players Trust, while the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will receive a $5,000 grant. (Ghiroli - MLB.com - 4/29/16)
Adam has always had fond memories of the Boys & Girls Club of America. So it was only natural that Jones, who has been an integral part in building up the Boys & Girls Club in Baltimore, would jump at the chance to be involved in Major League Baseball's national public-service announcement campaign.
The PSA was unveiled after being filmed in Baltimore at Brooklyn O'Malley Boys & Girls Club. Jones, an Encanto Boys & Girls Club alumnus in his hometown of San Diego, credits the organization for helping prepare him for success.
""The fact that I grew up there, my brothers, my cousins. And over the last nine years, I've been able to give back to the Boys & Girls Club of Baltimore. I think it's a pretty good partnership," said Jones, who regularly volunteers his time, and in conjunction with the Orioles Charitable Foundation donated $75,000 to Webster Boys & Girls Club in 2015. "I think a relationship that started when I was 4 or 5 has continued into my 30s."
Jones was named by the MLB Players Alumni Association as the 2015 Brooks Robinson Community Service Award recipient. He was given the Governor's Service Award from Gov. Larry Hogan in recognition of his efforts to improve lives in Maryland.
"I think the kids understand it's me in the flesh rather than me as a checkbook," said Jones, who regularly spends time at the local Boys & Girls Clubs. "When I talk to you, I'm one of your friends. Don't act like or put me on any sort of pedestal."
The Play Ball initiative teaches children to increase their overall fitness through physical activity and nutritional education while learning the fundamental skills of baseball and softball through fun and enriching baseball-related activities. (Ghiroli - MLB.com - 5/11/16)
Adam was asked if he has any superstitions:"Just one," Jones said. "Watermelon. Before every game, I chow down on some watermelon."
Adam has inserted himself into a difficult and necessary conversation about race, politics and protest in sports. Let's begin with that last part. Of course, players should be able to make a gesture aimed at focusing on injustices in this country. Protest is one of the pillars on which this country was built.
"Here's my biggest thing," he told reporters, "society doesn't mind us helping out the hood and the inner cities, but they have a problem when we speak about the hood and the inner cities. I don't understand it."
Protest is supposed to be disruptive and uncomfortable. Otherwise, it does nothing. Jones was speaking generally of NFL players offering visible gestures like kneeling or holding a fist in the air during the playing of the national anthem.
From Rosa Parks in Birmingham to Martin Luther King Jr., in Selma, from the sanitation workers of Memphis to the lunch counters of Greensboro, change isn't possible without people using whatever voice they have to make a statement. When Jones was asked by USA Today if he could imagine baseball players offering protests during the national anthem, he said that they probably wouldn't out of fear of putting their jobs at risk. Then he added this: "Baseball is a white man's sport."
That one is complicated. Baseball's history in this area is a proud one. Jones should never forget this part of the story. It, too, was once a disruptor. Jackie Robinson broke the sport's color line in 1947 a year before President Harry Truman integrated the Army, seven years before the Supreme Court's Brown vs. Board of Education ruling and nearly a decade before King began leading the fight for racial fairness.
King said often that Robinson playing for the Dodgers was an important first step in convincing Americans to see the world in a different way. There would be years of sacrifice and pain ahead, but an African-American man playing in a Major League Baseball game in 1947 was a monumental turning point for the United States of America.
Dr. Richard Lapchick, director of The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida, gave MLB an A for its diverse hiring practices. However, he emphasizes there's still work to be done in both front offices and the dugout. At the moment, baseball has just two managers of color -- Dusty Baker of the Nationals and Dave Roberts of the Dodgers. In addition, there are only three top African-American baseball executives -- Kenny Williams of the White Sox, Michael Hill of the Marlins and Dave Stewart of the D-backs.
Baseball is aware of this issue, and recently hired a search firm, Korn Ferry, to help prepare candidates, especially those from underrepresented groups, for the interview process.
In short, the issues that Jones raised are part of a conversation baseball is ready to have. And in speaking out, Jones is doing his part to make all of us more aware of the sometimes uncomfortable intersection of race and sports and society. Commissioner Manfred is committed to doing the right thing as both a business and moral imperative. It's ongoing, forever. That's something that Adam Jones -- and all players -- should be able to recognize deep down. (Justice - MLB.com - 9/12/16)
October 2016: Just in time for the World Series, Cartoon Network’s “Uncle Grandpa” animated series will sport a Fall Classic theme on Oct. 22.
The show will air at 12:15 p.m. and will feature Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Chris Archer, Baltimore Orioles All-Star center fielder Adam Jones, Houston Astros second baseman José Altuve, Boston Red Sox pitcher David Price and New York Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard.The major-leaguers will attempt to help Uncle Grandpa train his struggling Little League squad.
November 2016: Jones was chosen to represent the USA at the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
Feb 17, 2017: Adam Jones took the field for the team's first full-squad practice and jogged all the way back to the warning track, a cheeky ode to the headlines earlier in the week after executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette noted that perhaps Jones -- who had been critical of the team's defensive outfield upgrades -- could help the defense by playing deeper.
Jones said the next day that his trip out to deep center field wasn't really a message to anyone and, when asked if he had a reaction to Duquette's comments, simply said: "We're all entitled to an opinion, correct?"
Sure, but does Jones plan to change anything in terms of his positioning this year?
"We shall see. I might be up in that center field section up there having a few pops during the game, if that's where they want me to play," he said. "But at the end of the day, I'm going to do what I do and that's just how it works."
Jones has always been candid in his 10 years with the club, and he doesn't figure to change now. He was vocal at last month's FanFest about the team needing to get more athletic outfielders for the corner spots, disagreeing with Duquette's stance that the current personnel could improve by working on some things.
"What's too honest, telling the truth? I think that shows that I care," Jones said. "I'm here for one reason. I'm not here to be friends with anybody. I'm here to win, and at the end of the day I think that's what we're all here for."
Jones, who will leave camp in early March for the World Baseball Classic, said he didn't make any adjustments to his offseason program. He will play in games early on and hope to get as many at-bats in the Grapefruit League as he can before he leaves.
"I just think it's a matter of being smart with my body and not trying to overdo it," Jones said. "The WBC's important, very important, but the most important thing is playing for the Orioles and playing from April to hopefully October. I understand that's most important, but I'm going to go out there and give my all for Team USA because it is very, very important for me to go out there and represent my family" B Ghiroli - MLB.com - Feb 18, 2017)
March 25, 2017: Adam Jones was one of the stars of the World Baseball Classic, though he said he doesn't feel like he's any different after winning a gold medal with Team USA.
"I see myself as the same player, same person, same teammate," Jones said. "I'm going to push the guy behind me and the guy in front of me to do the job, if I didn't get it done. I'm going to be on the top step cheering you on. That's how I always played the game.
"I think it was just the world seeing me in a different light, different players seeing me in a different light. I didn't do anything that I don't do in our clubhouse here. I just try to lead by example. I probably was a little more vocal during the WBC, just because I'm ramped up. It's a different pride factor at this point. But I just do the same thing I do in this clubhouse. Now I think the world has gotten to see how the Orioles have been successful the last five years. It's not just me, obviously, but the leadership, the way you play the game, you can't quantify that in any equations."
Jones and Team USA won the Classic for the first time, after never previously even reaching the final. Jones' home-run-robbing catch of Orioles teammate Manny Machado -- who was playing for the Dominican Republic -- in the Classic was one of the standout moments of the tournament, with a photo of the grab going viral. The feat is still impressive to Jones himself.
"I look at what's the most important part about it is what's across my chest. It's something that's not just representing a team of the Orioles, it's representing the nation that's bigger than myself, bigger than MLB in my eyes," Jones said.
"I put on that uniform every day while I was there for the respect of the men and women that fight for my freedom -- my dad, my brother, my friends, my cousins, people that have fought in the military. I'm sure you guys have family members who have fought in the military. That was bigger than myself. That picture there will show that I'm trying to do something that's bigger than life, bigger than me." (B Ghiroli - MLB.com - March 25, 2017)
May 13, 2017: When Adam Jones contributed $20,000 to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, it was tied to his overall development as a person. "It all culminates," Jones said. "I'm still growing a lot. I'm only 31. There's a lot on my shoulders, but I'm still growing, and I think there's a lot more to go."
Through his many visits to the museum since entering the Major Leagues, Jones has developed a keen appreciation for the Negro League players, who built a bridge to the Majors so subsequent players could cross that bridge. Thus, he made the decision to give back financially. Jones was the target of racial taunts May 1 in Boston, but Negro Leagues Baseball Museum President Bob Kendrick said plans for Jones' donation to the museum had been underway well before the incident, which has touched off a discussion on racism throughout the sports world.
"It sends a tremendous message to young, aspiring baseball players about how you should conduct yourself, and how important it is, as you grow in a sport, to grow as a man," Kendrick said. "And to be able to give back to those less fortunate than yourself. Adam is a fine young man. "
Kendrick said the contribution by Jones will be used to help with new technology. The museum is building a new exhibition called Barrier Breakers, which looks at the complete integration of baseball from Jackie Robinson in 1947 through Pumpsie Green in Boston in 1959. It took those 12 years for the game to become fully integrated.Jones would love to see as many people as possible learn as much as possible about the Negro Leagues. Tony Clark, the MLB Players Association executive director, was on hand for the announcement of Jones' contribution.
"There are a lot of guys who have come through the museum and have an appreciation and respect for the museum," Clark said. "It's nice to have Adam voice his support for the museum in the fashion that he has. Adam is somebody who is very passionate about it. "This was way before anything that has happened in recent weeks. He wanted to show his support. This wasn't a cause-and-effect. This was something he was passionate about well before."
Jones' appearance at the Negro Leagues Museum, in the aftermath of the Boston incident, served to create more positive discussion about strides that must be made from a racial standpoint. "The truth remains, there's still some work to do," Clark said.
Jones made his appearance at the museum at mid-day before the Royals-Orioles night game. "Let's get more and more kids and adults here, so they can understand what the Negro Leagues was about," Jones said. "I'm just excited about the betterment of baseball." (R Falkoff - MLB.com - May 13, 2017)
Adam has been to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum on multiple occasions and May 13th's visit was a special one. While at the museum, Jones bestowed a $20,000 personal contribution. Jones will also formally announce that he will provide free museum admission to children from Operation Breakthrough, a local nonprofit that offers full-day early learning and child care for kids through age 5 as well as before and after-school and full-day summer activities for children ages 5 through 13.
Jones emphasized that he is always impacted by what he sees and feels inside the Museum. "It's about the game of baseball, from the Negro Leagues side of it, their point of view," Jones said. "The day you walk through those doors, there's such a love for baseball. It's contagious."
Giving kids an enhanced opportunity to visit the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum is extremely meaningful for Jones.
"It's all about getting the knowledge," Adam said. "When I walked through those doors, I learned. It would be selfish of me not to help other people learn."
The sacrifices of Negro Leagues players aren't lost on Jones. "I have an unbelievable appreciation for everything they went through," Jones said. "Not just between the lines. The things they had to endure away from the field for me to be where I am. Those are things I don't take for granted." (Falkoff – mlb.com – 5/12/17)
Adam said his mother, Andrea Bradley, helped him a lot. Especially this year with everything that went down in Boston. "Mother's Day is obviously special to my mother, who raised me to be an independent thinker," he said. "She always told me, she and my grandmother, to use your platform for good. Don't be afraid to speak your mind. Don't be afraid to speak your truth. And if you don't know the truth -- seek answers and try to find the truth. I thank my mother for my mental outlook on life.
"My wife, Audie, has the tough task of raising two boys [August and Axel]. She has set aside her life and her law career for the betterment of our family," he said. "I couldn't do it by myself. I'd be terrified. The sacrifices she has made for our two boys is nothing short of amazing. And to all the others across the world that sacrifice for their kids, adopted kids, foster parents, they deserve all the credit in the world." (Ghiroli – mlb.com – 5/12/17)
June 3, 2017: A day with a professional baseball player is a great day for any young softball or baseball player. But, a day spent with Adam Jones was a dream come true for 15-year-old center fielder Kevin Gamble Jr. Gamble Jr. is a freshman in high school who has played many sports throughout his childhood, but his father, Kevin Gamble Sr., said that baseball is probably his son's primary sport -- although he wasn't quite sure if Gamble Jr. would want to continue his baseball career in college.
After finding out about the Baltimore City Youth Baseball and Softball Clinic at the beginning of his baseball season, Gamble Jr. had been counting down the days until he got to spend time playing baseball with his center-field idol. With many of his teammates and coaches attending, Gamble Jr. called his dad again last week to double check that his dream was really about to become a reality. Gamble Jr. was one of about 300 participants at the ninth-annual Baltimore City youth baseball and softball clinic, which coincided with the "PLAY BALL" initiative between Major League Baseball, USA Baseball and USA Softball, which encourages widespread participation in all forms of baseball/softball activities among all age groups, especially youth.
Most of the participants were also involved in the Orioles' RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) Program.Along with Jones, coaches Wayne Kirby and Jett Ruiz and former Orioles Ken Dixon, Rick Krivda, and Al Bumbry were in attendance to help teach baseball and softball fundamentals to the city's youth at Radecke Park in Baltimore.After starting at a station with Krivda learning the fundamentals of pitching, Gamble Jr. moved to a hitting station with Bumbry. Each player took turns hitting Wiffle balls off of a tee and learning to keep their eyes on the ball to make solid contact on each swing. Finally, after a long wait, Gamble Jr. headed to the fielding station with Kirby and, most importantly, Jones.
The kids started in the infield taking ground balls at third base before moving into Gamble Jr.'s territory in the outfield. The young center fielder listened intently to Jones' instruction on how to play his beloved position as Gamble Sr. stood off to the side taking pictures of his son's dreams coming true. "It's a great opportunity for me, but it just shows how much [Jones] cares about the community and kids younger than him to play baseball," Gamble Jr. said. "He gave me a lot of helpful tips. I play center field too, so he gave me a lot of tips about crow hopping, catching the ball with one hand and stuff like that."
Sure, Jones could have had his clinic at Camden Yards, but both the Gambles and Jones believe that would have taken away from the experience. "Because this is the reality of the world," Jones said. "Camden Yards is not reality. Camden Yards is one of the toughest places ever to get to -- the Major Leagues. This is reality of baseball, so bring it to reality, not just show everybody cookie-cutter things."You got to come to the streets. You got to come to the inner city. This is where baseball started. This is where I started -- not here in Baltimore, but on fields like this. I'm a non-fiction type of person."
Jones' initiative is to give kids the resources and an opportunity to play baseball, and his clinic today sparked more interest in the sport to Gamble Jr. than what he already had. Even though Gamble's father was unsure if his son would continue a baseball career, Gamble Jr. now says he hopes to go on to the University of Florida to continue to play center field, just like Jones. (M Bell - MLB.com - June 3, 2017)
Nov 27, 2017: Adam Jones continues to make a significant impact in the Baltimore community. The Orioles center fielder held his fifth annual #Stay Hungry #Purple Tailgate prior to the Ravens game and doubled last year's charitable efforts for the Boys & Girls Club. Jones, who combines his well-chronicled love for food with the tailgate, took to the stage to proudly pose with a check for more than $100,000. The large sum was more than the previous four years combined, as the annual event continues to grow.
A big part of the tailgate's recent success, country duo LoCash, performed for the second year in a row as Baltimore sports fans were treated to hours of entertainment, an open bar and food from some of the city's best restaurants in a four-hour all-inclusive tailgate. Country music duo LoCash provided entertainment at Monday's tailgate. Participants also had the option of buying VIP passes, which included signed Jones memorabilia and a picture with the outfielder at the event.
Jones -- who in October pinned a tweet from last year's tailgate atop his Twitter profile -- has said the event is "Baltimore helping Baltimore," and in that regard, the support has been impressive. Jones, who participated in a Boys & Girls Club while growing up in San Diego, has prioritized giving back to the organization.
Jones and his wife, Audie, frequently donate their time and money, and the former All-Star, who often shies away from speaking about his charitable endeavors, has been named the O's Oriole Way recipient (2008 & '13) as well as the organization's Roberto Clemente Award nominee in years past. Jones is also a three-time Orioles recipient of the Heart & Hustle Award by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association. (B Ghiroli - MLB.com - Nov 27, 2017)
In space, no one can hear you can scream. But they can still see dingers. Astronaut Ricky Arnold spent Opening Day 2018 high above the planet, but made sure he had his Orioles cap and Adam Jones shirsey on. So, when Jones gave the Orioles a 1-0 start on the year with a walk-off dinger, Arnold had to let the outfielder know the homer made an impact in the cosmos: "@SimplyAJ10 – we could see that one from up here!"
Jones replied: "Tried to hit ya. Thanks for looking over us!!! " (Clair - mlb.com - 3/30/18)
MLB.com: I hear your wife, Audie, plays a big role in your life. Please talk about her.
Jones: She is the mother of my kids. She is that matriarch of my house. She controls the house. She makes the schedules. That's what people aspire to have as a partner. I know that I'm gone a lot. She picks up the slack when I'm not there. It's great to have a partner like that. She pushes me every single day to be better. She will give me nice little tidbits. She will say, "Let the game come to you." Just the smallest things that you don't want to hear. When your wife tells you, you tend to listen. She is just my support system -- day in and day out. That's one person I can count on on a daily basis to give me the emotional support that you need after a tough game. My wife is always there to pick me up.
MLB.com: Buck Showalter has been your manager since 2010. Do you see playing for anybody else?
Jones: When you play for managers for a long period of time, you are like, "Wow, will this ever end?" The reality is, we have expiring contracts. … Obviously, his mind is a brilliant [one] in the game of baseball. So obviously, the front office is something I know he can easily adapt to. But I still see him managing because I know he still loves the fight. Until he gets sick of the travel, I think he will still manage.
MLB.com: What does he mean to you?
Jones: Stability. A lot of players in their careers don't get stability. I've been able to have the stability, and that, to me, that has been great, because as a kid, I moved around every couple of years. As an adult, it has been good to be in one spot. I can say, "Cool, I can make this home. I can make this comfortable."
MLB.com: The one thing I noticed about you is how calm you are when something goes wrong from a racial standpoint. You are taking a page from Martin Luther King. How are you able to stay calm?
Jones: If I scream and holler, no one is going to listen. You have to have a solid approach. You can't come in and [holler]. That's not how you get things done. What I've tried to do is spark the conversation. You don't have to agree. … When you disagree with somebody, it's like "I hate you" now. That's what our society has turned into as opposed to "let's have a conversation." I don't like this, you don't like that. OK, but can we have a conversation. I'm trying to spark the conversation. If you don't agree, I don't agree with you, can we be adults and have a conversation and see if we can find some sort of middle ground? At the end of the day, we are all similar. Once you have conversations, things could be brought to life. You can get things done. When you just argue, nothing ever gets done.
MLB.com: You went through racial profiling in Toronto. You had fans say nasty things and throw things at you in Boston. Who taught you how to stay calm?
Jones: The game, my parents and [former big league infielder] Mark McLemore. Everything he has told me about the game -- and we are 20 years apart and we had the same English teacher in San Diego -- has been accurate. All the things I had to face, I had to go through. It comes with success. It comes with envy. Baseball is America's game, so everybody plays baseball. Everybody feels they are entitled to comment and do all that. I get it. You pay for a ticket, so therefore you can come to a game, have a few pops and berate the players. I get all that. The second thing is, the fans around them have to police it. I get you don't want to have an altercation with some drunk guy. I get all that. But you are going to let your kids hear all this stuff? That's unacceptable to me. But I'm not the parent. I'm the one on the field that they are envying. You take it with a grain of salt. It sucks that you have to always be the big person. What separates me from the next guy is that I make more money than them? Does that make me better than them? No, it doesn't. Should we play by the same rules? Yes, because we are even.
An April, 2018 interview with Adam:
MLB.com: You have a lot going for you off the field. When your playing career is over, what do you want to do?Jones: Take my kids to school, go to the country club and golf, and pick up my kids from school and then repeat it.
MLB.com: You just want to be retired?
Jones: Just repeat [what I just said].
MLB.com: I read so much about your mother and your grandmother. They raised you. What's the biggest thing they taught you?
Jones: Be myself. It's easy to be myself. It's hard to be something else. This is me. I'm a happy go-lucky guy, who will not sit there and tolerate B.S. That's all I am.
MLB.com: How many more years do you have in this game?
Jones: I want to play until I'm 40. I talked to Joey Votto and he said, "Play until you are 40 or you are a bust." It's an incentive to try and play until I'm 40.
MLB.com: Your wife is from Baltimore. Does she want you to stay in Baltimore?
Jones: Like I said, we live in San Diego. It's great having the support system of her family. Her whole family is here in Baltimore, so they are great as a support system. But we live in San Diego. The same thing that I said about my family, her family can get on a plane, too. The same thing applies. She can golf year-round.
MLB.com: How good is she at golf?
Jones: She is pretty solid. She is getting better and better. She has been doing it for two years. I don't even want to play her anymore.
MLB.com: She beat you at golf?
Jones: She wears me out. She takes it too seriously. I said, "Lady, I'm not trying to be all serious. I'm trying to have some fun." (Bill Ladson- MLB.com-April 12, 2018)
May 4, 2018: Adam became the eighth player in Orioles history to play in 1,500 games for the franchise, joining the likes of Cal Ripken Jr., Brooks Robinson, Eddie Murray, and Mark Belanger.
May 17, 2018 : Cal Ripken Jr. and Adam Jones now have more in common than just being Baltimore Orioles.
According to The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal, Jones recently dropped $12.5 million on a 25-acre estate in Reisterstown, Maryland. The former owner? None other than Ripken himself. The auction had eight bidders and the estate sold in 17 minutes. Jones is one of the most iconic Orioles since Ripken, so it is only fitting that he would be the one to win the auction for the Hall of Famer's property.
From one Orioles legend to the current face of the franchise.
August 20, 2018 : Danny Jansen feels like he's living in a dream, and he just hopes that nobody wakes him up any time soon. If a whirlwind of a first week in the Major Leagues wasn't enough, now he's sharing the field with one of his boyhood idols.I
n a moment that was 14 years in the making, Jansen was reunited with Orioles star outfielder Adam Jones during Monday night's game against the Orioles. There might be a 10-year age gap between these two, but there's also a special bond that dates back to their time together in Appleton, Wis.
Jansen grew up three minutes away from the home ballpark of the Class A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. His parents volunteered to become a host family for the Mariners affiliate, and for 130 games during the 2004 season, they opened their home to the man who would go on to become a five-time All-Star.
"It was amazing. It was a dream inside of a dream," said Jansen, who caught up with Jones before the game and exchanged pleasantries at the plate during an at-bat in the first inning. I've always wanted to be a Major League baseball player, but to be on the same field as Adam, it was a dream. I talked to him last night. I texted him and said, 'Man, that was just crazy that we got to do that tonight.' He said, 'I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world. It was awesome.'"
Jones wasn't the only member of the Timber Rattlers organization who was welcomed into the Jansen family with open arms. The Jansens hosted a large number of players, including former Major League lefty Bobby Livingston, dating back to when Danny was 7 years old.Jansen and Jones have remained in touch over the years, and their relationship resembles something that you'd normally see from brothers. Toronto's promising prospect even jokes that he tries not to bother the former Gold Glover too much these days because he did enough of that when he was younger. He figures Jones had his fill.But one of the coolest parts of this relationship for Jansen? It scored him some pretty impressive bragging rights while growing up. Not too many people can drop a name like Jones and call him a personal friend.
"When I was younger, I would tell everybody about that, because he was a superstar in the Major Leagues," Jansen said. "It was really cool, and we were fortunate to have a lot of guys who were awesome people coming through. They treated our family well. We treated them well, and it's a relationship that we're never going to forget."
The close ties to the Timber Rattlers also helped fuel Jansen's love for the sport he now plays for a living. That's a good thing for the Blue Jays, because the club's No. 3 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, has a bright future and is expected to be a cornerstone for this team alongside an emerging core of talent that includes Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette.
Jansen entered play on Aug. 21, 2018 with hits in each of his first six games. The only other players to do that in Toronto franchise history are outfielder Jesse Barfield (1981) and Ryan Goins (2013), who had hits in each of their first eight.
"It definitely helped make it more passionate, I think. Just to have all of those baseball guys around, you get to see what it's like," Jansen said. "I didn't really think anything of it when I was younger, but now that I've been in the Minor Leagues and know what it's like, it definitely helped fuel that fire for me, I think." (Gregor Chisholm - MLB.com).
Sep 29, 2018: In the winter of 2010, years before he was signed to a contract extension, Adam Jones reached out to fans on Twitter. Not yet making the kind of money that later enabled him to renovate three Boys & Girls clubs and build a computer center, the center fielder simply wanted some addresses.
Jones, vacationing with a teammate in Europe at the time, then picked a half-dozen fans to whom he sent postcards from some of his favorite stops. It was, he figured, an easy way to brighten someone's day. Eight years later, you'd be hard-pressed to find an Orioles fan who doesn't appreciate Jones for what's he brought to the field and the remarkable impact he's had off it.
"He knows what he wants in life. He wants to take care of everybody," said former O's teammate Quintin Berry, who grew up with Jones in San Diego and remains his best friend. "He always wanted to take care of people, always wanted to help out. He's like that with his teammates. He's like that with his community. Some guys, success changes them. He's never changed."
Jones, named the Orioles Heart & Hustle recipient earlier this season, will be honored in the 2018 season finale as the club's Most Valuable Oriole. Despite a down offensive year for the 33-year-old on a team ravaged by trades and in the thick of a rebuild, one can't overlook what Jones has accomplished in his tenure.
He ranks fifth in Orioles history in home runs, behind a formidable quartet: Cal Ripken Jr., Eddie Murray, Boog Powell and Brooks Robinson. Last year, Jones posted a club-record seventh consecutive 25-plus-home run season. Jones is one of just five American League center fielders to hit the 250-homer mark while at the position and ranks tied for second in Orioles history with 93 outfield assists. This spring, he made his 11th straight Opening Day start in center field, becoming the first player to do that in one uniform since one of Jones' idols, Ken Griffey Jr. (1989-99 with Seattle).
"He reminded me of Eddie and Cal," said former head athletic trainer Richie Bancells, who retired last year after spending more than four decades in the organization, including during Ripken's infamous Iron Man streak. "I know those are big names, but I think the numbers over the years have proven that. He's always reminded me of an old-school guy. I said this to him at one point. I hope when his boys are old enough I get a chance to sit with them and tell them what kind of player their dad was. I mean that, because of how highly I think of him as a player and a person." (B Ghiroli - ML:B.com - Sep 30, 2018)
June 2003: He was drafted by the Mariners in the f irst round of the supplemental draft, out of Samuel Morse High School in San Diego. (In his senior year, Jones had committed to San Diego State and coach Tony Gwynn, who offered Adam a scholarship. But Jones instead accepted a bonus of $925,000 from the Mariners, being signed by scout Tim Reynolds.)
February 8, 2008: The Mariners traded Jones, along with Chris Tillman, Tony Bulter, Kameron Mickolio, and George Sherrill, to the Orioles. In return, they received Eric Bedard.
- May 26, 2012: Jones and the Orioles agreed on a six-year, $85 million contract extension, through 2018. The new deal includes a $2 million signing bonus, $8.5 million in 2013, $13 million each in 2014 and 2015, $16 million apiece in 2016 and 2017 and $17 million in 2018. It also includes a no-trade provision.