Happy 68th birthday to one of the best to ever put on a San Diego Padres uniform, Randy Jones. Jones was drafted by the Padres in the 5th round of the 1972 draft.
He made his debut in 1973. He won seven games with a 3.16 ERA, with an ERA+ of 110.
In 1974, things didn’t look good for the young lefty. He led the entire MLB with 22 losses and a 4.45 ERA in 40 games, 34 of them starts.
As Jones has time and time again on and off the field, he battled back and rebounded nicely. 1975 was one of the best seasons by a Padres pitcher ever. He won 20 games with a National League-best 2.24 ERA in 36 starts and 156 ERA+, both career-bests as well. He earned his first All-Star selection and finished second in Cy Young voting (we will forgive him for losing to Hall of Famer Tom Seaver).
In 1976, however, he would not be denied. He won a career-high 22 games in a Major League-high 40 starts with an astounding 25 complete games (that’s how many Clayton Kershaw has in his 10-year career). With a 2.74 ERA and 315 innings to boot, he won the Cy Young. He also earned his second consecutive All-Star appearance. That season, he also set the single season record for most fielding chances by a pitcher without an error.
Jones pitched for the Padres until 1980. In those eight seasons, he had four 11+ win seasons, five seasons with at least 34 starts and over 200 innings and four seasons over 100 ERA+ (meaning he was an above average pitcher for those years).
After the 1980 season, he was traded to the New York Mets. He never quite reached the numbers he did in San Diego. His last season was in 1982, when he won seven games and had a 4.60 ERA. He finished his career with an even 100 wins.
Jones had his number 35 retired by the Padres in 1997. He still lives in San Diego and joins the Padres radio team from time to time. He is fully invested in his community.