Gary Jones, a four-time minor league Manager of the Year and a 2016 World Series Champion, has been named manager of the Lehigh Valley IronPigs for the 2018 season, as announced by Philadelphia Phillies’ General Manager Matt Klentak. Jones spent the previous four seasons as the third-base coach for the Chicago Cubs. He replaces Dusty Wathan, who was named third-base coach for the Phillies after guided the IronPigs to an 80-62 record an into the 2017 International League playoffs in his lone season as skipper.
Jones, 57, brings 27 years of managerial and coaching experience from four organizations to the Phillies developmental staff. Fifteen of these seasons have been spent as a minor league manager, during which time he’s posted an impressive 1,039-972 (.517) record and won four league championships. The native of Henderson, Texas, also served as the Oakland A’s first-base coach (1988), the Boston Red Sox minor league field coordinator (2002) and the San Diego Padres minor league roving field coordinator (2007-13) prior to joining the Cubs.
No stranger to the IL, Jones piloted Pawtucket for three seasons from 1999-01 – guiding the Paw Sox to a combined 218-211 (.508) mark and a then franchise-record 82 wins in 2000. He also spent three Triple-A seasons with Edmonton (1995-97) of the Pacific Coast League, where he led the A’s top affiliate to a combined 232-198 (.540) record as well as to back-to-back, first-place finishes and PCL Titles in 1996 and 1997. He was honored as PCL Manager of the Year following each of his final two seasons with the Trappers.
In all, he sports a 450-409 (.524) record in six seasons at the Triple-A level.
Jones started his coaching career as manager of the AZL Athletics (R) at the age of 29 in 1990 – the first season following retirement from his eight-year playing career. In just his second year, he guided Madison (A) to a first-place finish at 77-61 and earned Midwest League Manager of the Year honors. Jones went on to win his first league championship and second Manager of the Year award while at the helm of the Huntsville Stars of the Southern League (AA) in 1994. He later served his final four seasons as a manager in the San Diego system with Single-A Fort Wayne (2003) and Double-A Mobile (AA).
Jones’ professional playing career launched after he signed by the Cubs as a minor league free agent out of University of Arkansas in 1982. Primarily a second baseman, Jones spent his first four seasons in the Chicago system and his final four as an Oakland farmhand – advancing up to Triple-A with Tacoma (1987-89). He finished with a .283 average, 23 home runs, 291 RBI and 225 stolen bases in 899 games. Notably, he recorded more walks (783) than strikeouts (542) and ended his career with a remarkable .437 on-base percentage.
Jones was previously named to the Cubs major league staff for the 2014 season by then-manager Rick Renteria. He was then retained by current skipper Joe Maddon for the past three years, which included the memorable 2016 season in which the Cubs won their first World Series Championship since 1908.
Jones becomes the fifth manager all-time for the IronPigs, following Dave Huppert (2008-10), Ryne Sandberg (2011-12), Dave Brundage (2013-16) and Wathan (2017).
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