Former Cub Takes Over Lehigh Valley

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).

Gary Jones’ career stats
Year Tm Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
1982 2 Teams Rk-A- CHC 31 130 111 30 38 3 1 1 13 18 5 18 17 .342 .434 .414
1982 Geneva A- CHC 2 6 5 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 .200 .333 .800
1982 Cubs Rk CHC 29 124 106 29 37 3 1 0 12 18 5 17 16 .349 .439 .396
1983 Quad Cities A CHC 133 563 428 105 132 23 3 6 34 58 22 126 105 .308 .467 .418
1984 Lodi A CHC 138 620 471 111 137 17 6 6 44 38 16 138 94 .291 .453 .391
1985 Pittsfield AA CHC 111 407 325 56 82 7 5 0 30 17 9 72 51 .252 .387 .305
1986 Huntsville AA OAK 130 592 450 116 140 23 4 2 49 34 17 128 60 .311 .464 .393
1987 Tacoma AAA OAK 135 607 473 102 131 22 6 3 49 30 12 123 83 .277 .427 .368
1988 Tacoma AAA OAK 114 393 312 50 73 8 4 2 22 13 10 68 61 .234 .374 .304
1989 2 Teams AA-AAA OAK 107 439 319 72 86 11 4 3 50 17 4 110 71 .270 .459 .357
1989 Tacoma AAA OAK 11 35 32 5 7 1 1 2 5 1 0 3 10 .219 .286 .500
1989 Huntsville AA OAK 96 404 287 67 79 10 3 1 45 16 4 107 61 .275 .474 .341
Year Tm Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG
All All 899 3751 2889 642 819 114 33 23 291 225 95 783 542 .283 .437 .370
AAA AAA Minors 260 1035 817 157 211 31 11 7 76 44 22 194 154 .258 .402 .349
AA ( AA ( Minors 337 1403 1062 239 301 40 12 3 124 67 30 307 172 .283 .444 .352
A (2 A (2 Minors 271 1183 899 216 269 40 9 12 78 96 38 264 199 .299 .460 .404
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/22/2017.

Chuck Hixson

Chuck has a wide and varied background in covering sports both locally and nationally. Living in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania, Chuck has the distinction of being the only person to have covered both the Lehigh Valley IronPigs and Lehigh Valley Phantoms in every season of their existence. Chuck began covering sports in 1998 when he was the first program director and morning host at WTKZ-AM in Allentown, Pennsylvania when the station switched to an all sports format. Chuck produced the stations coverage of the Allentown Ambassadors baseball team, which played in the independent Northeast League. From there, Chuck was the editor and writer of Pinstripes magazine, covering Phillies baseball. That led to Chuck founding Philly Baseball Insider in 2003. Chuck has done freelance work for national entities such as USA TODAY, CBS, FOX Sports, Washington Times and others.

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