An East Texas native was a part of history Wednesday night as the Chicago Cubs claimed the title of World Series Champions for the first time in 108 years.
Gary Jones, the third base and infield coach for the Cubs, is a 1979 graduate of Henderson High School.
Jones is in his third season with the Cubs and has 25 years of coaching and managerial experience, including four minor league manager of the year awards, while also winning over 1,000 games in 15 seasons as a minor league manager in the Oakland, Boston and San Diego farm systems.
The former minor league infielder and outfielder was signed by the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent in 1982. He appeared in 899 minor league games, hitting .283 with 23 homers, 291 RBI and 225 steals.
He began his coaching career in the Athletics organization, managing the Rookie League A’s at the age of 29. In 15 seasons as a minor league skipper, Jones amassed a 1,039-972 (.517) record, leading four clubs to league titles.
Prior to joining Cubs, he spent the previous 11 years with San Diego, including the last seven seasons as the roving minor league infield coordinator.
In 2010, Jones was named the recipient of the Jack Krol Award, given annually to acknowledge excellence in player development in the Padres system.. He also won the award in 2003 and 2004.
He managed Double-A Mobile to a share of the Southern League title in 2004 after joining San Diego as manager of Single-A Fort Wayne in 2003.
Jones managed in Boston’s system from 1999-2001, leading Triple-A Pawtucket to a franchise record 82 wins in 2000. He was the franchise’s minor league field coordinator in 2002.
The East Texans served as Oakland’s major league first base coach in 1998 following eight seasons (1990-97) as a minor league manager in the organization.
As a player, Jones spent eight seasons in the minors after he was signed by the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent in 1982. He spent four seasons in the Cubs organization, from 1982-85, making stops with Class A Geneva, Rookie League GCL Cubs, Class A Quad Cities, Class A Lodi and Double-A Pittsfield.
Jones joined Oakland’s system in 1986, and reached the Triple-A level with Tacoma in 1987.
The Henderson alum primarily played second base (568 games), but also saw action (225 games) in the outfield.
In 1986 with Double-A Huntsville, set a career mark with 140 hits and had 128 walks, contributing to a .464 on-base percentage.
From all of us in the Piney Woods, congratulations Coach Jones on your organization’s historic season! Harry Caray is smiling down. #FlyTheW