Cleon Jones was nearly a lifetime Met. If not for 12 games in 1976 as a member of the Chicago White Sox, he’d be one of the answers to trivia questions involving those who stuck around with the team for their entire 10+ year career. Even with the brief trip to the South Side of Chicago, he’s someone Mets fans claim as their own.
Jones didn’t just show up to Shea Stadium. He was a very talented outfielder who could do a little bit of everything.
In his 1,201 games with the Mets, Jones hit an impressive .281/.340/.406. His best season came in 1969 when he slashed .340/.422/.482. Without him, we can only guess where the team would have gone in this memorable year.
Jones’ 1,188 hits for the Mets is the fourth in franchise history. During the 1960s and 1970s, he was one of the few position player mainstays in Queens. Regardless of where he played in the outfield, the Mets could depend on him at the plate.
Easily the biggest moment of his career came in the 1969 World Series. Thanks to some shoe polish on a baseball, an umpire reversed his call and awarded Jones first base. The next batter and eventual World Series MVP Donn Clendenon hit a two-run home run to help put the Mets back in the game.
An awesome year when the Mets needed him helps make Jones an all-time Mets great. The only thing holding him back was the length of his peak. Add in a few more years and he would have landed a little higher on this list.