Most Valuable Oriole Jones continues adding to memorable 2012

September 30, 2012 | Luke Jones

Most Valuable Oriole Jones continues adding to memorable 2012

BALTIMORE — After being locked up long-term with a six-year, $85.5 million contract earlier this season, it was already safe to say 2012 would be a memorable season for Orioles center fielder Adam Jones.

But with the club on the verge of clinching its first postseason berth since 1997 and Jones setting new career highs in multiple categories, the 27-year-old was asked if the year could have gone any better for him — to this point, anyway — after being named the 2012 Most Valuable Oriole, the second straight year he’s received the honor.

“What more can you ask for? We’re not done yet though,” said Jones prior to Sunday’s series finale against the Boston Red Sox. “We’ve got four games left and it’s four games deciding it. There’s not one team that’s clinched an AL playoff berth, so we’ve still got four games to get it done. It doesn’t get any easier.”

In a season of unlikely heroes and a degree of success no one outside the Orioles clubhouse anticipated, Jones is the first to tell you there were many deserving candidates for the honor. But whenever the Orioles have needed a big hit late in the game, Jones has topped the list of many players to deliver in key spots.

In addition to setting new personal bests in home runs (32), doubles (39), hits (183), runs (102), extra-base hits (74), stolen bases (15), and OPS (.846), Jones became the first major league player in the last 40 years to club three game-winning home runs in the 12th inning or later in one season. With one more double in the season’s final four games, Jones will become the fifth player in franchise history to hit 30 home runs and 40 doubles, joining Cal Ripken, Rafael Palmeiro, Miguel Tejada, and Aubrey Huff.

The individual recognition is appreciated by Jones, but the 91 wins next to the club’s name in the American League East and his teammates’ contributions are much more important to him.

“I think there are some other deserving guys,” said Jones, who also mentioned Matt Wieters and Chris Davis as worth candidates. “Like I said, I’ve lobbied for Jim Johnson and our whole entire bullpen pitching staff. I appreciate it, but I can’t do any of this without my teammates. There’s the reason why we’re all out here and where we’re at. It’s getting named to me, but it is a team award. I think the whole team deserves it.”

Jones has played in all 158 of the Orioles’ games entering Sunday, which is a new career high in his fifth season in Baltimore.

His impressive numbers at the plate and stellar defense in the outfield earn most of the publicity, but Jones’ dependability is what manager Buck Showalter values most. Finding the rare player that you can trust in the long haul is a difficult task, but Jones fits the description, according to the Orioles manager.

Instead of talking about Jones’ game-winning homers or acrobatic catches this season, Showalter pointed to Saturday’s game against the Red Sox, a night in which he went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts. In the bottom of the fourth, Jones’ hustle down the line allowed him to reach on an errant throw by Boston shortstop Mike Aviles. Two batters later, Davis hit a two-run homer into right to give the Orioles a 3-0 lead.

“Last night was a great example why he’s a deserving guy,” Showalter said. “For me, it’s running out that ground ball and getting us [an extra] run. When you think about that sticking out, it tells you how hard it is to do for some people. I think that’s what I’ve been proud of [with] Adam. Not only posting up [every day], this guy played in the All-Star Game. He plays. He’s there, you can count on him.”

Anyone who’s followed Jones’ time in Baltimore has seen the maturity. Early in his career, the young outfielder desperately wanted to be the clubhouse leader but simply wasn’t ready.

Leadership cannot be forced, but five years into his Orioles career, Jones has grown into the unquestioned leader of the team. His burning obsession to win complemented the managerial guidance of Showalter that contributed to the Orioles growing up faster than anyone could have imagined this season.

“We’re all in it together,” Jones said. “This is one great year for us all, and it’s not just me who’s the most valuable player. I think there’s a lot of other guys here who’ve contributed in large amounts and they could be named this just as well as I could.”

NOTES: Wieters and Johnson were the only other players to receive first-place votes, with Johnson finishing second and Wieters third. Pitcher Wei-Yin Chen and right fielder Nick Markakis also received votes. … Jones is the seventh player in team history to win the award in consecutive season, joining Frank Robinson (1966-67), Boog Powell (1969-70), Jim Palmer (1972-73), Eddie Murray (1981-85), Cal Ripken (1990-91) and Rafael Palmeiro (1995-96). … He is the first Orioles player to reach the 100-run plateau since Brian Roberts in 2009. … The center fielder is the first player since Mark McGwire in 1988 to homer in the 15th inning or later twice in the same year. … Jones had a career-long 20-game hitting streak in May.

Visit the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear Jones’ reaction winning the 2012 Most Valuable Oriole award HERE.

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2 Comments For This Post

  1. NC Orioles Fan Says:

    What no comments on AJ’s MV Oriole? Wow, where are all those that voted for him? Please explain your reason(s) for voting AJ the MVO over Jim Johnson. Why wasn’t Jim Johnson voted the Most Valuable Oriole? I guess all those that voted for AJ missed what JJ has done for the Orioles in 2012?

    AJ has done what was expected of him from the Erik Bedard trade with Seattle. It is so easy to hit homeruns, score runs and knock in runs too. Plus make dramatic fly ball catches.

    However, there is no statistic greater than SAVING THE GAME which is Jim Johnson gets my voted as Most Valuable Oriole.

    Saving the games takes a lot more effort than what AJ has ever done for the Orioles. Johnson has matured his way through Orioles minor league system to becoming the Orioles all-time Saves leader.

    JJ has brought the Orioles form the brink of defeat many times during this season. Without his now 50 saves turned into Orioles wins, there would be 50 LESS wins for the Orioles. Without those 50 wins, the Orioles would be where the forecasters predicted the Orioles would be – last place in the AL East Division and continued laughing stock of all baseball.

    JJ should have won the MV Orioles hands down practically unamaniously. There is no comparison when saving a ballgame from a loss. Jim Johnson has earned my respect and vote for Most Valuable Oriole. I am really sorry all the AJ voters did not see what I saw in Jim Johnson.

    When Jim Johnson opts for free agency sometime, all those that voted for AJ will not miss JJ unless he comes back to haunt the Orioles saving a game for the Yankees or Redsox.

    (L.J. – Nice shtick, but for the record my MVO ballot was 1. Adam Jones 2. Jim Johnson 3. Matt Wieters.)

  2. NC Orioles Fan Says:

    Like I said, you missed the 50 wins contribution Jim Johnson made to get the Orioles where they are today. W/O him we Orioles fans would have nothing to celebrate. I say shame on you for not voting for Jim Johnson.

    (L.J. – Shame on me? I’ll try not to lose any sleep.)

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