Photos by Daniel Gretzner
Wayne Dowell of Lincoln Park displays his poster of Downriver native and Detroit Tigers pitching coach Jeff Jones.
Through the years, Southgate native Jeff Jones has steadily carved out a very successful professional baseball career.
After his Major League career ended, Jones worked within the Detroit baseball organization for a number of years as a pitching coach helping the young minor league hurlers make their way to “the show.” After a stint with the Toledo Mudhens, he was called up to serve as the bullpen coach for the Tigers.
It was only a matter of time, and Jones was promoted to the top pitching coach position for the Tigers. The Downriver product is considered a mentor in the full sence of the word. Jones has probably forgotten more than some coaches know about the mechanics and mind sets of the pitching staff he represents.
Jones started his baseball playing days many moons ago. He was, at one time, the ace hurler on the Southgate High School varsity team, where he played under head coach Robert Mittlestat. As a prep, he had little trouble leading his team to a Tri-River League championship.
It didn’t take long for Jones to be a high draft choice of the Oakland Athletics. He spent five years mixing up his pitches against other American League opponents.
Until recently, Jones and his family resided in Wyandotte. When he worked in Toledo, he commuted to the ballpark on game days. He is a Downriver person through and through.
One of the biggest Tiger fans living Downriver has to be Wayne Dowell of Lincoln Park. Dowell likes the entire starting pitching staff of the Detroit Tigers. Since Jones is the one who sets up the starting rotation and gives them timely tips, Dowell put together a poster featuring who he calls the “Downriver Kid.”
In two weeks the Tigers will be playing in Comerica Park. Look for Jones to be moving around in the dugout and keeping a close eye on his pitching staff.