Minnesota Twins Opening Day Countdown: 67, Jacque Jones steals

FT. MYERS, FL - MARCH 01: Jacque Jones
FT. MYERS, FL - MARCH 01: Jacque Jones /

The Minnesota Twins are just 68 days away from opening day in Baltimore. As we near that day, we will tap into Twins history related to each number as we get closer!

The Minnesota Twins are preparing for a 2018 season with expectations after making the playoffs in 2017 as a Wild Card. We will have bring out numbers from team history that represent the number of days until opening day on March 29th in Baltimore.

As the Minnesota Twins slogged through the second half of the 1990s, pieces of the next great Twins team began to filter in. One of those was an athletic outfielder from San Diego who breezed through the minor league system by the name of Jacque Jones.

Jones Twins career

Jones was originally drafted by the Royals out of high school in San Diego, but Jacque chose instead to attend USC, where he was one of the more accomplished college hitters in the 1996 draft. The Twins drafted Jones in the 2nd round.

Jones quickly breezed through the minor leagues, spending a year at high-A and AA in 1997 and 1998 before hitting well enough in AAA Salt Lake in 1999 that the Twins called him up for the final 95 games of the season, where he hit .289/.329/.460 with 9 home runs and 3 stolen bases.

While Jones moved quickly through the minor league system, he did not get the polish that his raw athleticism really needed, and it would be something that plagued him throughout his career, as he struggled with patience at the plate and with his success on the base paths. Finishing his career with 28 steals in 37 attempts to jump his percentage up quite a bit, but it still was just 64.6% over his career.

Jones paired with Torii Hunter to quickly become fast fan favorites in the outfield of the Twins that became successful in 2002, returning the team to the postseason. Jones fueled that 2002 run with his best season of his career, leading to an even bigger following, as he hit .300/.341/.511 with 27 home runs and 6 steals.

Jones was a guy who struggled with up and down production, hitting .300 one more season with the Twins, but hitting more around .250 his other two seasons with the team before he left after the 2005 season.

As a member of the Minnesota Twins, Jones hit .279/.327/.455 with 132 home runs and 67 stolen bases, which is why he is featured today in our countdown!

Post-Twins career

Jones signed a 3-year pact with the Chicago Cubs in January of 2006. His first season in Chicago was successful, as he tied a career high in home runs, hitting .285/.334/.499 with 27 home runs and 9 steals.

More from Puckett's Pond

Jones essentially copied his batting average and on base in 2007, but injuries severely dampened his power, as he hit just 5 home runs in 135 games. His previous career low was 9 in his partial season his rookie year, but he did still pound out 33 doubles, so there was some hope that his power would return.

The Cubs traded Jones to the Tigers in 2007-2008 offseason, and he struggled mightily with the Tigers, leading to his release in May of that season. He signed with the Marlins, but only played 18 games. In total between the two teams, he hit just .147/.239/.207 over 42 games in 2008.

Jones found himself in independent ball in 2009. He did sign with the Twins in 2010 to attempt to make it back to the major leagues, but his power stroke had disappeared, as he managed just 4 home runs at the AAA level in 96 games.

Next: Twins need to avoid becoming Pirates

As we click to opening day, we remember at #67 an outfielder who had one of the best names in team history and helped to bring about a new era of winning baseball for the Minnesota Twins.

We look forward to that first day of the season against Baltimore!