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The Phillies Nation Top 100: #37 Puddin’ Head Jones

The Phillies Nation Top 100 continues today with #37. Our mission is to assess the Top 100 Phillies players of all time using impact to the Phillies, individual achievement, team achievement, traditional stats, and analytics as our criteria. The list was compiled by Ian Riccaboni and Pat Gallen with input from the rest of the Phillies Nation staff. 

From this point forward, each weekday, we will reveal two Phillies from the PN Top 100 in separate posts. To view the 2008 iteration of the list of Greatest Phillies of All Time as compiled by Tim Malcolm, please click here.

Please check back Monday morning for #36.

http://image2.findagrave.com/photos250/photos/2012/84/3111_133268939372.jpg#37 – Willie “Puddin’ Head” Jones

Years: 1947-1959

.258/.343/.413, 180 HR, 39 SB in 6241 PA

Previous Rank: 65 (+28)

fWAR Phillies Rank: 26th among position players, 35th among Phillies

Signature Achievements: Played 34th most games at third base in Major League history, ranks tenth in putouts among third baseman, was top five in range factor from 1950 through 1959, and led the league in fielding percentage six times as a Phillie

Made Two Consecutive All-Star Teams (1950-1951)

He couldn’t spell Constantinople,
Didn’t know beans from bones.
Pencils and books were never made for
Wooden-head Puddin’ Head Jones.

“Wooden-Head, Puddin’ Head Jones” – 1930s

I’m not really sure how smart Willie Jones was or whether or not he could spell Constantinople but one thing is abundantly clear of the man who shared a nickname with a 1930s novelty song: he was an above average Major League third baseman for parts of thirteen seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies.

From 1947 through 1959, Jones ranked third among National League third baseman in homers, second in runs scored, first in RBIs, fourth in steals, 12th in OBP, 11th in slugging, and fifth in fWAR. Jones was a power-threat from the right side, hitting the second-most homers for the Phillies in the 1950s behind only Del Ennis. Jones’ signature seasons came in 1950 and 1951 when he made two consecutive all-star squads: in 1950, he had career highs in RBI (88), runs (100), hits (163), and homers (25), helping lead the Phillies to their improbable 1950 NL pennant.

Jones finished his career the all-time leader in plate appearances by a third baseman for a Phillie – he now sits at third place on that list behind Tony Taylor and Mike Schmidt. Jones also retired the Phillies’ leader in homers among third baseman – he is now third among Phillies who primarily played third base, behind only Dick Allen and Schmidt. Jones currently ranks 13th among all Phillies in homers, 14th in RBI, and 17th in runs. A fine offensive third baseman, Jones ranked in the top five in defensive range factor at third base from 1950 through 1959 and led the league in fielding percentage six times as a Phillie.

Jones’ retired as the Phillies’ all-time greatest third baseman. Because of the accomplishments of Allen and Schmidt, Jones’ name is one frequently forgotten by Phillies fans that shouldn’t be. An anchor on the Whiz Kids, Jones is firmly among the greatest Phillies of all-time.

6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Bart Shart

    January 31, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    As far as I know, he was the third best third baseman in Phillies history behind Mike Schmidt and Scott Rolen. Played “the bag” for the Phils for 11 years. Solid ballplayer.

  2. schmenkman

    January 31, 2014 at 12:58 pm

    Bart, don’t forget Richie Allen, who should also be ahead of Puddin’ Head.

    A few days ago commenter Bruce had mentioned in the Stan Lopata article that Jones was a great Dodger killer, which led to finding this gem from early 1950:

    “Willie Jones Loves to Hit Dodger Balls”
    http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=110&dat=19500428&id=3oJOAAAAIBAJ&sjid=skIDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6758,5189023

  3. Jay

    January 31, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Allen had 545 games at 3B for the Phils, Taylor had 401, and Jones had 1453, but Jones was behind Taylor at PA for 3B? Someone got lazy with the math.

  4. Robotnik

    January 31, 2014 at 7:49 pm

    Anyone named Puddin’ Head deserves to be on the list regardless of his stats

  5. whizkidfanatic

    January 31, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    Willie Jones was an outstanding third baseman with a good enough arm and very quick release. He was the best in the league at coming in on slow rollers. A good hitter with home run power, he was a tough out in the clutch. He also hit well to the opposite field
    .
    His off field exploits were legendary. An easy going, friendly guy, Puddinhead played hard and partied hard. Richie Ashburn once said, “someone should write a book about him…he charm a bulldog off a meat wagon…” Frankie Baumholtz while finishing his career with the
    Phils in 1956 said of him, “He was a great guy, I roomed with him but mostly his bags. Pud
    liked to have a good time and he had many of them”.

    He was having a good season in 1959 when John Quinn against the wishes of Eddie Sawyer, traded him. It was a trade that did the Phillies more harm than good and ended a storied Phillie career.

    A good guy, fine player and all time Phillie.

  6. photoFred

    February 1, 2014 at 1:00 am

    He was my mother’s favorite player on the Phils. She NEVER referred to him as Puddin’ Head.

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