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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. – 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.

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