Looking back through the history of the internet, the final this is the last time with Todd Jones happened on July 25, 2008. Most of the top results from “todd jones tigers sucks” are from that day. The blog rants vary in length but not in vitriol.
Jones was one strike away from recording a save when he gave up a single to Carlos Quentin and then a home run to Jermaine Dye. The Tigers lost to the White Sox, 6-5, and fell six games behind Chicago in the AL Central race. It was Jones’ third blown save in 22 chances.
“Todd Jones has one job. To close out games. And he is absolutely, undeniably, terrible at it,” Ian Casselberry from Bless You Boys wrote following that game. “If coffee is for closers, Jones deserves to drink nothing but motor oil. No other major league team has to tolerate this. No other fan base suffers like this in the ninth inning.”
Jones retired after that season. The Tigers held a presentation from him in the infield. They gave him a painting. He gave a speech. The fans forgot about the past. They gave him a standing ovation at the beginning and end. Then they forgot about him altogether and moved on. It wasn’t so easy for Jones.
On one of his last days in the game he reflected on his failures.
“When you guys come up with reasons why this team didn’t do what it was supposed to do, you’re looking at one of them also,” Jones told MLB.com. ”And as a player, I regret the fact that I wasn’t able to go out there and take my medicine from the fans and from the media. Because it’s important to finish what you started.”
Five years later, Jones is one of 36 on the Hall of Fame ballot. Think about what that means. Think about all the players in the league. Think about the random players that come and go every couple of seasons. Brennan Boesch. Will Rhymes. Wilson Betemit. Dmitri Young. Damion Easley. Jones separated himself from all of them. He went from one of thousands to one of 36.
It should’ve been a day of reflection, a day of, ‘Hey, maybe I was pretty good,’ a day when those negative comments were forgotten. It wasn’t.