The countdown to San Diego Padres Opening Day is down to 82 days.
Before we settle in for today’s NFL playoffs, FCS National Championship game, with some huge early-conference college basketball games thrown in, we’re taking a moment to continue our countdown to San Diego Padres Opening Day 2019, which now sits at 82 days.
To honor the number 82, let’s go back to the ’82 draft, where the Padres used their first-round pick on a right-handed high school pitcher out of Dallas, Texas named Jimmy Jones. Jones pitched for the Padres, New York Yankees, Houston Astros, and Montreal Expos during his eight-year pro career, before finishing his playing days with the Yomiuri Giants of the Nippon Professional Baseball league.
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Making 118 career starts, Jones compiled a record of 43-39 with a 4.46 earned run average, logging seven complete games in the process, three of which were shutouts. Of his 153 total appearances across his career, none was bigger than his major league debut. We highlighted his pro debut last year after Padres rookie Jacob Nix tossed a gem in his first start as a Friar (six shutout innings, four strikeouts).
No San Diego Padres rookie pitcher has been able to top the debut of Jones, who recorded the highest Baseball Reference Game Score in team history for a first career start. Behind fifteen hits from his offense, Jones pitched a one-hit shutout, allowing no walks and striking out five across his nine scoreless innings. The one hit came from Houston Astros pitcher Bob Knepper. Fun fact, the home plate umpire for this memorable debut was Joe West.
Padres fans will see a number of high-profile prospects make their pro debuts this season. Will any of them make a first impression of this caliber? It’s a pretty tall task, but a fun storyline to watch for in 2019.
Now, find your spot on the couch and don’t leave all day. Who do you have in today’s NFL playoff matchups? Give me the Colts and the Seahawks.