Jeff Jones rounding third and heading to the UPIKE Hall of Fame
Hanging in the UPIKE gymnasium is a plaque that details the baseball career of Falmouth native Jeff Jones. There is a matching one in his mancave in Clifton Park, New York and both are reminders that someone is appreciative of his time on the baseball team as he joined other former Pikeville College athletes as members of the Class of 2019 Hall of Fame.
“It was emotional. It was humbling,” Jones replied to the Falmouth Outlook. “You work hard and hope people recognize it. To have someone recognize it was pretty cool.”
The plaque reads, “Jeff Jones was one of the most feared offensive players in his time at Pikeville College. He was a two-time First Team All-KIAC member in 1996 and 1997 and was also named to the NAIA All-Region team both years. Jones played multiple positions on the field and was the only KIAC player to finish in the top ten of every offensive category in 1996.
The former Wildcat played at Pendleton up through his junior season, 1988-90, when familial issues took him away from Pendleton County. He played for Talbert Turner his freshmen season and Jay Brewer his last two seasons at Pendleton.
He was also a member of the fledgling Pendleton County High School soccer program as an eighth grader under Coach Tony Bentley. He played through his junior season and had an opportunity to soccer at Morehead State University. At the time, the soccer program was non-scholarship and an opportunity to play collegiate baseball arose.
He was All-District in soccer and baseball at Pendleton County High School and made the All-Region team in baseball his junior season.
With the move to Lloyd High School for his senior season, he went from the All-Region team to receiving just nine at bats for the Juggernauts.
“You could imagine how discouraging that was for somebody. It was really tough,” he told the crowd during his hall of fame speech that can be viewed in its entirety on Youtube and under UPIKE 2019 Athletics Hall of Fame Ceremony
“But I had a dream and my dream was to play baseball,” he said.
That collegiate baseball opportunity was at Lees College where he was all-conference before moving to Pikeville College Bears. He stayed around another year to help coach for the Bears.
In between his time at Lees College and Pikeville, he was invited to a pre-draft workout for the Cincinnati Reds.
“By far, one of my favorite moments was playing at old Riverfront Stadium in front of ownership and front office personnel. I had quite a few looks and the Pirates scout was one of my big fans,” Jones wistfully recalled. “He remained a close friend until he died last year.
Giving a scouting report on himself, he said he did not have draftable speed.
“I had a pro bat, a pro arm but Little League wheels,” he said they told him.
That pro bat began to develop as he spent hours hitting rocks out of his grandfather’s driveway with a tobacco stick.
During his speech, Jones was thankful for the many who gave him direction and help in his life which led him to that day.
A day he had dreamed about since those young days of ripping a rock out of grandpa’s driveway with a tobacco stick.