Adam Jones deserves to have his number retired

 No. 10 should be here next.

No. 10 should be here next.

The Orioles have retired the numbers of five players and one manager. They're all Hall of Famers.

Brooks Robinson was perhaps the greatest defender this game has ever seen.

Frank Robinson is a two-time World Series champion who slashed an incredible .300/.401/.543 as an Oriole.

Eddie Murray is part of the incredibly rare club of 500 homers and 3000 hits.

Jim Palmer pitched in six World Series, winning three of them as he also picked up a trio of Cy Young awards.

Cal Ripken's 2,632 consecutive games is a record that is virtually unbreakable and his 3,000 hits, 1991 AL MVP and 1983 World Series title are nothing to sneeze at other.

Lastly, Earl Weaver won 1480 regular season games, four AL pennants and the 1970 World Series for a pretty spectacular resume.

Adam Jones, for all his success as an Oriole, is not exactly any of the Hall of Famers mentioned above. Frank Robinson racked up 33.4 fWAR in 827 regular season games as an Oriole compared to Jones' 29.1 in 1573 games and counting. His career wOBA and wRC+ as an Oriole trail Frank Robinson, Ripken and Murray.

Perhaps the most notable stat of all is the big goose egg Jones will have in career World Series appearances as an Oriole. Jones was a key player in the Orioles' three playoff appearances from 2012 to 2016, but his career .155/.206/.207 line in 63 playoff plate appearances was a contributing factor to the Orioles failing to reach, let alone win, the World Series.

The thing is, I don't care that Jones' career numbers aren't at the Hall of Fame-level of Frank Robinson. Nor do I care that he failed to ever advance any further than the ALCS in his career.

Adam Jones is one of the most important players in franchise history and deserves the highest honor a team can bestow on a player: retiring his number.


Before 2012, every Orioles team that had made the postseason had a Hall of Famer on their roster who spent a meaningful part of their career in Baltimore. In 1966, it was Palmer and both of the Robinsons. 31 years later, the 1997 Orioles enjoyed the services of a 36-year-old Ripken.

2012 was different.

The leader and best player on that 2012 team was Jones. He had a breakout season, enjoying an iso power above .200 for the first time in his career while posting career highs in both doubles and homers.

After being with the Orioles since 2008 and the highlight of the Erik Bedard trade, the 26-year-old Jones had achieved his full potential and accomplished something that no Oriole had done since 1997: he led the Orioles to the postseason.

The dark ages of 1998 to 2011 had come to an end and it was thanks in large part to his efforts. As far as changing the direction of the franchise, Jones' 2012 campaign was more meaningful than what his .287/.334/.505 line could ever reflect.

I could continue to go into Jones' stats but I'm going to assume anyone reading this knows what is and will save people the time. Jones should have his number retired not just for his extremely good stats, but because of what he did off the field as well.

One that will always stand out to me is that Jones adopted the Baltimore Ravens as his team. He's from San Diego and had previously tweeted that his favorite team was the Indianapolis Colts but during the Ravens' run to the Super Bowl in the 2012-13 season, Jones attended their playoff games in Denver and New England. He embraced everything that came with being a part of Baltimore, which included the football team that played a short walk away from Camden Yards.

Of course, Jones' community involvement extended beyond just rooting for the Ravens. There's a laundry list of things he's done to be involved in Baltimore and the local community around the area. Most recently he donated money to help a local little league team and there's plenty more examples I could rattle off. 

In addition to really embracing being a part of the community Jones has always been willing to speak on issues that not all ball players seem to be comfortable with.

Jones declined a trade to the Phillies before the non-waiver trade deadline ended because of his 10-5 rights that allowed him to reject being traded. When asked to explain why, he referenced the 1994 MLB players' strike. "When players walked out years ago and walked the picket lines and did all that stuff, they did all that for reasons like right now,” Jones said.

The most important thing Jones ever did as an Oriole was how he handled being taunted with racial slurs at Fenway Park last season. He reflected on what happened with composure and grace in a situation where everyone could have forgiven him for reacting more much angrily. On the Players' Tribune he wrote an article and spoke in a video giving his perspective directly on the incident.


Ultimately, if the Orioles only want to continue their tradition of retiring numbers strictly for on-the-field performance, I think it's fair to say Jones isn't quite in the upper echelon of Orioles like Ripken and Murray.

However, a retired number should be a celebration of players' significance that go beyond just a bunch of numbers on Baseball-Reference. For the Orioles, Jones has not only been consistently one of their best players, but a clubhouse leader who has embraced the community and someone who is always representing the Orioles in the best way possible in how he handles himself on and off the field.

As his Orioles tenure looks increasingly likely to end at the end of this season, the Orioles should make sure that Jones is the last player to ever wear No. 10.

It's the least the Orioles can do for a player who has given their franchise so much.