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Fielder Allison Jones

Shinglehouse. Pa.,  Potter Co.

Submitted by PHGS Member Sherian Duncan Groce


Photos owned by PHGS member Sherian Duncan Groce

"They won on generalship alone." The general being referred to was Fielder Jones. The speaker was Hall of Fame sportswriter Harry Chadwick.

Shinglehouse PA's, Fielder Jones was best known for taking the 1906 Chicago White Sox to the World Series. The Sox were known as the "Hitless Wonders" due to their league low team batting average. The "Hitless Wonders" startled the baseball world by beating the powerful Chicago Cubs for the World Championship. The Cubs had set a record in 1906, which still stands, for the most victories in a season. The White Sox pulled off what has been called the greatest upset in World Series history as Jones out managed his cross-town rival, Hall of Famer Frank Chance.

Fielder Allison Jones was born in Shinglehouse on 3/14/1871. He was the son of Benjamin Franklin Jones and Laura Parmenter Jones. His father ran a general store and gave his son a taste for business. 

Jones attended local schools and the academy at Alfred University. His education prepared him to enter the civil engineering field, following the footsteps of his older brother Willard. At the age of 18, Fielder started working his way west, taking on a variety of projects. He took soundings of Lake Superior and helped survey for railroad tracks in the Pacific Northwest. 

At age twenty, he was stranded in British Columbia, as financing for his project ran out. He made his way south to Portland, Oregon, where his brother had relocated. While in Portland, Jones started playing baseball to earn money to come back to Shinglehouse. He had not played competitively before but had played intramural athletics while at Alfred Academy. Being young and athletic, Jones proved to be a natural "ballist". 

Back in Shinglehouse in 1894, Jones started playing with local semi-pro teams and moved upward in the ranks of the minor leagues. He started his playing career at catcher and shortstop but soon moved to the outfield. After playing with teams in Pennsylvania and New York for just two years, he was drafted by Brooklyn of the National League.

As a rookie in 1896, Jones hit .354. That was one of the highest marks of any major league rookie. For the next nine years, Jones would hit below .300 just once. Fielder Jones was recognized as a top defensive outfielder in addition to his offensive skills. With his help, Brooklyn would win the NL championship in 1899 and 1900.

During the off seasons, Jones lived in Boliver, NY. Boliver was the hometown of his wife, the former Mabel Schaney. Jones' son Cecil was born there. In Boliver, he ran a general store and invested in oil wells in the area. The Jones' had a farm outside of town. 

The American League came calling in 1901. As one of the stars of the game, Jones was recruited to jump to the AL for a significant increase in salary. He joined the Chicago White Sox and helped that team win the first AL title. In 1904 Fielder Jones was named manager of the White Sox. The Sox had struggled for a couple years but under Jones they were a team with direction. Jones managed Chicago from 1904 through 1908 and his teams were always contenders. The White Sox never had the best talent in baseball, but they were well schooled in how to play.

Jones' teams were characterized as being "brainy". The 1906 White Sox were a team beset with injuries. They started the year slowly but caught fire in August, winning a record, 19 straight games. The win streak vaulted the Sox into first place. Jones had out managed his rivals, in route to the World Championship. Jones was now ranked with John McGraw and Connie Mack as one of the top managers.

Fielder Jones was a fiery, aggressive leader, who took advantage of his opponents weaknesses. He was innovative, being credited with inventing the body-twist slide and the motion infield. He also knew the rulebook inside and out and was known to fiercely argue a point with the umpires.

He won four championships in 13 seasons. He was a lifetime .285 hitter in what was called the Dead Ball Era, but something was missing. Jones wanted to enter the business world. He understood that ballplayers only helped increase the bottom line of the team owners. He had moved to Portland, where he invested in real estate, timber, and orchards. He wanted to enter the business world full-time but White Sox owner, Charles Comiskey, didn't want his field general to leave. And yet, Comiskey wouldn't give in to Jones' one requirement to stay, part ownership in the team. Jones left baseball after the 1908 season. At the time, he was the most popular player in Chicago.

Baseball's loss was Portland's gain. Jones ran the Portland Company successfully for many years. He also was vice-president of a local hotel. He stayed active in baseball, coaching the Oregon Agricultural College (now Oregon State Univ.) baseball team to its first conference championship. He also assumed the presidency of the Northwest League, a minor baseball league.

In 1914, Fielder Jones was enticed back to major league baseball, as part owner and manager of St Louis in the Federal League. Jones joined a last place team. The "Terriers" responded to Jones' leadership in 1915, winning the most games of any team in the league. Unfortunately, a team that played fewer games was declared the league champion by .001 percentage point.

The Federal League folded and Jones became part owner and manager of the AL, St Louis Browns in 1916. Jones didn't have much luck with the Browns, few managers did. The Browns did win more games in 1916 then any year since 1908 but there wouldn't be any more improvement. Jones' health was failing; heart problems were taking a toll on his stamina. He fought with his players as much as he did with the umpires. Jones would resign from the Browns in 1918.

Jones lived the rest of life in Portland, managing his business interests, and raising his granddaughter. He was a regular at the ballpark, doing some scouting for the Detroit Tigers, during his remaining years. He passed away at age 62 in 1934. Fielder Jones was one of the unsung heroes of baseball's early years.


The Oswayo Valley Mail, June 28, 1956 Sesqui-centennial edition.

Fielder A. Jones Of Hitless Wonders, Born in Shinglehouse

  "On August 13, 1871, a son was born to Mr. and Mrs. Jones of Singlehouse, at which time no one dreamed that the little fellow was destined to be a big league manager of a World's Championship team, expertly dubbed the Chicago "Hitless Wonders" when he was 35 years old. 

  "Fielder started at the bottom with other lads of his age on the vacant lots and ball diamonds in this vicinity. 

  "He played for a number of years with the Shinglehouse team and then one day when the team was playing at Bolivar, and although badly beaten, the Bolivar manager liked the looks of the Fielder and secured his services for the remainder of the season and the next year. 

  "From here he started his climb up the ladder of success by going with Fillmore, Wycoff, Corning, Hornell and Eldred. 

  "Under his guidance such famous pitchers as Big Ed Walsh, Doc White, Piano Mover Smith, Yip Owens, Roy Patterson, and the famous Nick Altrock, baseball's funny man, were developed. 

  "Professional baseball was played with Corning, N. Y., and Springfield, Mass., by the Fielder. He started out as both a catcher and outfielder, and to the latter place gained fame as an outfielder, from where he went to Brooklyn in the National League for five years. 

  "In 1900 he went to Chicago, where, in 1903, he succeeded Jimmy Callahan as manager during the season of 1903 and for five years he kept his post as manager, winning two league pennants and one world championship. 

  "To start with, there were four clubs in the American League,which on paper were stronger than the White Sox had been at any time of the season. When a team which figures fifth in the league wins the pennant honestly and squarely against terrific odds, there is a reason. 

  "With the team batting average at .220 they were dubbed the "Hitless Wonders," but nevertheless Fielder brought them through to win the League and then crumpled the highly touted Chicago Cubs in the World Series. 

  "A White Sox rally was as the fans declared -- a base on balls, a sacrifice, a stolen base and a long fly. With this famous was of scoring runs Fielder shifted and juggled his pitchers, sent his men out for stolen bases and amazed the opposition. 

  "By winning the world's championship he has been classed with Connie Mack and the late John McGraw as baseball's greatest managers of all time. 

  "After retiring from active baseball playing Fielder lived at his home in Portland, Oregon, where he was interested in the timber and sawmill business and conducted his lumber business. In the spring of 1934 heart inflammation caused his death on March 13." 

 


Pages on the non-PHGS web with info on Fielder Jones

 
baseball-reference.com

The Baseball Online Library

Coach at Oregon State

The 1906 World Series

Legends of the Game


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