Charley Jones: Cincinnati’s forgotten baseball star

From Robert Boyer at the Cincinnati Enquirer on July 8, 2012, with mention of SABR members Peter Morris and Richard Malatzky:

But for a “four’’ instead of a “three,’’ an enduring baseball mystery – one with a Cincinnati twist – might have been solved decades ago.

Instead, Charles Wesley Jones’ death lay cloaked in mystery for nearly 98 years, until earlier this year, when historian Greg Perkins discovered what happened to one of the earliest stars of the National League.

Before revealing how that occurred, though, a word about Charley “Home Run’’ Jones, the starting center fielder for Cincinnati in 1876, when the Red Stockings opened the season as one of the inaugural members of the league.

On May 2, 1876, Jones became the second man to hit a home run in National League when he blasted one in the seventh inning against the Chicago White Stockings (today’s Cubs). Ross Barnes edged Jones for first honors when he homered in the fifth inning of the same game.

Jones etched his name in the record books in 1879 when he set the single-season mark with nine homers. He also was the first player in National League history to hit two home runs in the same inning. He was the league’s career home run leader from 1877 through 1885.

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Originally published: July 9, 2012. Last Updated: July 9, 2012.