Who was Jumping Jack Jones?
The Rolling Stones gave us “Jumping Jack Flash”, but Litchfield graced the baseball world with “Jumping Jack Jones.”
Jones, according to The Baseball Encyclopedia, was born in 1860 in Litchfield to Daniel Albion Jones, Sr., and Emeline (Roberts) Jones, both dentists. His mother was reported to be the first woman in America to establish herself in a regular dental practice.
Jones acquired his unique nickname from a distinctive pitching delivery, which involved jumping some two feet in the air before throwing the ball. He made his debut in the Major Leagues in 1883 with the Detroit Wolverines of the National League. Detroit released Jones, and he signed with the legendary Philadelphia Athletics, where he helped the A’s win the American Association pennant. Jones appeared in his last Major League game on Sept. 28, 1883 at age 22.
Although he was ridiculed for his pitching style, Jones was no fool. He received D.D.S. and M.D. degrees from Yale, and became a respected dentist. He died age 75 in 1936 in Wallingford.