Ken Jones

Born March 18, 1938 in Tacoma, Ken was a left-handed pitcher and occasional first baseman for Portland Avenue, Clothiers, Criswell’s and Day’s Clothing from 1956-64.

Jones, who graduated from Tacoma’s Lincoln High in 1956, spent five of those seasons with Criswell’s and posted one undefeated season (10-0) that included a no-hitter against the perennially tough Woodworth Contractors team. That season, Criswell’s, a nursing home near Lincoln Park, qualified for the Pacific Coast Regional Tournament which led to participation at the AABC National Tournament.

The pitching staff was loaded with talent that season. Joining Jones were Dale Bloom, Phil Misley, and Bob Woods, a member of the San Francisco Giants organization who was stationed at McChord AFB at the time.  Ken pitched the first game in the regional qualifier but lost to Dr. Bernard’s of Portland, led by Terry Baker. Baker would go on to quarterback the Oregon State Beavers and win the Heisman Trophy in 1962.

Over the years Ken was fortunate to play for some of the areas top coaches including Bill Mullen, Bill Funk, Rance Rolfe, Dick Webster, Dale Bloom, and Frank Karwoski all whom had outstanding playing careers as well.

Although Ken was starting a new career in slowpitch softball he had one last fling in baseball with Day’s Clothing. Booth Gardner was the financial comptroller for Day’s Clothing, and he wanted the company to sponsor a baseball team in the City League. Booth approached Doug McArthur and asked him if he knew of anyone that might be a great coach for the team and Doug recommended Ken. Jones agreed and so Booth arranged for several players to get jobs at the company and then he set up a checking account for Ken to cover incidental expenses. Ken and Booth then went up to Seattle and purchased uniforms, bats and balls from the Ernie Rose Sporting Goods store to get the team started.

Among his players were Schultz, Bill Parker and Bob Abelsett from Wilson high and Steve Bramwell from Bremerton. Abelsett enjoyed a nice basketball career at CPS and Parker and Bramwell were football teammates for the Huskies. That team featured a teenage Ron Cey who went on to hit 316 major league home runs from 1971-1987.

How did Cey end up with the club? Earlier Ron had played in the Babe Ruth baseball program from age 14-16 under the watchful eye of coach Ken Jones. The second year of the team, Frank Cey had sponsored the team with his son as perhaps the best shortstop in the league.

However, Ken suggested to Ron that if he really wanted to make it to the big leagues he would more likely be successful as a catcher or shortstop. Frank was furious with the suggestion and approached Boy’s Club Director, Don Danielson, threatening to pull his sponsorship. Cooler heads prevailed and Ron gravitated to the hot corner with ease and the rest is history.

Jones later played slowpitch softball for 15 years for McKnights Foods, Lucky Lager, Wested Tire and Foss Tire among others. During an extensive slowpitch career he was selected to the All-Star team in eight invitational tournaments and one Regional tournament and received one tournament MVP award as well.

In 2010 “Jonesie” was inducted into the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) Hall of Fame as a basketball official. Ken served as the Executive Secretary for the Western Washington Basketball Officials Association for 21 years and also as the Washington Officials Association (WOA) Executive Board President for 12 years. He refereed eight high school basketball state championship games.