Adam Jones is by far the leader of the Baltimore Orioles, as well as the captain. Neither of those titles are official, however they both belong to him. In fact, Jones is probably the first member of the Orioles to reach the type of status he has since Cal Ripken Jr.
However it’s always interesting to put players like Jones up against the likes of guys like Ripken, or Brooks Robinson among others. Baltimore’s a city that’s seen it’s share of beloved athletes – same as most cities. I’ve already named two others from the Orioles, but you can also throw in Jim Palmer, Frank Robinson, and Eddie Murray, along with Ray Lewis, Raymond Berry, Jimmy Orr, Johh Mackey, and of course the great Johnny Unitas.
And mind you, there are plenty of other athletes that I didn’t name who could be on that list of “beloved” in Baltimore. I might also hesitate to throw in a few Maryland Terrapins such as Juan Dixon, Len Bias, etc. Maybe even Coach Gary Williams or the old Left Hander (Charles “Lefty” Drisell). Point being that it’s a very relative list – heck throw Joe Flacco on there if you want. But I think I got most of the basics.
So again, where does Jones rank on this list? The answer is that it’s really tough to say. Of all the old Orioles and Colts/Ravens I named above, they all had something in common: a world championship. It’s worth mentioning of course that while Unitas did win a Super Bowl later as a part-time starter (sharing time with Earl Morall due to an injury), he quarterbacked in the 1958 title game – the greatest game ever played.
Jim Palmer won three World Series’ with the Orioles, Frank and Brooks won two, and Cal and Eddie one. Obviously to this point, Jones doesn’t have a championship to his name. But that doesn’t make him any less of a player.
Again, Adam Jones is the leader of this team. He kind of took over the role that Ray Lewis played in terms of being the star player in town. That’s not to say that there aren’t other Orioles or Ravens who aren’t great players and great ambassadors for the city. But when Jones talks people listen.
If we’re talking pure Baltimore sports “royalty,” I’d have to put the likes of Brooks Robinson, Cal Ripken Jr, Johnny Unitas, and Ray Lewis in categories of their own. You could make a case for any of the men I’ve listed above, but notice the term I used. There’s a difference between “beloved player,” and “Baltimore sports royalty.”
But I would put Jones in the same category with the Eddie Murrays, Raymond Berrys, Ray Lewis’, and Jim Palmers of the world. Keep in mind that in saying that, all of those men are either already hall of famers, or in Lewis’ case will be a hall of famer. Will Jones be a hall of famer? Win a World Series and I think he might have a case. But the fact remains that he’s beloved in the city, and he’ll always be fondly remembered in the Baltimore sorts landscape.