The Baltimore Orioles officially clinched a spot in the postseason Sunday for the first time since 2016. While the excitement around this achievement is palpable, it also serves as a poignant reminder of a bygone era in Orioles baseball, personified by the legendary MLBbro Adam Jones. And as Baltimore embarks on their postseason journey, it is evident that the torch has been passed to a new generation, led by none other than MLBbro Cedric Mullins.
Jones, a transcendent athlete, five-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glover, and Silver Slugger, was the heart and soul of Orioles baseball for over a decade. Jones’s contributions and memorable moments, both for Team USA and at Camden Yards, will forever be etched in the hearts of Orioles fans.
In a symbolic gesture, Jones retired as an Oriole on Sept. 15, despite his last season on the field being in 2019. His retirement ceremony marked the end of an epoch, and his handing over the reins to the next Black staple center fielder in Mullins signaled a new beginning for the Orioles.
However, the rebuild began long before Jones’ retirement.
On Aug. 10, 2018, Jones stepped aside to allow the rookie Mullins to take center stage, symbolizing the transition of leadership.
He mentored and shared his wisdom with young talents who would later become instrumental in the Orioles’ resurgence in 2023. Players like Anthony Santander, Austin Hays, and Mullins benefited from Jones’s guidance during the challenging years of rebuilding.
“When we started to really stink in the summer of ‘17, and again in ‘18, I tried to let the young guys who were coming up — once we did all the trades — let them know that the big leagues are tough,” said Jones, who played 11 of his 14 MLB seasons for Baltimore. “’I’m not going to be this rude veteran to you guys. I’m going to try and explain the game in a crash course because we’re all going to be gone after these two months.’”
“So I just tried to explain to those guys how the Major League life is and give them the best advice I could.”
Following their clinched postseason spot, Hays, Mullins, and Santander reflected on their journey with unanimous jubilation, declaring in unison, “We did it!”
“They are leading this charge,” Jones said. “You hear them talk, they’ve been through the tough years. And to see what they have now, it’s fun that they’re getting to lead it. There’s nothing better than when you go through the mud and then you get out.”
Mullins is resilient, much like Jones during his early days in the league. After returning from the injured list on Aug. 11, he struggled initially but has since risen to the occasion. Now fully healthy, he’s returned to true captain form, making an impact offensively and with his glove. In the crucial month of September, he’s batting .268 with two doubles, three homers, and 16 RBI, heating up just in time for the Orioles’ quest for their first postseason win since 2014.
“This is something I’ve always dreamed about,” Mullins said. “For us to be able to come back from previous years, and now we’re here, it feels amazing.”
Mullins and teammates embody the grit and determination that comes with the Baltimore faithful while bringing their own fun and flavor to the game.
The future of Orioles baseball is bright, and it’s clear that Jones has played an indelible role in shaping that future. And there might not be a better player to carry the Orioles legacy than Mullins.