Randy Jones was selected in the 5th round of the 1972 baseball draft by the San Diego Padres. He made his major league debut in 1973, was the Comeback Player of the Year in 1974, National League the ERA champ in 1975 and the Cy Young Award winner in 1976. Jones pitched for 10 seasons, eight with the Padres and the final two with the New York Mets. His career record was 100-123 with an ERA of 3.42. An injured nerve in his pitching arm ultimately led to the end of his career. The Padres have since retired his #35.
Since retiring, Jones has done some radio and television work, including hosting Randy Jones' Strike Zone on the Outdoor Channel. He is a spokesperson for the Padres and remains one of their most notable and popular players ever. Over the last 15+ years, Jones has made a name for himself in the barbeque business. In 1994, Jones started the Randy Jones BBQ stand at Jack Murphy Stadium
When I asked Jones how it started, he replied, "The BBQ sauce is a family recipe. It's been handed down a couple generations. When putting together the menu for the stand (at Jack Murphy Stadium) with Centre Plate (the concession company) I had my father come down and make a batch of BBQ sauce as he had done so many times at home, just eying the ingredients until the taste and texture was correct. Since I realized I would be needing much more sauce than we made with every batch, I sent a bottle to a lab and had them break down the exact ingredients so I could mass produce it."
The sauce is a winner. Believe me, I had some a couple years ago when I attended a Padres game. Of course, I am a Johngy come lately, as fans loved the sauce right from the start. Jones said, "After the first season, I had so many requests from fans about where they could purchase my BBQ sauce, it led to the start of marketing Randy Jones BBQ Sauce."
Being that I live in the Chicago area, I asked Jones about expansion. Jones replied, "Selling online is my main direction as we speak. I'm taking my time and want to do it right from the beginning." He continued, "I'm in the process of putting my sauce into Sysco Foods on a regional basis, but that could lead to expansion if we have success at the regional level."
Jones has gone from a successful baseball career to a successful business career. When asked about the connection, Jones stated, "I think the clear virtue you take from baseball to business is 'There's no substitute for hard work'. If you take the same work ethic that made you a successful baseball pitcher and apply it to outside business, you're going to have success." I couldn't pass the opportunity to ask Jones about baseball cards. Jones said, "I use the story that growing up we always put baseball cards in the spokes of our bikes with a clothes pin. It made that cool sound when you did it. Me and my buddies only used the best players' cards, like Koufax, Mantle, Whitey Ford, Warren Spahn and went through quite a few. I think that may be why they are so scarce today and so valuable."
As for seeing his first baseball card, Jones told me, "As a kid, we all dream of having our own baseball card and playing major league baseball. In 1974, seeing my first baseball card was a real thrill. I was very proud of that card. Dreams do come true."
Jones should be proud of that card and of his career on and off the field. To learn more about Randy Jones, please check out the Randy Jones website.
I want to thank Randy for a lot of fun following his career (except when he beat my Cubs). I also want to thank him for taking time to answer my questions. Finally, I want to encourage everyone to try the Randy Jones BBQ Sauce, because it's awesome!
The Randy Jones Barbeque Stand at PetCo Park in San Diego, CA-2009.