Poor “old” Darryl Jones never really stood much of a chance of gaining much hobby love for his appearance on card #670 of the 1980 Topps set.

I mean, first of all, he was 28 years (and one day!) old when he finally made his Big League debut in June of 1979, ancient for a prospect even back then when we hadn’t fully realized the correlation between age and future projections.

Second of all, Jones hit just .255 with seven strikeouts and no walks over the course of 51 plate appearances.

Third of all, Jones never made it back to the Majors, and in fact hung up his spikes after that 1979 season.

Find 1980 Topps Darryl Jones on eBay (affiliate link)

Find 1980 Topps Darryl Jones on Amazon (affiliate link)

Fourth of all, Jones made it to the Bronx when the “zoo” factor was still up to your neck — Reggie Jackson, Bob Lemon, Billy Martin, George Steinbrenner, Graig Nettles, Thurman Munson, and others guaranteed that.

Fifth of all, Yankee captain Munson died in a plane crash that August, less than a month after Jones’ last game.

And, maybe most of all, Jones suffered from the celebrities around him.

For instance, his brother is former Tiger and Royal Lynn Jones — not a superstar, but certainly distinctive on his baseball cards for those thick-rimmed glasses of his.

Of course, there was the Yankee star power.

And then, right there on his own rookie card, Darryl Jones was blinded by the limelight of his cardboard mates.

On the left was Bobby Brown, who would later become president of the American League and a famous/notorious musician and husband/father.


Oh, right, this Bobby Brown was not either of those Bobby Browns. But he had the name, and he also hit 14 home runs for the Yanks in 1980 — enough to make folks forget most other team prospects.

And then, in the middle, was catcher Brad Gulden who would later become Kevin Nealon on Saturday Night Live.


Gulden didn’t become Kevin Nealon? Well … I don’t know … he sure looks like Kevin Nealon on that card. I think you may want to check your facts on this one.

At the very least, Gulden played through 1986 and managed to get into 107 games for an awful 1984 Cincinnati Reds team. So there’s that.

Put it all together, and is it any wonder you don’t recognize Darryl Jones there on the outskirts of his only Major League Baseball card?

But he sure looks happy to be there, and he made it there … more than I’ll ever be able to say.

That makes this card — and even this third of a card — a winner in my book.

Want to see a video version of this article?