Where are they now? Barry Jones
Former hurler maintains special ties with Pirates, PNC Park
PITTSBURGH -- Baseball players usually play in ballparks. They don't build them.
But if you're former Pirates reliever Barry Jones, that's the type of life you lead.
Jones, who was chosen in the 1984 First-Year Player Draft by the Pirates and played his first two full years of Major League Baseball in Pittsburgh, was project manager for the Ionadi Corporation, which poured concrete for the main concourse of PNC Park, and was a major factor in the stadium's 2001 completion.
"I spent eight months down there," Jones recalled. "It was really cool. We had the entire main-level concourse. We would do 700-yard pours. It was quite interesting -- a big project. I think our contract was $14 or 15 million."
Since then, Jones has lived happily in Murrysville, Pa., a suburb outside of Pittsburgh. He and his wife, Anita, have two sons that attend Franklin Regional High School, Preston (17) and Spencer (15).
He currently works as an outside salesman, selling contract products to local Pittsburgh businesses.
At his home, he has memorabilia to remind him of his eight-year big league career -- a span of time in which he was traded three times. The Pirates dealt Jones to the White Sox during the 1988 season. Two years later, he was part of a four-player deal that sent him from Chicago to Montreal.
Jones was traded once more to Philadelphia and eventually ended his career with the White Sox in 1993.
ARI: Travis Lee | ATL: Mark Lemke
BAL: Chris Hoiles | BOS: Bill Lee
CHC: Randy Hundley | CIN: Eric Davis
CWS: Dan Pasqua | CLE: Dave Burba
COL: Curtis Leskanic | DET: Steve Sparks
FLA: Charlie Hough | HOU: Doug Drabek
KC: Mike Macfarlane | LAA: Rick Reichardt
LAD: Jim Gott | MIL: Don Sutton
MIN: Kevin Tapani | NYM: Ed Kranepool
NYY: Jim Abbott | OAK: Ben Grieve
PHI: Tommy Greene | PIT: Barry Jones
STL: B. Tewksbury | SD: C. Hernandez
SF: Brian Johnson | SEA: Henry Cotto
TB: Doug Creek | TEX: Dave Hostetler
TOR: Alex Gonzalez | WAS: W. Fryman
He finished with a 33-33 record and 3.66 ERA, including a 6-9 mark with the Pirates.
"It all happened so fast," Jones said. "I don't think I had anytime to stop and think. I was just fortunate enough to have the God-given ability to throw the baseball 90 mph and have it go where I wanted it to."
After baseball, Jones moved back to western Pennsylvania, where his wife is originally from. And to his knowledge, he is the only former Major League player to help in the building of a big league ballpark.
"I don't know of that," he said. "There probably is, but I don't know of any."
Jones is still very involved with the Pirates Alumni Association. He attends the celebrity golf classic and alumni autograph sessions. He and about 25 other former Pirates have helped raise millions of dollars for Pirates Charities.
"We've done some great things for local charities," Jones said. "It's a shame that other teams in the Major Leagues do not have the alumni associations, to sort of give back to the community what they gave us."
And if other teams need help in building a stadium, they'll know who to call.
Todd Krise is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.