Sugar Land Mourns The Loss of Special Assistant & Former Astros Coach
Sugar Land Space Cowboys Special Assistant and former Houston Astros’ hitting coach Deacon Jones passed away on Sunday afternoon, his family announced on Monday. Jones was 89 years old.
“Deacon was an invaluable part of our organization and a close friend to every member of the Sugar Land front office and community,” said Sugar Land Space Cowboys General Manager Tyler Stamm. “We’ve lost a pillar of our organization and a dear friend who is wholly responsible for all of us being here. Without Deacon Jones, there would be no Sugar Land franchise.”
Born in White Plains, NY in 1934, Jones went to Ithaca College and began his baseball career in the White Sox organization, climbing through their Minor League ranks before debuting with Chicago on September 8, 1962, against the Washington Senators. The left-handed hitting infielder appeared in 40 Major League games between 1962 and 1966 before transitioning to a role as a roving hitting instructor in 1967. He joined the Houston Astros as the team’s hitting coach from 1976 to 1982 and served as the hitting coach for the San Diego Padres from 1984 to 1987. He would then step into a role as an advanced scout for the White Sox, a role he held from 1988 to 2008.
Once his career as an advanced scout ended, Jones shifted his focus to securing a baseball franchise in Sugar Land, working with former City of Sugar Land Mayor Jimmy Thompson to bring a team to Fort Bend County. Thanks to the work of Jones, the Sugar Land Skeeters debuted in the independent Atlantic League in 2012, and in their very first season set Atlantic League records for average and overall attendance.
“Deacon and I were one of the first four employees at the start of the Sugar Land franchise,” said Sugar Land Space Cowboys Assistant General Manager Chris Parsons. “He was always someone I could count on to give great advice and answer the phone when I needed; he was considered family to my family.”
Jones was consistently out in the Fort Bend and greater Houston area scouting to see if fans had been to the ballpark. He was known to come into the Sugar Land office on a near daily basis declaring, “Great day to work, can’t beat the hours!” His stories included experiences with the likes of Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson, Tony Gwynn and Mickey Mantle. For the impact he had on the Sugar Land franchise, Jones had his #4 jersey retired by Sugar Land, the first jersey retired by the franchise, on August 4, 2019. Plans for a memorial to honor the life and legacy of Deacon are forthcoming.