A poised, fast-working control pitcher and a master of the slider and sinker, Jones won the 1976 NL Cy Young Award, going 22-14 for the Padres with league highs in wins, starts, complete games, and innings. That year, he tied Christy Mathewson‘s NL record of 68 innings without issuing a walk and became the first NL pitcher since WWII to win 20 and not strike out 100. With a 20-12 record and an ERA title (2.24) the previous season, Jones finished second to Tom Seaver in Cy Young voting, making him only the second pitcher to be runner-up one year and win the award the next (Mike Marshall was the other). He tied for most losses in the NL in 1974, when he went 8-22, and his 1975 performance won him TSN’s NL Comeback Player of the Year Award. He stopped the AL in the ninth inning of the 1975 All-Star Game and was the starter and winner in the 1976 contest. The owner of two one-hitters, Jones established a Padre record by hurling three consecutive shutouts in May 1980. He was often injured and generally ineffective after his trade to the Mets following the 1980 season, and he had trouble winning at Shea Stadium even in periods when he was pitching well on the road.
Jones established the ML season record for most chances accepted by a pitcher without an error (112 in 1976), tied ML pitchers’ records for highest season fielding percentage (1.000, 1976) and most assists in an inning (3, 9/28/75), and tied the NL pitchers’ season record for the most double plays (12, 1976).