Retirements are often celebrated with parties or a dedication ceremony of some kind. But in Baltimore, to have a salt box designed in your honor is its own touchstone of success — as is the case for Orioles center fielder Adam Jones.

Baltimore City’s salt and sand boxes are intended to assist residents when plow trucks are unable to make it down their street. But at the height of the pandemic, local artist Juliet Ames began transforming the 24-inch wooden cubes as “little labors of love” to the city, she said.

Now, when anything major or important happens — like Jones retiring on Sept. 15 — Ames feels the need to highlight the individual involved or the moment itself.

Though he last played in the MLB in 2019, the O’s will honor Jones at Camden Yards in recognition of the large part he played in the Orioles’ best seasons in the mid-2010s and Team USA in the 2017 World Baseball Classic, The Banner previously reported.

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Initially, Ames thought about depicting a pink bubble coming out of Jones’ mouth because he was always chewing gum. But she scrapped that for a pie to the face instead, since the athlete was notorious for slamming the pastry into his teammates’ faces.

“I love when he used to pie people. It was a cool thing because I love the human stories behind baseball and the goofy stuff like that. And so I wanted to do something to highlight his personality in that regard,” Ames said, adding that she’s not that much into sports.

“We’re not really a sporty family so much. But something about that season and those couple of years of Adam Jones, we were really into it, you know. My son was at the perfect age to love baseball,“ Ames said of her now 16-year-old son. “It was really fun to just delve deep for a minute into baseball.”

The box with Jones’ face is located at 5002 York Road at the Popeyes restaurant drive-thru. Ames said she previously had a Gene Hackman design there because he played by Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle in “The French Connection,” the 1971 movie about a violent and unlikable New York City narcotics detective.

But Ames said the design was old and Jones had documented his love of Popeyes through the years, so the location made sense. The salt boxes will pop up once again in November as Baltimore’s transportation department installs them ahead of potentially wintry weather.

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The Jones design is just one of about 60 ideas Ames has in store for this year’s boxes. Since starting the works of art in December 2020, Ames said the city loved them so much that she just kept making them.

“Then it turned into kind of a love letter to the city about things and people I love in the city,“ Ames said. “Only in Baltimore could I have a fun idea like this and get to put it out there in the world.”

penelope.blackwell@thebaltimorebanner.com

Penelope Blackwell is a Breaking News reporter with The Banner. Previously, she covered local government in Durham, NC, for The News & Observer. She received her bachelor’s degree in journalism from Morgan State University and her master’s in journalism from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

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