The Hall of Fame case for Chipper Jones should be an easy one.
The 1990 number one overall draft pick spent his entire career with the Atlanta Braves, and quite possibly ranks behind only Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews as the overall franchise’s greatest third-baseman. And was seen as the top third baseman, at least in the NL during most of his 19-year career.
Making The Case: Chipper Jones and the 2018 Hall of Fame Ballot
Hardware and Other Honors
An eight-time NL All-Star, Between 1996 and 2007 Jones finished in the top-ten in the NL MVP balloting six times, and won the award outright in 1999. His hardware collection also includes two Silver Slugger awards (1999 and 2000). Upon his retirement, the Braves bestowed him the honor of retiring his number 10 (Dale Murphy is the only one of the previous nine Braves with their number retired that is not currently enshrined in the Hall), as well as inducting him into their franchise’s Hall of Fame.
Statistical Leader Boards
While Jones’ appearances on the top of season statistics are his 2008’s batting (.364) and OBP titles (.470), and his 2007’s OPS (1.029) and OPS+ (165) titles, the statistics that are usually held in high regard by the majority of voters are all there for him;
10 times batting .300 or higher, which included five times in the top ten in the National League, nine 100+ RBI seasons, including eight in a row, 14 seasons of hitting 20 or more home runs, including 45 in 1999 (his only top-five appearance). His lifetime home run total of 468 is good to place him in the top 40 all-time, and his 2,726 hits has him 60th on the all-time hit parade.
Among the modern statistical categories, Jones had three seasons in the top-five in WAR, and his 85.0 total is good for 51st all-time. And while most likely it isn’t being used by any of the members of the electorate, Jones’ Baseball-Reference.com similarity scores place him in the company of actual and potential Hall of Famers.
Generally, postseason performances are looked upon as case augmenters, though as a member of the Braves for all those years when they were winning the NL East division title (1995-2005), Jones would contribute to all of the postseason series that the Braves played in. And his career ended up concluding with the very first NL Wild Card game (going 1 for 5) in 2012. On all-time postseason leaderboards, Jones is tied with Manny Ramirez for most all-time walks with 72, as well as ranking in the top-five for Runs Scored, top-ten in career Games Played, At-Bats, Hits, RBI, and Total Bases.
While Jones would be the sixth 1990s Brave to be inducted, including manager Bobby Cox, and general manager John Schuerholz along with the Big Three starting pitchers Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz, his inclusion would not incur any of the “too many from a specific era’s team” backlash that sometimes gets leveled at why certain candidates do not get the votes they deserve. Granted that tends to be more of a Committee election issue, not a BBWAA one, but Jones would only be the fourth player and only position player from the team that dominated the NL in the 1990s.
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