For slash line, at least, Chipper Jones ranks tops for third basemen

A couple of years ago, I wrote a column for my website asking if Chipper Jones was a future Hall of Famer. With news this morning that the Atlanta Braves third baseman will be retiring at the end of the 2012 season, I’m reminded of the flood of responses that came in after my post. Among the things I learned: Jones has been phenomenal for posting a .300 batting average, .400 on-base percentage, and .500 slugging percentage.

Besides a career slash line that currently sits at .304/.402/.533, Jones also has the most seasons by a third baseman of topping .300/.400/.500. In fact, it’s not even close. Of the 29 third basemen who’ve hit those numbers in a season with a minimum 500 plate appearances, just eight of these men have done it twice. Jones has done it six times.

A full list is as follows:

Rk   Yrs From To Age  
1 Chipper Jones 6 1998 2008 26-36 Ind. Seasons
2 Alex Rodriguez 2 2005 2007 29-31 Ind. Seasons
3 Miguel Cabrera 2 2006 2007 23-24 Ind. Seasons
4 Jim Thome 2 1995 1996 24-25 Ind. Seasons
5 George Brett 2 1980 1985 27-32 Ind. Seasons
6 Eddie Mathews 2 1953 1961 21-29 Ind. Seasons
7 Al Rosen 2 1953 1954 29-30 Ind. Seasons
8 Harlond Clift 2 1936 1937 23-24 Ind. Seasons
9 David Wright 1 2007 2007 24-24 Ind. Seasons
10 Garrett Atkins 1 2006 2006 26-26 Ind. Seasons
11 Scott Rolen 1 2004 2004 29-29 Ind. Seasons
12 Melvin Mora 1 2004 2004 32-32 Ind. Seasons
13 Ken Caminiti 1 1996 1996 33-33 Ind. Seasons
14 Edgar Martinez 1 1992 1992 29-29 Ind. Seasons
15 Wade Boggs 1 1987 1987 29-29 Ind. Seasons
16 Bill Madlock 1 1976 1976 25-25 Ind. Seasons
17 Joe Torre 1 1971 1971 30-30 Ind. Seasons
18 Tony Perez 1 1970 1970 28-28 Ind. Seasons
19 Dick Allen 1 1967 1967 25-25 Ind. Seasons
20 Ron Santo 1 1966 1966 26-26 Ind. Seasons
21 Ray Boone 1 1956 1956 32-32 Ind. Seasons
22 Whitey Kurowski 1 1947 1947 29-29 Ind. Seasons
23 Bob Elliott 1 1947 1947 30-30 Ind. Seasons
24 Mel Ott 1 1938 1938 29-29 Ind. Seasons
25 Pie Traynor 1 1930 1930 31-31 Ind. Seasons
26 Freddie Lindstrom 1 1930 1930 24-24 Ind. Seasons
27 Woody English 1 1930 1930 24-24 Ind. Seasons
28 Heinie Zimmerman 1 1912 1912 25-25 Ind. Seasons
29 Home Run Baker 1 1912 1912 26-26 Ind. Seasons

Does this make Jones the greatest third baseman ever? Probably not, as one stat generally doesn’t separate one player above all others. Some context is in order as well. The two men most often suggested as tops among third sackers, Mike Schmidt and Brooks Robinson, played in less favorable run environments and did far more with their gloves than Jones. Alex Rodriguez played his best years at shortstop. And though Jones may rank above Eddie Mathews or George Brett, it might matter to some that Mathews, like Schmidt and Rodriguez, has 500 home runs and Brett 3,000 hits.

Jones also benefited from peaking during one of the best offensive periods in baseball history. But the thought here is that Jones’ career slash line could be one of the things that helps make him a first ballot Hall of Famer in the summer of 2018. Rightfully so.

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Andy
Admin

Everybody give a nice welcome to Graham Womack, our last “new” author of the current wave. He’s got a great blog called Baseball Past and Present, which he’s linked to near the top of his post.

topper009
Guest

I refuse to call Alex Rodriguez a third baseman.

It is interesting to rank the 3B. I think Schmidt is the unanimous 1, I would rank Mathews 2 but there is debate there, but how would you rank Brett, Boggs and Jones in order?

Mike L
Guest

Topper, not that I would ever argue with you about anything, but for the purposes of Grahams’s illustration, A-Rod was a third baseman when he picked up his two years. As was Thome. BTW, at some point, we are going to have to call A-Rod a third baseman-he already has close to 1100 games at the position.

Welcome Graham

topper009
Guest

I know, I’m not trying to correct him just saying I don’t care what ARod technically qualifies for, he is a SS and Captain no range should have been playing 3rd since 2004.

Mel Ott is on the list also.

Tmckelv
Guest

I don’t think A-rod would still have the same SS range he had in 2003. Given all of his injuries I am not sure it would be much better than Jeter at this point.

MikeD
Guest

My guess is he’d be a good deal worse with that hip.

bstar
Guest
Not to argue, but I’ll point this out again about No Range Jeter. Since UZR stats began in 2002, which cover Jeter’s age 28+ years and beyond, he rates as barely above average in range for all his games away from Yankee Stadium. His UZR splits for 2002 and beyond: Home: -43.1 Away: +0.6 Are there UZR biases for specific positions at specific ballparks? I think that’s quite possible. We would have to get data on all SS play at Yankee Stadium to prove that, really. Is TZ a better metric than UZR? I prefer it, mainly because it usually… Read more »
Mike L
Guest

How is it that in a Chipper posting, we can make our way back to Jeter’s 17 year career of worst player in baseball history?

bstar
Guest

Topper’s reference to No Range Jeter.

Mike L
Guest

I see. Like mild eczema-a scaly patch that doesn’t do anyone any real harm, but just needs to be scratched.

Wine Curmudgeon
Guest

Another need for the like button’s return — Mike L’s comment.

kds
Guest

Of course A-rod had already done 3/4/5 twice as a SS. I would guess that that is a lot rarer for a SS, and therefore more impressive. He probably will end up with more games at 3B than at SS, but he will not have as much value at 3B. Ernie Banks may have played more at 1B, but he was much better, and more valuable, at SS.

topper009
Guest

Player__________BtRuns__WAR/pos
Mike Schmidt____576.22 108.3
Chipper Jones___574.16 82.7
Eddie Mathews___544.89 98.3
George Brett____505.01 85.0
Wade Boggs_______475.41 89.0

kds
Guest

Eddie Matthews = underrated?

Andy
Admin

No, but Eddie Mathews is.

Graham Womack
Guest

Absolutely. He’s a bit of a forgotten man in the Greatest 3B of all-time debate, though WAR helps him somewhat.

birtelcom
Editor

Chipper is at 82.7 WAR through his age 39 season. Mathews was at 83.8 through his age 31 season (that’s the 13th best non-pitcher WAR through age 31 in MLB history).

Paul E
Guest

OPS+? it’s Mantle (172) Berkman (147) Chipper (141) amongst switch-hitters. Amongst 3B, it’s Schmidt (147) A-Rod (144) Mathews (143) and Jones (141). So, he’s in pretty good company…..

Subjectively? Schmidt, Mathews, Brett, Boggs, Jones. I don’t really know if Brett deserves to be third, but I believe for the period 1979-1980, an awful lot of people considered him the best player in the American League. I just don’t know if anyone besides Atlanta Braves’ fans believed Chipper to be the best player in the NL (certainly not during Bonds’ career). Boggs sure got on-base an awful lot

Adam Darowski
Guest
Welcome, Graham! wWAR has Chipper Jones (121.4) behind Schmidt, Mathews, Boggs, and Brett. Brett is at 140.3 and Frank Baker comes next at 114.4, so he’s pretty comfortably in that #5 spot. #5 all time. Hot damn. Out of curiosity, by wWAR currently active are the: #4 first baseman of all time (Pujols) #11 first baseman of all time (Thome) #15 first baseman of all time (Helton) #9 third baseman of all time (Rolen) #3 catcher of all time (Rodriguez) #12 catcher of all time (Mauer) #11 center fielder of all time (Andruw Jones) #13 center fielder of all time… Read more »
bstar
Guest

Adam, what is wWAR again?

John Autin
Editor

In case Adam’s not around, here’s a link to his explanation of weighted WAR on his “Hall of Weighted WAR” website:

MikeD
Guest

My first reaction was no way Chipper ranks ahead of Brett, and while I hold to that opinion, it’s quite close.

Schmidt
Robinson
Matthews
Brett
Boggs
Chipper

I have Brooks higher than most. I’m not sure B-R’s WAR rating fully captures his value with the glove. Brett, Boggs and Jones are all close, but I won’t put those “bottom” three into the top three.

topper009
Guest

How much more defensive WAR do you want for Robinson, he is getting almost 30 wins now. His offense was just too bad for any amount of defense to put him above Mathews/Boggs/Brett/Jones

Adam Darowski
Guest

I prefer “too average”. 🙂

Artie Z
Guest
Mike – like you, I’m not as confident in defensive ratings, but Brooks has the most career dWAR of anyone (27.3) using BBref’s version of WAR. For a comparison, Rudy York has an oWAR of 27.4, Fred Lindstrom of 27.3, John Kruk of 27.2. York had an OPS+ of 123 over 6700 PAs. John Kruk had an OPS+ of 133 over 4600 PAs. Lindstrom, who also played 3B, had a 110 OPS+ over 6100 PAs. And BBref is evaluating Brooks’ defensive career as basically equivalent to any of those guys’ offensive careers. I’m not sure how much more value you… Read more »
Lawrence Azrin
Guest
A Short History Of Whom Was Considered TG-TB-OAT (The greatest third baseman of all time): In the late 60s/early 70s, (and probably well before that), Pie Traynor was considered TG-TB-OAT. The combination of .320 career BA, many 100+ RBI years, and a rep as a great fielder was hard to resist. Some historically-minded people mentioned Jimmy Collins, or maybe Frank Baker. Most surprising is that Eddie Mathews got a perfuntory mention at best, as in “Oh yeah, he was really good too”. I guess 512 HR didn’t impress them much. When Brooks Robinson started accumulating impressive career totals by the… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest
While I have a few small quibbles with your rankings (I would put Mathews ahead of Brett & Boggs & perhaps Baker ahead of Robinson) I do think that your analysis of how third basemen were viewed is pretty much spot on. I started following baseball in the early 60’s and there is absolutely no doubt that Eddie Mathews was viewed far less favorably than he should have. I wonder if he just kind of got lumped together with the slow, white plodding slugger image of the 50’s. Mays, Aaron & Robinson were all terrific athletes and Mantle was the… Read more »
Graham Womack
Guest

From what I’ve heard, drinking may have affected Mathews’ career. Perhaps that had some role in how his contemporaries and the press viewed him.

Tmckelv
Guest

I think Eddie is also hurt by the fact that he was rarely the best player on his own team with Aaron and/or Spahn ahead of him.

Aaron hurts him more than Spahn because Schmidt had Carlton, Boggs had Clemens and Jones had the big 3. Brett is helped the most by the fact he was head-and-shoulders the best player on his team throughout his whole 3B peak.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest
Hartvig, thanks. I could see Mathews over Brett, but I think Brett had a better peak. At some points in his career (1979-80, 1985), you could make a reasonable argument that Brett was the best player in MLB. I don’t think you could do that for Mathews. Of course Mathews had Musial/ Mantle/ Mays/ Banks/ Aaron/ F.Robinson to contend with. A problem comparing say Brooks with Chipper and Brett, is that while Brooks was a “pure” 3Bman, playing almost all of his career there (2870 of 2900), Chipper and Brett played a lot of games at other positions. This makes… Read more »
Ed
Guest
Brett led the league in WAR in 1980 while playing only 117 games. That may be the fewest games ever for leading the league in WAR. He was also an absolute monster during the playoffs. Mathews on the other hand had 11 straight top 7 finishes in WAR for position players. He never led the league during those 11 years but he did have a second place finish and five third place finishes. I’d probably lean towards Mathews…he does have 13.3 more WAR during a shorter career. And a higher percentage of his WAR comes from playing third.
Tmckelv
Guest

the Sporting News had Pie Traynor as the All-Time 3B on the team showcased in the 1976 Topps baseball card subset.

http://www.checkoutmycards.com/Cards/Baseball/1976/Topps/343/Pie_Traynor_ATG/1854042

Others on the team – Gehrig, Hornsby, Wagner, T.Williams, Cobb, Ruth, Cochrane, W.Johnson, Grove

Timmy Pea
Guest

Ronnie Santo was a very good player that accomplished great things. I think George Brett is sometimes forgotten in the greatest 3b debate. George did not like to walk much, his last 5 years he really swung away.

Ed
Guest

Surprised how little black ink Chipper has.

John Autin
Editor

Don’t forget, it’s been almost twice as hard for Chipper to earn black ink
as it was for Mathews. The average number of NL teams in Chipper’s career was 15.7; for Mathews, 8.8.

bstar
Guest

Real good point. The Black ink seems to be the one HOF B-ref standard that modern players have trouble reaching, and this explains a lot of it.

Artie Z
Guest
It’s tough to lead the league in things when you have a few slugging behemoths (McGwire and Sosa), a high average singles hitter (Tony Gwynn), a few guys (Helton, Walker, Galarraga, etc.) playing in one of the most extreme hitter’s parks ever … and a guy like Bonds (and then Pujols) in the league at the same time as you are. Those guys cover a lot of the black ink during Chipper’s career. After looking through some yearly leader lists it’s more than I would have expected. I think the lack of black ink is somewhat overrated in times with… Read more »
Adam Darowski
Guest

Right, give me a guy who is good at everything (offensively) for a long time rather than a guy who happens to win a batting title or home run crown by a fluke or through an empty average or all or nothing power.

Chipper was legit.

Ed
Guest

I agree with everything all 3 of you said. I was just surprised when I looked at his b-ref page. I was just expecting to see more black ink, that’s all.

LJF
Guest
Certainly belongs in the HOF and probably top 5 all time. This may interest only me, but when I looked at his record I noticed he is currently #40 all time in RBI, yet has only one top 10 listing for the category (a 9th in 2003). For the players currently 30-50, excluding Jones, the median top 10 finishes in RBI is 9 and there are only two players with fewer than 5 top 10’s (Brett with 4 and Baines with 2). Obviously it was easier to finish in the top 10 before expansion, but the 30-50 list includes plenty… Read more »
John Autin
Editor

With 1,561 RBI and a season high of 111, Chipper is one of 5 guys with 1,400+ RBI but no seasons of 115 or more.

The others: Ripken (1,695 RBI), Harold Baines (1,621), Fred McGriff (1,550), and Robin Yount (1,406).

Adam Darowski
Guest

Ripken is interesting here. Black Ink is 19, but 9 of that is from Games Played.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

“80% of life is just showing up” – Woody Allen

John Autin
Editor

The Costanza Corollary: “I don’t think there’s ever been an appointment in my life where I wanted the other guy to show up.”

Ed
Guest

I think Chipper’s low RBI totals are due to spending most of his career batting third. SABR research shows that the #3 spot hits with runners in scoring position less often than #4 and #5. And that’s probably particularly true in the NL where the #3 spot comes up very soon after the pitcher (post 1st inning).

http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2009/3/17/795946/optimizing-your-lineup-by

On top of that, the Braves really didn’t have quality #1 or #2 hitters during Chipper’s prime. They seemed to have new guys in those slots every year and many of them posted low OBP.

bstar
Guest

That, and high walk totals can tend to decrease your RBI. For example, Jim Thome ranks #8 all-time in both HR and walks, but only 26th in RBI (Chipper is 21st all-time in walks).

Devon
Guest

Chipper definitely belongs in Cooperstown. I think on top of what you’re pointing out, he’ll be a shoe in ’cause his name hasn’t been tainted by steroids in the voters view. I think right now, the voters are dying to induct a few non-roids guys from the ‘steroids era’.

brp
Guest

Chipper’s a no-doubt HOFer, but I always think of this when I think of him:
http://www.theonion.com/articles/nation-dumbfounded-as-to-why-littleleaguers-favori,2716/

Brent
Guest

As a Royals fan, I would like to think George is 2nd, but I think fairly it goes Schmidt, Mathews, Brett. And if you throw ARod in there, I think Mathews and Brett move down one. After that Boggs, Baker, Jones and B. Robinson in some order.

wlcmlc
Guest

Hall of Famer yes – 1st ballot no way.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest
Could you elaborate why? I could see an argument that Chipper falls in a recent class with Roberto Alomar and Barry Larkin – that while they are certainly HOFers, they are not high enough up on the all-time lists at their positions to “deserve” the first-ballot honor. I see your argument, but disagree. Roberto Alomar and Barry Larkin were concensus Top-10 at their position, but Chipper is probably Top-5, Top-6; he’s a notch better than those guys. Are you going to tell me that Chipper Jones is less deserveing of first-ballot honors than: Lou Brock Kirby Puckett Dave Winfield Dennis… Read more »
Mike L
Guest
I’m sympathetic to the idea that first ballot is somehow perceived as an additional honor, but Chipper (and I’m not a Braves fan, so this isn’t homerism)is clearly one of the best to ever play at his position. He isn’t Babe Ruth, but neither is anyone else. He belongs in the Hall of Fame, and if previous generations of writers were foolish enough to make players like DiMaggio wait, that shouldn’t be the standard going forward. There’s no real justification for a no vote. Alomar and Larkin are both good comps, but Chipper is a (small) notch above both, and… Read more »
Lawrence Azrin
Guest
I agree with what you wrote, with one correction: that somehow Joe Dimaggio was “snubbed” by not being elected on his first appearance on the HOF ballot. This is a common misperception. He retired in 1951, and was elected in 1955; that’s actually _before_ the five-year waiting period (let’s ignore the one vote in 1945, during WWll). The problem was that while the HOF had the five-year waiting period, they didn’t strictly enforce it. Dimaggio also got significant HOF votes in 1953 (44.3%) and 1954 (69.4%). Many other players got votes before the five-year waiting period. Read this sentence twice:… Read more »
Richard Chester
Guest

In the early days of HOF voting a large backlog of deserving players developed and writers were anxious to clear it before they voted for more recently retired players. Only so many players could be voted in each year.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

Yes, and if they had strictly enforced the five-year waiting period, the HOF would’ve had a much more orderly and efficient process of clearing out that backlog, mainly by not spreading the votes around to so many different players.

It wasn’t a well organized system; at first the writers weren’t really sure who was eligible, and for how long.

bstar
Guest

Mike L @42, I am a Braves fan, but share a similar view of Chipper that most do on this thread. He should be a first ballot Hall of Famer, certainly if Alomar and Larkin were. I think a lot of people say “fist ballot HOFer” when they are really meaning “inner circle HOFer”; the latter Chipper Jones certainly is not.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

#31/ John A.,

The early George Costanza (c. 1990-91) was actually modeled after Woody Allen, at least that’s what Jason Alexander has said.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

#39/Ed,

Brett vs. Mathews is like Kaline versus Clemente – they’re so evenly matched in total value that you can make great arguments for either one, depending on what you want to emphasize to make your point.

Power? walks? batting average? throwing arm? shape of career? durability? They’re different for each player, but do not settle the argument in and of themselves.

Hartvig
Guest

Excellent analogy

birtelcom
Editor
Chipper’s reputation has gone from “excellent player” to “all-time great” in part because his career arc has been unusual. His career WAR through age 33 was 75th best since 1901 for career WAR through that age. That was excellent, HOF-level; indeed his WAR through age 33 was exactly the same as HOFer Lou Boudreau’s through the same age. But his WAR for age 34 and after shows him at another level or two up: 14th highest WAR for age 34 and after since 1901 and a decent final year should move him to 13th. Truly one of the greatest later… Read more »
John Autin
Editor

Good points. I mentioned recently that Roy Halladay may become the first pitcher to reach 80 career WAR with no 8-WAR seasons. Now we find that Chipper is the 2nd modern hitter to reach 80 WAR without an 8-WAR season, joining SS/3B George Davis.

bstar
Guest

My final list for greatest 3B, after much consternation:

1. Schmidt
2. Jones-the triple slash line is just too impressive, and he outWARs Brett.
3. Mathews-Mathews outWAR’ed Chipper, but Chipper is a more complete player, and I think Chipper’s D is underrated and better than Mathews’.
4. Brett-Brett’s peak isn’t necessarily way better than Chipper’s. He and Brett both have 8 5+ WAR seasons. Chipper has seven seasons of a 150+ OPS+, Brett only 4.
5. Boggs
6. Robinson

Jones, Mathews, and Brett are very, very close calls to me.

Dr. Remulak
Guest

Is Chipper the Greatest Larry ever? Messrs. Doby & Walker await your opinion.

Ed
Guest

I would say yes. If Walker had been healthier, maybe he’d be above Jones. As it is, he’ll have to settle for #1 among the “Larry Robert Kenneth” contingent.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

To get technical,there’s also Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra and Napoleon “Larry” Lajoie.

So I’d rate Larry Wayne Jones ahead of Walker and Doby, but (arguably – I know about the WAR) behind Berra, and definitely behind Lajoie.

Larry Bowa, Larry Parish, and Larry Dierker get honorable mention. If we include non-players,there’s HOFer Larry McPhail.

Ed
Guest

Hmmm…looks like Larry was Lajoie’s middle name so I’m not sure he counts. But there’s also Lawrence Patrick Gillick, another HOFer.

And how about Larry Yount – Robin’s brother – as the “worst” Larry? Got hurt warming up in his only major league “appearance”.

Dr. Remulak
Guest

Larry Yount was the Shemp, Zeppo and Cooper of Younts.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

No, actually “Larry” was a nickname for Lajoie; I see no middle name listed.

I think there are many “Larry’s”, like myself, who would be worse than Larry Yount, since we never came close to playing in MLB.

Ed
Guest

Mathews is 10 WAR ahead of Jones if one just looks at offense (they’re virtually identical in terms of plate appearances). Even if Jones was underrated in terms of defense, it’s hard to see how he could close that gap. On top of that, Mathew’s played 93% of his games at 3rd vs. “only” 82% for Jones. Based on those factors, I’d have to put Mathews ahead of Jones.

Ed
Guest

Oops this is a reply to Bstar #64.

bstar
Guest
Yeah, I’m fine with that, Ed. I thought A LOT about those two. It really hurts that I never saw Mathews play. I just think Chipper stands out more for his accomplishments, for example the triple slash line feat(he’s still going to have to OBP ~ a .360 to maintain that .400 mark). I kind of agree just a little with the feelings at the time of Mathews…that he sort of “blends in” with all the other sluggers of the 50s-60s and doesn’t stand out as much as Chipper does, even with Larry Wayne playing through the steroid era. For… Read more »
John Autin
Editor

My favorite Eddie Mathews factlet: In 1959, he batted in the #2 hole all year. I don’t know what his attitude was towards Fred Haney’s unconventional move, but I’ll tell ya this: he didn’t waste many ABs hitting behind the runner for “productive outs.”

Mathews in ’59 had what must surely be one of the most productive seasons ever by a #2 hitter, slashing .306/.390/.593 with a 167 OPS+, with 118 Runs and 114 RBI (by a #2 man?!?), and leading the majors with 46 HRs.

topper009
Guest

Other Mathews fun facts:
In the Harvey Haddix game, after the Braves had their first baserunner (Felix Mantilla) in the bottom of the 13th, Eddie Mathews bunted him to 2nd base (and went on to lead the league in HRs)

Was the manager of the Atlanta Braves while his former teammate hit HR #715

Was on the first cover of Sports Illustrated.

topper009
Guest

Since this will be Chipper’s last season, he will safely finish with a >.500 SLG. But, what would it take to knock him below .300/.400

Last year he had 512 PAs with 455 ABs, if he posts the exact same year again he will finish at .303/.399/.529

With 455 ABs he would have to hit .211 to lower his BA to .299, but his OBP would drop to .399 if he posted a .346 OBP or lower.

I wonder if he would pull a John Kruk and just retire as soon as his average hit .300?

topper009
Guest

Chipper also has exactly 1561 runs scored and RBIs. He twice posted seasons with 87 runs scored and 86 RBIs, so there is a chance (Better odds than Lloyd Christmas dating Mary Swanson) he finishes with the same in each category.

Chipper’s slash line definitely benefits from his era, it would be interesting to define the effective “.300/.400/.500” line for each season. Using the neutralized seasons on each player page (4.42 R/G), number of .300/.400/.500 seasons:
5 Jones (plus a .308/.399/.538 season)
4 Mathews
3 Brett
3 Santo
2 HR Baker
1 Schmidt
1 Boggs
0 B Robinson

Fireworks
Guest

A few years back no one could imagine the elder Jones would end up with more WAR than the other Jones, even knowing Andruw wasn’t going to add another 10 WAR just in defense.

Young Andruw Rudolph had 58 WAR after his age 29 season. Chipper had about the same but was a half-decade older.

Richard Chester
Guest

Curious factoid about Jones which has no bearing on his HOF merits. After he led the NL in batting in 2008 with a .364 BA it dropped 100 points to .264 in 2009. That is the largest one-year drop for a NL batting champ. Three ALers have more: Norm Cash (118 points), George Sisler (115 points) and Julio Franco (107 points).

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