Chipper on Hall of Fame bubble

LOS ANGELES — As Braves third baseman Chipper Jones is making his farewell tour around Major League Baseball before he retires at the end of the season, the recurring question has been whether he is dead bang, first ballot Hall of Famer.

“Why not? He’s pretty much at the top of every category,” said Dodgers manager Don Mattingly on Wednesday at Dodger Stadium. “He’s played a long time. He’s been consistent. He’s been productive. I mean, yeah.”

Actually, that description accurately depicts, Mattingly, who isn’t in the Hall of Fame and may never be.

Like Mattingly, Jones has been a fine player with excellent credentials, but he plays a position that’s inhabited in the Hall by some of the all-time greats. There are only 14 third basemen enshrined. Of the most recent, Wade Boggs and George Brett each have in excess of 3,000 hits. Mike Schmidt and Eddie Matthews both hit more than 500 homers.

Jones went into action against the Dodgers on Wednesday night with 2,624 hits and 457 homers. Very nice. Schmidt’s 548 homers are tops among third basemen. Brett’s 3,154 hits are the most among the pure third sackers. As a switch-hitter, Eddie Murray is way beyond Chipper in both categories with 3,255 hits and 504 homers. Mickey Mantle, a fair switch-hitter in his own right, has the most at 536.

Jones is a .304 lifetime hitter. Boggs hit .328. As the stat freaks reminded me last winter when I left Astros first baseman Jeff Bagwell of my Hall of Fame ballot, I should have taken a close look at OPS — on base, plus slugging percentage. Bagwell’s .948 OPS is 22nd in history, but it’s still far down the list of first basemen.

Using the same metric, Jones at .935 is 31st. Mantle at .977, is 11th and the top switch-hitter. Alex Rodriguez at 20th with a .952 OPS is tops among third baseman. A-Rod, who came up as a shortstop, has played his entire nine-year Yankees tenure at third. Veering away from third baseman for a moment, Todd Helton, a first baseman, is 15th at .970. Larry Walker, an outfielder, is 16th at .965. Neither Helton nor Walker are getting into the Hal of Fame any time soon, if ever.

He may ultimately be voted in, but this all puts Chipper firmly on the Hall of Fame bubble.

 

 

3 Comments

This is quite possibly the most inane thing I’ve ever read. “Well, he didn’t have as much power as Schmidt, as high of an average as Boggs, or as many hits as Brett….so he’s on the bubble”. He’s seventh all-time in fWAR (a stat you’ll likely degrade, since you don’t understand it) among third basemen, ahead of HOFers Santo, Molitor, Killebrew, and Perez. He has more walks than strikeouts, and is the ONLY THIRD BASEMAN IN HISTORY with a .300/.400/.500 slash line. You may point out what Chipper didn’t do as well as others, but he did things better than each of them too.

Incredibly weak thinking. If you are not inclined to go to the “sabermetric”, you should look at Jones as a Third Baseman… Of the top Hall of Fame third basemen (Schmidt, Brett, and Matthews), Chipper ranks first in On Base percentage, Slugging percentage, RBI and Runs scored. Second in Total Bases, Extra-base hits, Average and Hits. He’s the only one with a 300-400-500 slashline. And the highest success rate for stealing bases between them. He is tied for most times with top 20 MVP votes.
As a switch hitter, he is the only one in history to have a career average over 300 and also have 300+ HR. He’s the only one in history to have 150+ SB and 1500+ RBI… and the list goes on. Add in the sabermetric numbers and his case gets even stronger. This guy is not “on the bubble.”

Good points. All of them.

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