Nothing provokes a good conversation like the discussion of whether or not a player should be in the Hall of Fame or whether or not he will be elected to the Hall of Fame when he is eligible.
Since Chipper Jones announced his retirement the Hall of Fame debates officially began.
As I began to study his career stats it became quite apparent to me that the debate should not be whether or not Chipper Jones is a Hall of Famer.
The debate should probably be about whether or not he is a first ballot Hall of Famer.
I am of the affirmative opinion on both questions.
I believe Chipper Jones and Mariano Rivera will go into the Hall of Fame the same year, five years from now on their first ballot. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why.
- With a career line of .304/.402/.533, he is the only switch hitter in history with at least a .300 batting average, .400 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage.
- That includes Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle, who finished at .298/.421/.557.
- With 2,615 hits and 454 homers, Jones won’t join Eddie Murray as the only other switch hitter with 500 homers and 3,000 hits, but he will come close.
- He also is top five among switch hitters in homers (third), RBIs (second) and runs (fifth).
- Chipper Jones is one of the best switch-hitters in major-league history, and the list is not very long. Mickey Mantle, Pete Rose, Eddie Murray, Roberto Alomar, and Frankie Frisch.
- Chipper Jones played in the steroid era and did so clean
When asked himself whether or not he belonged in the Hall of Fame
“I really don’t have any clue,” Jones said. “It depends upon your point of view. Which category do you put me into? Do you look at me as an all-around baseball player and compare me to everyone who has ever played, the hitters — and switch-hitting third basemen?
“There are not a lot of third basemen in the Hall of Fame. There are certainly not a lot of switch-hitters. If you look inside my numbers for a switch-hitting third baseman, I’ve got to think I’m pretty close. If you look at where I am all-time in home runs, RBI, runs scored, batting average — it’s mind-boggling to think of some of the guys that haven’t made it.
“That’s where you start thinking to yourself: What makes you different? They said no to them, they’re going to say yes to you? You’ve got to look at the resume and make a decision. Certainly, the fact that I played in a juggernaut organization during its heyday, won championships, won an MVP, won a batting title, those are all notches to have on your belt. But I, ultimately, have no control. I’m happy with the resume I have. That’s all I can control.”
It would seem Chipper Jones has given it some thought and well he should. The Atlanta Braves 11 World Series title and 14 division championships during Chipper Jones’s career.
When I think back on those teams I think of a great pitching staff and Chipper Jones. I cannot think of a legitimate argument for Chipper Jones not being in the Hall of Fame, can you?
I remember when Chipper Jones broke into the major leagues, and I look forward to the day when he is enshrined into baseball’s Hall of Fame in Cooperstown.