From the batter’s box to Peachtree Street, Chipper Jones always did have good timing.
That was the case once again last Wednesday as Jones was revealed as one of baseball’s newest Hall of Famers. Jones becomes the seventh Atlanta Brave to make it to Cooperstown.
Already recognized as Hall of Famers is former Braves manager, Bobby Cox, and five ex-Atlanta players who preceeded Jones to Cooperstown. Cox won 14 division titles, four National League pennants and one World Series championship as the field boss with the Braves.
The feisty Cox won 2,504 games in his foot-stomping managerial career with the Braves and Toronto Blue Jays. Also making it to the Hall of Fame from the Atlanta Braves is the distinguished group of Henry Aaron (755 home runs, .305 batting average), and pitchers Phil Niekro (318 wins), Tom Glavine (305 wins, 2,607 strikeouts), Greg Maddux (355 wins) and John Smoltz (213 wins, 154 saves).
Jones is ready to take the next step, too. He is in good company, and Jones is getting prepared to become one of the enshrined boys of summer. Jones played big league ball with the Braves for 19 seasons.
The former Atlanta third baseman and outfielder has longevity and consistency on his side. For his career, Jones accumulated some enviable memories and statistics with a lifetime batting average of .303 to go along with 2,726 hits, 468 home runs and 1,623 RBI’s.
Jones, who is now 45, was a clutch player back in his baseball heyday. He hit with the pressure on. Jones took great joy in breaking the hearts of the New York Mets at fabled Shea Stadium. Good ol’ No. 10 had many a winning hit in the late innings against the Mets. The man that they call Chipper came through time after time for the Braves in the field and at the plate. Even at age 40, Jones could still swing a mean bat. In the 2012 baseball season, Chipper had a batting average of .287, as well as 23 doubles, 62 RBI’s and 14 homers.
In the 2008 campaign, Jones won the National League batting title with a .364 average. He also drove in 75 runs. He hit 22 doubles and 24 home runs as well.
Throughout his career, Chipper provided leadership, along with his boyish grin, a dry wit and a drive to win. Jones played on 12 division championship teams in Atlanta. He also won the 1995 World Series over the Cleveland Indians.
Jones was also a main contributor as the Braves captured four National League pennants in the 1990’s and later. Chipper did a good job of producing on a daily basis, too, with six straight seasons of batting .305 or better from 1998 to 2003.
He seldom had a slump, but when he did, Jones knew how to lay down a bunt or beat out a ground ball for an infield hit. Chipper was a team leader, and he is now a Braves icon and a real legitimate Hall of Fame baseball player.
During an 8-year stretch from 1996 to 2003, Jones knocked in 100 or more runs in each of those seasons. And now Larry Wayne “Chipper” Jones is in the Hall of Fame with the likes of Luke Appling (Chicago White Sox), Ernie Banks (Chicago Cubs), Johnny Bench (Cincinnati Reds), Babe Ruth (New York Yankees), Ted Williams (Boston Red Sox), George Brett (Kansas City Royals), Rod Carew (Minnesota Twins), Roy Campanella (Brooklyn Dodgers), Roberto Clemente (Pittsburgh Pirates) and Dizzy Dean (St. Louis Cardinals).
Now that’s a good group by anyone’s baseball standards. Chipper thinks so.