The Greatest Accomplishments of Atlanta Braves Hall of Famer Chipper Jones: Part 1
Before Friday's game against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Turner Field, the Atlanta Braves retired Chipper Jones' No. 10 jersey in a pregame ceremony. Earlier that day, they also inducted the future MLB Hall of Famer into their franchise Hall of Fame.
"I'm a little sheepish," Jones told the crowd during the Hall of Fame luncheon. "I'm almost embarrassed, because I don't believe I deserve all of this. I really don't. I play baseball. I do one thing better than most of you all here. To get all of these accolades and to get all of this attention and to have all of this happen is really awe-inspiring to me."
And although Jones doesn't feel that he is deserving of all the honors bestowed upon him, the fact of the matter is that everything he did during his career proved awe-inspiring to everyone in Braves Country.
He was one of the best third basemen to ever play the game, one of the all-time great switch-hitters and one of the top hitters in Braves history. As a matter of fact, with all that he achieved during his 19 years in the big leagues, he deserves to be mentioned among the greatest players in MLB history at any position.
It would be impossible for me to discuss everything that Jones was able to accomplish -- especially in just one article -- and while I know that I will be unable to do so even in multiple parts, that's what I'm going to try to do.
Here is part one of the greatest accomplishments of Braves Hall of Famer Chipper Jones, with part two to follow on Wednesday.
1995 World Series Champion
We start with one of the more obvious achievements of Jones' career. Although he finished second to Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Hideo Nomo in National League Rookie of the Year voting, he batted .265 with 23 home runs and 86 RBIs and helped lead the Braves to the World Series, where they defeated the Cleveland Indians in six games.
1999 NL Most Valuable Player
Thanks to former-big leaguer Don Baylor, who spent just one year as his hitting coach, Jones took home the highest individual honor when he was crowned the NL's Most Valuable Player. That season he hit .319 with 45 homers and 110 RBIs, taking a career-high 126 walks while striking out just 94 times.
More Walks Than Strikeouts
Speaking of walk-to-strikeout ratio, Jones did something during his career that very few players do: compile more bases on balls than Ks. His 1,512 career walks gave him an average of nearly 80 walks per season, while his 1,409 strikeouts meant that he punched out about 74 times a year.
Move from Third Base to Left Field and Back
Jones was the ultimate team player, even taking less money in order to allow the Braves to sign other big-name free agents. But perhaps his greatest example of "doing whatever it takes for the team" came in 2002, when he moved from third base -- where he had been a five-time All-Star -- to left field. He spent two-plus years in the outfield before returning to third base for the remainder of his career early in the 2004 season.
2008 NL Batting Champion
Despite being in his mid-30s by the time the 2008 season rolled around, Jones continued to hit. In fact, in April of that year he batted over .400, remaining around or above that mark for much of the first half of the season and inspiring discussion of him being the first .400 hitter since Ted Williams in 1941. While he ended up at just .364, it was enough to beat out St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols, who finished at .357.
Still to Come ...
On Wednesday, we'll look at five more of Jones' greatest accomplishments, including his over 2,500 hits and 400-plus homers.