Making Chipper Jones' MLB Hall of Fame Case as Atlanta Braves Retire His No. 10

Chris Stephens@@chris_stephens6Correspondent IIJune 27, 2013

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 01:  Former Atlanta Brave Chipper Jones throws out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the game against the Philadelphia Phillies during Opening Day at Turner Field on April 1, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Friday marks a day Atlanta Braves fans have been planning for since the end of last season as the team prepares to retire Chipper Jones' No. 10 jersey Friday.

While Jones no doubt is one of the greatest Braves ever, is he a shoo-in to make the MLB Hall of Fame?

Like most Braves fans, I say "yes" without batting an eye, but the same could be said about Dale Murphy...well, at least with other fans. I'm one of the few who agree with him not being in Cooperstown.

As I sit and stew over the stats, putting my reporter's cap on is important, as I must approach this from an unbiased point of view.

While I am a Braves fan, I'm also a baseball purist that believes in a small Hall.

Each year, voters can select up to 10 nominated players. But that doesn't mean 10 players should be voted on.

So, does Chipper belong in the Hall of Fame?

In short...yes. But there is one main reason why he deserves induction when his name is up in 2018.

One of the Greatest Switch-Hitters Ever

When looking at Chipper's career numbers, consistency is one of the first things that comes to mind.

He averaged .303 over his career, winning the NL batting crown in 2008 with an average of .364. He totaled 468 home runs (361 lefty) and 1,623 RBI. His home runs rank 32nd all-time, while his RBI rank 31st all-time.

He totaled 2,726 hits and had an 87.5 offensive WAR (25th all-time).

Those stats are good, but they don't jump off the page at first glance.

Now, let's compare him to the other great switch-hitters in baseball history.

Chipper Jones 10,614 141 .303 .401 2,726 468 1,055 4,755 1,623
Mickey Mantle 9,907 172 .298 .421 2,415 536 952 4,511 1,509
Roberto Alomar 10,400 116 .300 .371 2,724 210 794 4,018 1,134
Pete Rose 15,890 118 .303 .375 4,256 160 1,041 5,752 1,314
Eddie Murray 12,817 129 .287 .359 3,255 504 1,099 5,397 1,917

Mantle, Alomar and Murray are all in Cooperstown, while Rose would be if it weren't for the lifetime ban.

When you compare the numbers, OPS+, extra-base hits and total bases stick out for Jones.

The OPS+ adjusts to a player's ballpark to give a more accurate measure of their true on-base plus slugging.

While having 2,000 less plate appearances compared to Murray, he's still within 44 extra-base hits, while leading all others.

The numbers show Mantle as being the best overall out of the group, but Jones come in a close second.

Not a Trace of Performance-Enhancing Drugs

In an era where performance-enhancing drugs have been linked to the greatest players, Jones comes out of it clean.

There has never been any speculation of him using banned substances.

He's never been accused and has never failed a drug test.

How many of the top athletes in that era can we say that about...especially hitters?

The fact that he was clean gives more credibility to what he accomplished on the field.

People can point to one World Series ring and only one league MVP, but the fact remains Jones competed against many cheaters.

How would things have been different if not for guys like Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire?

We'll never know.

The only thing we know for sure, is Jones did it the right way and did it great. For that, he deserves to be inducted when he becomes eligible.


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