There is no doubt that former Atlanta Brave Andruw Jones was an absolute weapon. Jones was one of the best defending centerfielders of his time and wasn’t too shabby at the plate either. There is certainly a Hall of Fame case for Andruw Jones, but with how his career fell off, it is an interesting argument. I’m here to tell you Jones should be in Cooperstown.
Jones was on the ballot in both 2018 and 2019 and had enough votes to stay on the ballot, but not enough to get into the Hall of Fame. However, in 2018, Andruw Jones had the lowest amount of votes for players who remained on the ballot at 7.3%. In 2019, Jones saw a slight increase in voting up to 7.5%. Why isn’t Jones’s case talked about more? In his prime, he was one of the best outfielders in the MLB. Pair that with incredible counting stats, and he should be a Hall of Famer.
Before we get heavy into his numbers, I would like to mention Jones is a 5x All-Star and won the Gold Glove 10 years in a row. 10! That’s 10 straight years of being the best defensive centerfielder in the MLB.
In Jones’s 17 year career, he hit 434 home runs and had 1,289 RBIs. Not reaching 500 homers might hurt his case, but a runner-up MVP season on top of his defensive accolades makes up for it a tad. On average, a Hall of Fame position player’s WAR is around 69.0. Even though Jones’s WAR was at 62.8, he still has a higher value than players like Jackie Robinson, Mike Piazza, and Yogi Berra. There are more stats that show Jones’s dominance and prove his case to be in the Hall of Fame.
fWAR (Fangraph’s Calculation of War)
Now I know this is a nitpicked stat. However, in a sample size this big it’s tough to discount. Andruw Jones leads this hand-picked group of 16 players, but of those 16, 15 of which are in the Hall of Fame. The one that is not, Andruw Jones. Tough to discount a stat showing Jones’s dominance over his career.
Still not convinced?
That’s some elite company. Granted, Jones only had 6 seasons of such and some of these players had more, this stat makes for an even more compelling argument.
OBP, SLG, OPS+, and dWAR
Not only is he one of the best defensive centerfielders of all time, but Andruw Jones also got on base. As shown by this stat here, not many could slug and get on base as Jones.
Last Stat but Certainly Not the Least
What’s Holding His Case Back?
After leaving Atlanta, Jones’s production fell off. In his final 5 years, Jones played with 4 teams and hit .210. On top of that, he averaged 13 home runs each year and struck out 25.5% of the time.
He also lacks the awards. Playing in the NL with Albert Pujols and Barry Bonds did not help his case to sneak into an MVP. Jones also never lead a major statistical category in his illustrious career. But like I said, guys like Pujols and Bonds made it very difficult for Jones to do so.
What is a Hall of Famer?
Obviously, the MLB has its definition of a Hall of Famer. However, I see a Hall of Fame player as someone you can’t leave out when you tell the story of baseball. Could you leave Jones out of the story of baseball? Maybe, it would be more difficult than you think though. In 1996, Jones hit 2 home runs in his first 2 At-Bats of the World Series. He also became the youngest player in MLB history to hit a home run in the World Series. He never won a ring but was an integral piece of Braves’ history.
Andruw Jones is certainly a Braves Hall of Famer, but getting into Cooperstown is difficult. Do I think getting into Cooperstown matters? No, arguably the best player of all time, Barry Bonds, isn’t in, granted steroid usage, whatever. As I said all Sports’ Hall of Fames should tell the story of their sport and Barry Bonds is certainly a piece of the baseball story. Anyways, we’re talking about Andruw Jones, not Bonds. Jones should be in the Hall of Fame.
Granted his final years were not ideal for those of a Hall of Famer, there is an argument to be made that Jones is one of the best defensive outfielders of all time. On top of that, he still holds World Series records to this day. Do I think it happens as quickly as I would like? No. As the years progress though, I think fans and voters will recognize exactly how good Jones was.
If you still disagree, maybe some of these highlights showing how dominant he was will be the last piece of evidence needed to sway your opinion.
Some Andruw Jones Highlights
As I said, Jones’ Hall of Fame case is certainly an interesting one. Whether he gets in or not, we as baseball fans have to respect one of the greatest primes of all time with Andruw Jones in Atlanta.
All stats used are from baseball-reference.com
Once again, special thanks to @HOFJones on Twitter as well.
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