Jaffe: Chipper Jones is a lock for first-ballot Hall of Fame election

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at Sports Illustrated on November 29, 2017:

It took until 2016—51 years after the inception of the amateur draft—for an No. 1 overall pick (Ken Griffey Jr.) to be elected to the Hall of Fame. Two years later, it appears that Chipper Jones, the first selection of the 1990 draft, about to complete that same route. Though he lacked the obvious big league pedigree of Griffey, the Florida-born Jones—whose nickname came because he was considered a “chip off the old block” of Larry Wayne Jones Sr., Taylor High School’s baseball (and football) coach and algebra teacher—was saddled with outsized expectations of baseball stardom at a young age. Like Griffey, he more than lived up to them.

While Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and later Greg Maddux—all now enshrined—served as the primary mound anchors for the Braves’ run of 14 consecutive postseason appearances from 1991–2005, Jones became the NL East dynasty’s offensive cornerstone once he secured a starting spot in 1995, the lone year during that run that the Braves won the World Series. Drafted out of high school as a shortstop and converted to third base as a rookie, Jones never ranked among the defensive elites at the hot corner, but his glove was more than adequate for the position. At his best, the 6’ 4” switch-hitter was one of the league’s top offensive forces, and one of the best ever among third basemen.

Due to injuries that limited him to an average of 120 games per year over his final eight seasons (2005–2012), Jones fell short of the major hit and home run milestones that generally guarantee Hall entry, but his career totals and rate stats (not to mention his eight All-Star appearances and playoff performances) are more than enough to get him elected.

Read the full article here: https://www.si.com/mlb/2017/11/29/chipper-jones-hall-fame-ballot-2018

Originally published: November 30, 2017. Last Updated: November 30, 2017.