Thursday, March 22, 2012

Chipper Jones' last season and the HOF

I've talked about Chipper's place in baseball history before. Now that Chipper says he will retire after this upcoming season I wanted to bring it up again.

The new show on the MLB Network called Clubhouse Confidential, hosted by Brian Kenny, is fantastic. It focuses on statistical evaluations and predictions of players. And aside from yesterday's show where Brian suggested Tim Tebow was a good player, the show has been great. A few episodes ago they addressed the HOF status of Chipper Jones. They came to a similar conclusion that the link in my first link above did, which is that Chipper is among the 3 best 3rd basemen ever and thus should be a lock for the HOF. Today I ran across another link making the same argument. Here is an interesting fact:

For historical perspective, were he to retire today he would become just the seventh player to finish with a .300/.400/.500 career batting line, joining Ty Cobb, Stan Musial, Mel Ott, Babe Ruth, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams. Cobb was the only other one who played a crucial defensive position.

That's an incredible list of players. What it shows is that Chipper was a patient hitter who could get on base by either taking walks or hitting the ball hard. So aside from his ability to switch hit, he was difficult to pitch to because he wasn't going to chase a lot of bad pitches and when you did throw him good pitches you had to be very careful.

I suppose you can never really know how innocent a modern player is when it comes to PEDs. So aside from the results from drug tests, which to my knowledge Chipper has passed, we can only really speculate. But Chipper doesn't to have much circumstantial evidence surrounding him. He has never been very muscular. He has aged fairly normally, both from a production standpoint and an injury standpoint. And as far as injuries go, he has had a lot of them since getting old, missing significant time because of them. So if he was/is taking PEDs, they don't seem to be doing a great job at helping him recover, that is unless without them he should have missed even more time that he did.

Being a player whose career overlapped with the steroid era, you can never be sure how the HOF voters will treat him. But it would appear that he would be a very difficult player to keep out. And then there is the whole first ballot thing, which I find a bit ridiculous. But it doesn't matter that much as long as you are voted in within a year or two of eligibility.

It won't matter for his HOF status, but it would be nice if he could be a big contributor to the Braves making the playoffs this season. It would be an appropriate sendoff for an all time great player.

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