January 10, 2011 at 9:15 pm by Kevin Orris under Atlanta Braves
As I mentioned last week, Peter and I would be contributing our thoughts on the Andruw Jones’ Hall of Fame candidacy. Our views are constructed below.
In short, I think Andruw Jones has already done enough to justify a spot in the Hall of Fame. If you look at his J-HOFFA stats, he falls short in Black and Gray ink, but those statistics are exclusively based on batting accomplishments. Andruw Jones made his name as a fielder. For six straight years (1997-2002) he lead the league in defensive rWAR and he’s 1st on the active dWAR list with 23.7 (second only to Brooks Robinson all-time, ahead of Roberto Clemente, Ozzie Smith, and the likes).
When you compare him to other players of his era, it’s clear he had one of the best peaks in the game. From 1995-2010 only 2 players accumulated more rWAR during their 3rd-11th seasons: Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez. Andruw is ahead of Todd Helton, Chipper Jones, Bobby Abreu, Vladimir Guerrero, Scott Rolen, Jim Edmonds, Derek Jeter, et cetera. Change the requirement from the post-strike era to the live-ball era (1920-2010) and Andruw still comes in 27th, behind Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Barry Bonds, Lou Gehrig, Stan Musial, Hank Aaron, Mike Schmidt, Ted Williams, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Eddie Matthews, Rickey Henderson, Cal Ripken Jr., Ken Griffey Jr., Rogers Hornsbey, Jeff Bagwell, Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Mel Ott, Wade Boggs, Babe Ruth, Carl Yastrzemski, Duke Snider, Arky Vaughan, Frank Robinson, and George Brett. Every single one of those players that is eligible for the Hall of Fame is in except Jeff Bagwell, who has been on the ballot for only one year. The ineligibles are Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, and Ken Griffey Jr.
The Hall of Fame voters have traditionally been open to granting players whose primary method of production involves their glove admission. When Andruw’s time comes, I hope they recognize what an amazingly valuable peak he had and give credit where credit is due. He’s a Hall of Famer in my book.
As a Braves fan, I would love for nothing more than Jones to get the nod into the Hall of Fame, but unless the election process is altered, I doubt that he will get the nod.
While his defensive accomplishments are unmatched as proven through numbers, scouting, and Gold Glove Awards, the writers have proven that they don’t value his defense as much as the fans seem to. His 2005 offensive numbers were the best of his career – and even then he failed to win the National League MVP Award. (Yes, I’m aware he still won a Silver Slugger, Gold Glove, and was voted into the All-Star Game)
The writers who vote for the Hall of Fame are the same ones who vote for the awards, therefore, I have little faith in them electing Andruw Jones years down the line. I’m willing to bet that he will earn 20-30% of the vote his first year, at the most. Like most Braves fans, I agree that it’s highly unlikely that Jones took steroids. He never seemed to care very much. Even if he did, they didn’t help him.
Jones career went downhill when he started to fall out of shape. He was adding weight, stealing fewer bases, and suffered from slightly reduced range. In order for steroids to work effectively, if at all, you need to work out on a regular basis. I’m not buying it.
Writers will still be writers when it comes to the voting and attempt to create stories rather than write about the, and leave him off of their ballot. Whether it’s regarding him playing in the steroid era, his poor batting average, or the relatively short length of success (in HOF standards), I wouldn’t be surprised if he spends 15 years on the ballot without election.
Side Note: I stopped through Atlanta last week in a trip across the country to find out that everyone was preparing for the “big snow storm” promising to drop 3-5 inches on Sunday. The news mentioned that people were purchasing snow blowers for said occasion. As a Chicagoland native, don’t buy a snowblower for such little snow. Rather, purchase a shovel. You are welcome for the financial advice.