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Chipper Jones

Jones playing for Atlanta in 2009
Atlanta Braves — No. 10
Third Baseman
Born: April 24, 1972 (1972-04-24) (age 37)
DeLand, Florida
Bats: Switch Throws: Right 
MLB debut
September 11, 1993 for the Atlanta Braves
Career statistics
(through 2009 season)
Batting average     .307
Home runs     426
Runs batted in     1,445
Hits     2,406
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Larry Wayne "Chipper" Jones, Jr. (born April 24, 1972, in DeLand, Florida) is an American Major League baseball player. Although initially a shortstop, he has spent most of his career as the starting third baseman for the Atlanta Braves. In 2002 and 2003, Jones primarily played left field before returning to third base in 2004.

Jones debuted in 1993 and has played his entire career with the Atlanta Braves. Chipper won the 1999 National League Most Valuable Player Award, as well as the 1999 and 2000 National League Silver Slugger Award for third basemen. He currently holds the Braves team record for career on base percentage (.406), and on May 31, 2006, he passed Hank Aaron for second place on the Atlanta Braves all-time career home run list.[1] On July 5, 2007, he passed Dale Murphy for the Atlanta club record of 372 home runs.

In his career, through the 2009 season, Jones is a .307/.406/.541 hitter with 426 home runs, 1,343 walks, and 1,445 RBI in 2,166 games. He is behind only Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray on the all-time switch hitters career home run list. He is considered one of the game's best all-around hitters, and one of the best switch hitters in the history of the game.[2][3] He is the only switch hitter in Major League Baseball history to have a .300+ career (.307 at the end of the 2009 season) batting average and 400 or more home runs.

Contents

Baseball career

High school and minor leagues

After he completed his high school career at the Bolles School in Jacksonville, Florida, Jones was selected by the Atlanta Braves with the 1st pick overall in the 1990 amateur draft.[4] Jones was not the Braves original choice in the draft. General Manager Bobby Cox had been looking at Todd Van Poppel, but Van Poppel said he would not sign if he was drafted by Atlanta. Scouting Director Paul Snyder wanted Jones anyway.[citation needed] Jones then played three years in the Braves Minor League system before making his major league debut.

Early major league career (1993–98)

Jones debuted on September 11, 1993, as the youngest player in the league. In 1994, he had been expected to compete for the starting left field job after veteran Ron Gant broke his leg during an offseason dirt bike accident, but Jones suffered an ACL tear in his left knee. As a result, he missed the entire 1994 season.[5]

In 1995, Jones led all major league rookies in RBIs (86), games played (145), games started (123), plate appearances (602), at bats (524), and runs scored (87). That year, he finished second in the Baseball Writers' Rookie of the Year balloting behind Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hideo Nomo.[6] In addition to achieving a level of personal success, Jones participated in the 1995 World Series. The Braves won the series in six games over the Cleveland Indians. He also participated in the 1996 World Series, in which the New York Yankees defeated the Braves in 6 games.

In 1998, Jones came in 9th in the voting for NL MVP.[7], as he scored 123 runs and had 96 walks (both 4th best in the league).

MVP season (1999)

In 1999, Jones won the National League MVP award after becoming the first player to ever hit over .300 (.319) while slugging 40 or more home runs (45; 3rd in the NL) and doubles (41), drawing 100 or more walks (126; 3rd in the league), notching 100 or more RBIs (110) and Runs scored (116), and stealing 20 or more bases (25).[citation needed] He was also walked intentionally 18 times; 2nd in the league, and his .633 slugging percentage was 4th best in the NL. A major factor in his selection as MVP was his performance against the Braves' chief competitors, the New York Mets. The Braves led the National League East by only one game as they entered a three-game September series against the Mets, the team that was right on their heels. Atlanta swept the series at Turner Field, though, largely thanks to Jones, who hit four home runs and drove in seven of the thirteen runs that the Braves scored. For the season, he hit .400 with a .510 on-base percentage, a 1.000 slugging percentage, and seven home runs against the Mets. In the playoffs, Jones led the Braves to the World Series against the New York Yankees, in which the Braves were swept. He did, however, hit their only home run in the series, against Yankees' starter Orlando Hernández.[8]

2000–05

Jones signed a six-year, $90 million deal in 2000.[9] Jones batted .330 in 2001, 5th best in the league, and led the league with a .349 road batting average. On his birthday, he hit two home runs.[1] On defense, however, his range factor of 2.14 placed him last among the regular major league third basemen who qualified for the fielding ranking.[2]

In 2001, a season of flux for the Braves who had won consecutive division titles since their 1995 World Series victory without winning again, Jones was involved in a public "lingering feud" with former teammate John Rocker. Rocker referred to Jones on the radio by saying "Chip's white trash" and "as two-faced as they came." By late June the two claimed the feud had been put to bed. [3]

Before the start of the 2002 season, Jones announced his willingness to move from third base to left field, to make room for the incoming Vinny Castilla. Jones proved adequate in left field, but following two more early playoff exits in 2002 and 2003, a hamstring pull in the early 2004 season and (then) 3rd baseman Mark DeRosa's struggles, he moved back to his regular position of third base.

In 2002, he batted .327, again 5th best in the NL. Jones was 3rd in the league with a .435 on base percentage. On August 16, 2004, he hit the 300th home run of his career in a 5–4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. Following the 2005 season, Jones reworked his contract with the Braves—freeing up money for the Braves to pursue elite free agents, while virtually assuring he will end his career in Atlanta. The revamped deal gave the Braves $15 million over the course of the next three years, as well as $6 million to use in 2006. The new deal also converted two final team option years to guaranteed contracts.

2006 World Baseball Classic

Jones was selected to play in the inaugural 2006 World Baseball Classic (along with Braves teammate Jeff Francoeur and Brian McCann). He hit a home run in his first at bat of the Classic against Mexico off of former Atlanta Braves teammate Oscar Villarreal, who was with the team from 2006–07. Jones went 6–17 with a double and two homers in the tournament.

2006

The 2006 season was one of numerous milestones for Jones. On June 10, he became the Atlanta Braves' all-time RBI leader when he drove in his 1,144th run against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park, passing former outfielder Dale Murphy and placing Jones third on the franchise's all-time list (including Braves teams based in Boston and Milwaukee), behind Hank Aaron (2,202) and Eddie Mathews (1,388).

On July 15, 2006, Jones recorded his 1,902nd career hit, to become the Braves' all-time hits leader, passing Hank Aaron. The next day he hit a home run to extend his extra-base hitting streak to 14 games, matching the Major League record set by Pittsburgh's Paul Waner in 1927.[10] A month later, on August 14, Jones had his first career three-home run game. Jones homered in his final three at bats in the Braves' 10–4 win over the Washington Nationals, finishing the night 4-for-5 with 5 RBI.

Despite successes at the plate, injuries dogged Jones throughout the season and for the first time in his career, the Braves failed to qualify for postseason play.

2007

2007 was another year of impressive feats by Jones. On June 16, he hit a single in the second inning against the Cleveland Indians for his 2,000th career hit. On July 5, Jones tied and passed Braves legend Dale Murphy for first on the all-time Atlanta Braves home run list when he belted his 371st and 372nd home runs against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium.[11] This game was also the first time he hit homers from both sides of the plate since 2000.[11] The next day, he had his 400th career double in the ninth inning against San Diego Padres pitcher Kevin Cameron, who had previously only allowed one extra-base hit all year. On July 29, Jones matched a career-high with 5 RBIs as the Braves shut out the Arizona Diamondbacks 14–0. He accomplished the feat again on August 23 against the Cincinnati Reds. In the fifth inning of an August 9 game at Shea Stadium, Jones hit a towering three-run homer to right field off Mets starter John Maine. It would later be measured at 470 feet.

Jones finished the season 1st in the NL in times reached base on an error (14) and in OPS (1.029), 2nd in batting average (.337), and 3rd in OBP (.425) and SLG (.604). He was also sixth in MVP voting, his highest finish since winning the award in 1999.

Jones with the Braves in 2008

While the Braves enjoyed some early successes, injuries to the pitching staff spoiled the ample contributions from Atlanta's potent offense. While the Braves posted a winning record, they finished third in the National League East, and sat out the postseason.

He opened the Chipper Jones' 10th Inning Baseball Academy in Suwanee, Georgia, in late 2007.

2008

Jones swings at a pitch.

Jones began the 2008 season where he left off in 2007, hitting over .400 in April while slugging 7 home runs. He also had back-to-back games in which he hit two home runs. Despite these accomplishments, he ultimately lost the NL Player of the Month award in April to Chase Utley. On June 13, Jones was hitting .414 with 15 home runs, but his average dropped to .393 by June 22.

He hit his 400th home run on June 5 off Ricky Nolasco of the Florida Marlins, and he was named NL Player of the Week for the week of June 2 – 8. He was picked to start in the 2008 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, receiving the most votes by fans, managers, and other players of any NL third basemen. Jones won his first batting title at age 36, the oldest switch-hitter ever to win a batting title. Jones hit .364 during 2008, one point off the all-time switch-hitter high for a season of .365, set by Mickey Mantle.

In 2008, Jones tied a MLB record for most consecutive 20+ home run seasons to start a career (14).[12]

2009

In December 2008, Jones accepted an invitation to play for the USA team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He played alongside teammate Brian McCann. Jones was scratched from an elimination game in the 2009 World Baseball Classic after straining his right oblique muscle, while playing for team USA. The announcement came an hour before the game was to be played against team Netherlands. As reported by CBC News on March 13, 2009, Jones criticized Toronto and the play schedule of the World Baseball Classic.[13]

On March 31, 2009, Jones agreed to a three-year $42 million contract extension with the Braves; the deal includes an option that could become worth up to $61 million over four seasons.[14]

In 2009 he was named #10 on the Sporting News' list of the 50 greatest current players in baseball. A panel of 100 baseball people, many of them members of the Baseball Hall of Fame and winners of major baseball awards, were polled to arrive at the list.[4]

In 2009 Jones led all major league third basemen in errors, with 22, and had the lowest fielding percentage of any starting major league third baseman (.930).[15]

Accomplishments

  • 1st pick overall in the 1990 amateur draft
  • TSN Rookie of the Year (1995)
  • 6-time All-Star (1996–98, 2000–01, 2008)
  • National League MVP (1999)
  • 2-time Silver Slugger at 3rd base (1999–2000)
  • Holds the Major League record for most consecutive games with an extra-base hit (14; tied with Paul Waner).
  • 8 consecutive 100+ RBI seasons (1996–2003)
  • 14 consecutive 20+ home run seasons (1995–2008); tied for MLB record with Eddie Mathews for most 20+ home run seasons to start a career
  • Most home runs in a season by a National League switch hitter (45; in 1999; tied with Lance Berkman, although Jones completed the task first.)
  • Third-most home runs for a switch hitter, behind Eddie Murray (504) and Mickey Mantle (536)
  • Hit the first home run at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. (2008)
  • 400 Home Runs (hit 400th off Ricky Nolasco of the Florida Marlins) (June 5, 2008)
  • Most Home Runs to begin a career playing under one manager (Bobby Cox)
  • NL Player of the Week (June 2 – June 8, 2008)
  • 2008 NL (and MLB) Batting Champ with .364
  • 2008 Highest On Base Percentage with .470
  • 29-game hitting streak vs the Philadelphia Phillies

Personal life

The nickname "Chipper" came from family members who felt he was a "chip-off-the-old-block" of his father.

Jones met his first wife, Karin Fulford, while he was playing with the Braves class A affiliate in Macon, Georgia. The couple divorced after it was revealed that Jones had had an 18-month affair with a Hooters waitress which produced a son out of wedlock, Matthew, born in 1997.[16][17]

He married Sharon Logonov in March 2000 in Pierson, Florida. They have three sons: Larry Wayne III (Trey), Tristen, and Shea (named after Shea Stadium because of Chipper's great success in the stadium).

Jones enjoys deer hunting in the offseason.

Philanthropy

In 2008, Jones released a charity wine called "Chipper Chardonnay", with 100% of the proceeds supporting the Miracle League, an organization serving children with disabilities.

See also

References

  1. ^ While Aaron hit 755 home runs during his career, 733 of them for the Braves, he only hit 365 during the time when the Braves were based in the city of Atlanta, Georgia. Aaron hit the rest of his home runs while the Braves were located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and after he left the Braves for the Milwaukee Brewers.
  2. ^ Sporting News – Your expert source for MLB Baseball, NFL Football, NBA Basketball, NHL Hockey, NCAA Football, NCAA Basketball and Fantasy Sports scores, blogs, and articles
  3. ^ Chipper Jones Moves Up Among Major Leagues' Best Switch-Hitters | Baseball Digest | Find Articles at BNET.com
  4. ^ About Chipper Jones, An Introduction to my Life, chipperjones.com.
  5. ^ "Jones at imdb.com". http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1763562/bio. Retrieved May 31, 2007. 
  6. ^ "1995 ROY Voting". http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/awards_1995.shtml. Retrieved May 31, 2007. 
  7. ^ Baseball Awards Voting for 1998 – Baseball-Reference.com
  8. ^ Baseball Almanac page on 1999 World Series, Note home run mentioned in text and Composite Hitting Statistics table
  9. ^ Chipper Jones@Everything2.com
  10. ^ "Chipper Jones from the Chronology". BaseballLibrary.com. http://www.baseballlibrary.com/ballplayers/player.php?name=Chipper_Jones_1972&page=chronology. Retrieved December 3, 2008. 
  11. ^ a b Atlanta Braves at Los Angeles Dodgers game recap, AP, July 5, 2007.
  12. ^ Bowman, Mark (September 24, 2009). "Chipper on verge of historical feat". MLB.com. http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20090923&content_id=7123478&vkey=news_atl&fext=.jsp&c_id=atl. Retrieved October 10, 2009. 
  13. ^ Canadian, Press (March 18, 2009). "Chipper Jones blasts Toronto, WBC.". CBC News. http://www.cbc.ca/canada/toronto/story/2009/03/18/sp-jones-wbc.html. Retrieved April 4, 2009. 
  14. ^ Associated Press (March 31, 2009). "Jones, Braves Agree to Extension". SI.com. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/baseball/mlb/03/31/jones.braves.ap/index.html. Retrieved April 1, 2009. 
  15. ^ MLB Player Fielding Stats – As 3b – 2009, ESPN, accessed October 6, 2009
  16. ^ Maese, Rick (March 4, 2005). "Feeling just Chipper: Despite his youthful persona, the popular Braves star acknowledges his advancing years.". Orlando Sentinel. http://www.chipperjones.com/news0320051.html. Retrieved April 24, 2007. 
  17. ^ Associated Press (October 22, 1998). "'I've messed up royally': Braves' Jones admits fathering out-of-wedlock child". CNNSI.com. http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/baseball/mlb/news/1998/10/22/jones_paternity/. Retrieved April 24, 2007. 

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Ben McDonald
First overall pick in the MLB Entry Draft
1990
Succeeded by
Brien Taylor
Preceded by
Raúl Mondesí
Sporting News NL Rookie of the Year
1995
Succeeded by
Jason Kendall
Preceded by
Raúl Mondesí
Players Choice NL Most Outstanding Rookie
1995
Succeeded by
Todd Hollandsworth
Preceded by
Jose Oliva
Topps Rookie All-Star Third Baseman
1995
Succeeded by
Joe Randa
Preceded by
Sammy Sosa
National League Most Valuable Player
1999
Succeeded by
Jeff Kent
Preceded by
Matt Holliday
National League Batting Champion
2008
Succeeded by
Hanley Ramírez







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