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Chipper And Andruw: Two Of The Guys Who Made Atlanta 'Miserable'

According to Forbes, Atlanta is the most miserable sports city because our teams - most notably the Braves - make the playoffs regularly, but do not bring home championships. Chipper Jones' announcement of his retirement at the end of the year - and the resulting reflections on what has been an outstanding career - illustrate just how dumb Forbes' reasoning is. Chipper should be a first-ballot Hall of Famer because he is unquestionably one of the top third basemen in baseball history. Chipper will go into the Hall along with Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and (probably) John Smoltz. How many other fan bases get to say that for eight full seasons, they got to watch four Hall of Famers, all at or near the top of their powers? I guess we were all less miserable when we got to watch Andres Thomas and Rick Mahler ply their trade because they spared us the disappointment of losing in October.

Come to think of it, we got to see a fifth Hall of Famer for almost that entire time period: Andruw Jones.

Andruw played eleven full seasons for the Braves. At the time he left, he was fully on pace to make Cooperstown. By that point, Andruw had 330 home runs, 1117 RBI, ten Gold Glove awards, and five All-Star appearances. I cite those as the conventional measuring sticks for induction into the Hall of Fame. There's an argument to be made against Andruw's Hall of Fame case as of 2007 by focusing on his somewhat low .839 OPS and 113 OPS+, an argument that would force a weighing between offensive numbers that had weak spots against the fact that Andruw played a demanding defensive position better than just about anyone until he let his fitness slide. (I am smelling a comparison between Andruw and Ronaldinho in my future.)

The point is that we got the front end of a Hall of Fame career from Andruw, which really means that we were watching five players who were at a Hall of Fame level over an extended period of time. The fact that Andruw's career collapsed after he left Atlanta (and don't the Braves look good for not making a serious play to keep him) doesn't change the fact that we got to see true greatness from a fifth player. Just another reason to feel miserable, I suppose.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.