Chipper Jones: The Hall of Famer
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 00:09
Larry Wayne Jones, Jr., better known as Chipper, was born and raised in Pierson, Fla., a small town in Central Florida that is the Fern Capital of the World and known for its farming.
The young, slender 18-year-old shortstop was selected as the first overall pick in the 1990 Amateur Draft by the Atlanta Braves and then General Manager Bobby Cox. After a year of playing shortstop in the minor leagues, the Braves moved him to third base, a move leading to two Silver Slugger awards.
Chipper made his debut just three years after being drafted by the Braves at 21 years of age, playing in eight games. In his first full season with the Braves, he hit 23 home runs and drove in 86 runs, becoming runner-up in the Rookie of the Year voting, while helping the Braves World Series Championship.
Chipper went on to drive in over 100 runs in each of his next eight seasons while starting everyday at the hot corner. In 1999, Jones won the National League Most Valuable Player by hitting .319, with 45 home runs and 110 runs batted in.
He has hit over 30 home runs six times in his career, with a career average sitting above .300, on base percentage of .402, and more than 100 RBIs in nine seasons.
At the ripe age of 36, Jones led the league in batting average with a .364 and on base percentage of .470, both career highs. His 2006 OPS of 1.029 led all of the NL.
Chipper ranks second all time among switch hitters in batting average and third in home runs, behind only Eddie Murray and Mickey Mantle. He is also the only switch hitter in the history of the game of baseball to hit over 300 home runs while maintaining a batting average over .300 in his career.
Now, at the age of 40, Chipper finds himself playing in his last season as a professional baseball player after spending his entire career with the Braves organization. He announced his intentions to retire from Major League Baseball after his 18th season in the big leagues.
Chipper leads the Braves in batting average and on base percentage heading into the final month of the regular season.
His 18 years spent in the Braves organization is the longest stint for any active player.
Did you know?
Chipper Jones’s parents took him out of Taylor High School, where his dad was a teacher, and sent him away to Bolles High School, a boarding school, in Jacksonville, Fla. after his freshman year of high school.
His parents thought he was getting preferential treatment after staring his freshman year at Taylor High as a shortstop and pitcher, and their son would have no part in it.
Jones continued to star in three sports at Bolles High, with baseball obviously being his strongest sport. He led his high school team to a state championship his junior year, losing in the state title his senior year.
Would Chipper have made it if not for the change in high schools at the age of 15? Absolutely. His parents didn’t want their son to get accustomed to special treatment from anyone, even if he was the best player on his high school team.