Andruw Jones was a rarity during his time in the majors. Not only was the Atlanta Braves outfielder one of the best defensive players in major league history, but he was a viable threat in the lineup, a dynamic power hitter who could change the game on his own.
Unfortunately, Jones is remembered more for his final five seasons in the majors than what he was before. He had already begun to show signs of slipping during his final season with the Braves, but received a massive contract from the Dodgers that offseason anyway. Between injuries and an inability to put down the fork, he appeared in over 100 games just once in his final five seasons.
A closer look at Atlanta Braves’ star Andruw Jones’ Hall of Fame resume
Jones had a solid overall career based on his stats. He produced a .254/.337/.486 batting line in his 8664 plate appearances, those numbers taking a dramatic hit at the end of his career. Jones did belt 434 homers and 383 doubles while stealing 152 bases, but his best years all came before his 30th birthday.
He also had a solid list of accolades. Jones was a five time All Star who won the Silver Slugger in 2005 and finished second in that year’s NL MVP ballot. But it is his ten Gold Glove awards, and his excellent defense, that boost his resume.
Jones was one of the best defensive players in major league history. His 254 zone runs saved as an outfielder, 230 of which came in center, are the most in those positions in the history of the game. He trails only Brooks Robinson for most zone runs saved all time and was easily one of the greatest defensive players that the game has ever seen.
To truly illustrate the impact that Jones had on the game, consider this statistic: he had four seasons with at least 25 homers and 25 runs saved as a center fielder. Every other player to appear in the history of the majors have a grand total of two.
Several players have been inducted into the Hall of Fame due to their defense. The likes of Ozzie Smith, Ray Schalk, and Bill Mazeroski, for example, were never going to be inducted for their bats. Jones not only played a premier defensive position on the diamond as well, but he played it better than anyone else.
His candidacy is starting to get the attention it deserves. Jones barely remained on the ballot in 2018, earning just 7.3% of the vote, but climbed all the way to 33.9% last year. This year, with 56 ballots having been publicly revealed, per Ryan Thibodaux’s Hall of Fame vote tracker, Jones is sitting at 50%. While he will not be inducted this year, nor stay at that level when the final count is tabulated, Jones is getting ever closer to induction.
Former Atlanta Braves outfielder Andruw Jones is getting closer to the Hall of Fame. He certainly has a resume worthy of induction.