Over the last couple of seasons, Austin Riley has blossomed into one of the best third basemen in baseball, finishing inside the top 10 of the NL MVP race in each of the last two seasons. He parlayed that success into the largest contract ever handed out by the Braves, worth over $200 million. He has a very good chance of finishing his career in Atlanta, going down as one of the best and most adored players in franchise history, but he might want to do a little research on the players that have come before him.
In an interview with Chris Henderson, Riley was asked to give his Mt. Rushmore of third basemen in the history of the game, and he omitted one notable Braves legend.
Austin Riley names his Mount Rushmore of third basemen
(via @See_Hendo) pic.twitter.com/RvqilFIBtk
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) May 22, 2023
Chipper Jones is a Brave through and through, spending his entire career with the club on his way to the Hall of Fame. He might be the most beloved player in the history of the organization because of his loyalty. Jones can still be found around Truist Park and has even been credited with helping Riley figure things out at the plate–a big reason for why he broke out and earned the largest contract in franchise history.
Over his career, Jones helped the Braves to a World Series as a rookie. He won his lone MVP in 1999 and finished his career with a .303 batting average, .930 OPS, and 85.3 WAR. Jones is one of the best third basemen to ever play the game, and hopefully, Riley can follow in his footsteps over the remainder of his Braves tenure.
I’m sure this was just a moment of forgetfulness from Riley when asked such a difficult question on the spot. It’s not like all of the players he named aren’t Hall of Famers in their own right, but I have to think he will receive some warranted backlash for not putting Jones on his Mt. Rushmore, and he’d probably like a do-over.
Photographer: Keith Gillett/Icon Sportswire
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