When it comes to deciding who is a Hall-of-Fame baseball player, the criteria is not always the same for every player. Typical milestones that guarantee H.O.F. status include 3,000 hits, 500 home runs, 300 wins, and 3,000 strikeouts. Once a player reaches those milestones, they are automatically a lock for Cooperstown. With that being said, there is another way to decide if someone is Cooperstown-worthy or not. Just ask the question, “Why is (insert name here) a Hall-of-Famer?” If the response is, “Because he is freakin (insert name here),” then he should have a bust in Cooperstown.
“Why is Hank Aaron a Hall-of-Famer? BECAUSE HE IS HENRY LOUIS FREAKIN AARON!!! You do not need an explanation on why he is worthy of Cooperstown. “Why is Chipper Jones a Hall-of-Famer?” BECAUSE HE IS LARRY WAYNE JONES FREAKIN JUNIOR! Name recognition is enough. Andruw Jones’ name should have this same effect. The fact that he has only received 7.5 % both years on the ballot is an absolute farce. Don’t believe me? Look at the numbers:
Offensive numbers: These are the numbers that are keeping Andruw out of Cooperstown, but he still has better numbers than other men who have a Gold Jacket. Jones is 47th all-time on the homerun list with 434. This is the 5th most all-time for center fielders. He also ranks ahead of Cal Ripken Jr., Mike Piazza, Al Kaline, and Jim Rice – all four of those men are already enshrined in Cooperstown. The Curacao slugger has more runs batted in (RBIs) than Edgar Martinez, and more runs scored than Willie Stargell and Mark McGwire. Jones’ offensive production may not be what puts him in Cooperstown, but it is more than enough to not prohibit him from entering eternal legend status.
Defensive numbers: This is what puts Jones in the Hall-of-Fame. The man who made the impossible look routine won 10 Gold Gloves from 1998-2007. He was the BEST DEFENSIVE CENTER FIELDER for a DECADE! Based on the advanced metrics available on Baseball Reference and Fangraphs, Jones is the best defensive center fielder in the history of baseball. Using the Baseball Reference numbers, he saved 234.7 runs defensively over his career. That’s 50.2 “runs” better than the great Willie Mays and 29.9 better than right fielder Roberto Clemente. His defensive wins-above-replacement (Def W.A.R.) ranks 22nd all-time. This is not just centerfield; this includes every baseball player who ever played an inning in the MLB – only 21 players had a higher Def W.A.R. than Andruw Jones. In 1998, and 2000-2002, Jones sat atop the Def W.A.R. list. According to the JAWS system, which takes in all of a player’s stats and determines H.O.F. worth, Andruw Jones is the 11th best center fielder of all-time. He ranks ahead of 12 players who are already enshrined in Cooperstown like Kirby Puckett, Richie Ashburn, and Andre Dawson. Defensively, there is no question that Andruw Jones is a Hall-of-Fame caliber player.
The bottom line is simple: Andruw Jones was the best defensive center fielder in baseball for a decade. He added a power bat to elite defense. The problem is that he disappeared from 2007 until he retired in 2012. Injuries robbed Andruw Jones of putting up numbers that would rival the kid with the sweet lefty swing, Ken Griffey Jr. Next time someone asks, “Why is Andruw Jones a Hall-of-Famer?” Throw all the numbers aside and say, “BECAUSE HE IS ANDRUW FREAKIN JONES!”