Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones among first-timers on Baseball HOF ballot

The most successful era in Braves history is well-represented in Cooperstown, and those already inducted may soon have more company.

Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones made their debuts with Monday’s release of the 2018 Hall of Fame ballot.

The two former Atlanta players join other notable first-timers Jim Thome, Omar Vizquel, Jamie Moyer and Johan Santana. Trevor Hoffman and Vladimir Guerrero, who were both within 15 votes of enshrinement last year, are among the key holdovers, along with another former Brave, Fred McGriff.

Candidates must be named on 75 percent of ballots cast by Baseball Writers Association of America to gain election and remain on the ballot for up to 10 years provided they receive at least five percent of the vote.

Jones is expected to be a first-ballot selection with a resume that includes the 1999 National League MVP, eight All-Star Game nods, two Silver Sluggers, a .303 career average and an 85.0 WAR that is 32nd all-time among position players.

The third baseman spent all of his 19 seasons in a Braves uniform, racking up 2,726 hits with 549 doubles, 38 triples, 468 home runs and 1,623 RBI.

Jones is one of nine players in history to have at least a .300/.400/.500 career slash line and 400 home runs, putting him a class with Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gherig, Mel Ott, Stan Musial, Manny Ramirez, Babe Ruth, Frank Thomas and Ted Williams. But Jones is the only switch hitter on that last.

The other Jones, Andruw, set the standard for outfield play with 10 Gold Gloves — all in consecutive seasons — and hit 434 home runs. That includes his 51-HR, 128-RBI eruption in 2005.

A five-time All-Star, the center fielder spent 12 of his 17 seasons with the Braves, debuting in 1996 and made his biggest impact that season in the World Series.

At just 19, Jones homered in his first two at bats — off Yankees starter Andy Pettittee and then another on a Brian Boehringer offering — and drove in five runs.

From 1998-2006, Jones had just one season of a sub 116 OPS+ — he was at 94 in 2001 — but the last six seasons of his career included just two above the league average threshold of 100.

Just nine primary center fielders in history have a better WAR than Jones’ 67.1 per FanGraphs and eight of them are already in the HOF. The only one that isn’t, Carlos Beltran, could well be.

Andruw isn’t near the lock that Chipper is considered due to the former’s late-career slide. But after already seeing Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Bobby Cox and John Schuerholz inducted in the past four years, the Braves are well-positioned to be at the center of another July in Cooperstown.

Follow Cory McCartney on Twitter @coryjmccartney and Facebook. His books, ‘Tales from the Atlanta Braves Dugout: A Collection of the Greatest Braves Stories Ever Told,’ and ‘The Heisman Trophy: The Story of an American Icon and Its Winners.’ are now available.

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