The late-90s and early-2000s Atlanta Braves had several stars.
Who was better?
It’s certainly an interesting debate, but there is a clear winner.
The Case For Andruw Jones
Between these two marvelous players with the surname Jones, Andruw had the better “peak” season.
It happened in 2005, when he had 7.9 Wins Above Replacement, or WAR, after hitting .263/.347/.575 with 51 home runs and 128 RBI with his customary elite defense in center field.
Chipper’s best season yielded a 7.3 WAR, in 1999.
Speaking of defense, Chipper was adequate at third base, but prime Andruw Jones was the league’s premier center fielder.
He won a whopping 10 (!) Gold Gloves, consecutively: from 1998 to 2007, no other center fielder was better.
“Hope you’ll be joining us in the HOF soon. Nobody played a better centerfield than you, you’ve got 10 Gold Gloves to back it up,” — Chipper on Andruw Jones. 👏🏻👏🏻 #Braves
— Andrew Gibson (@1010XLAG) July 29, 2018
Andruw was also more athletic than Chipper, and even though the latter had sneaky good base-stealing speed, the former accumulated more thefts, with 152 over his career.
We can firmly say that Andruw’s prime lasted 10 seasons, from 1998 to 2007: as previously stated, he won the Gold Glove every year during that stretch, but perhaps most impressive is the fact that he averaged 34.5 homers per campaign during that span.
Unfortunately, Andruw’s career started to go downhill when he was relatively young: from 2008 until 2012, the year of his retirement, he wasn’t nearly as good.
He was 31 in 2008.
The Case For Chipper Jones
Chipper Jones was a Brave for life.
He was an integral part of those marvelous 1990s and early 2000s Braves teams who consistently won their division, but lifted only one World Series trophy, in 1995.
He wasn’t the defender Andruw was, but held his own at the hot corner for years.
However, the biggest difference between the two was offense.
Andruw was an above-average offensive performance, with a 111 wRC+ (it means weighted Runs Created Plus, and considers a player’s contributions in the batters’ box adjusting it to era and ballpark).
A player with a 100 wRC+ is considered average, so Andruw’s 111 wRC+ makes him above-average.
Chipper’s 141 wRC+ makes him stellar.
He retired with a fabulous .303/.401/.529 line, 468 homers, 1,623 RBI, and even chipped in 150 steals.
He also hit a whopping 549 doubles.
He also has eight All-Star Games compared to Andruw’s five.
However, the most important things in Chipper’s resume are missing on Andruw’s: an MVP (in 1999), a World Series championship (in 1995), and a place in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Chipper and Andruw Jones were integral parts of the late-1990s Braves.
Both were extremely good players: Chipper was an on-base machine and a better pure hitter, while Andruw has similar power and game-changing defense.
However, if we have to choose just one, it would be Chipper.
It may not be particularly close, either.
Yes, he played more games, but the WAR difference between Chipper (84.6) and Andruw (67.0) is substantial.
The fact he has an MVP award, a batting title, and a place among the immortals swings the balance in Chipper’s favor.
This is not to say Andruw shouldn’t be viewed as a fantastic, unique player.
— #RIPKobe (@TruChainz_) May 26, 2016
But Chipper gets the nod here.