• Exclusives

    How Chipper ranks among legendary switch hitters, third basemen

    Offensively, Chipper Jones is the greatest third baseman of all time.

    I recently wrote a piece for my friend Jim Pratt at Big Leagues Monthly explaining why Chipper Jones is the greatest ever Atlanta Brave. As I combed through Chipper’s numbers and compared them to many of the all-time greats, I must say, I was surprised by what I discovered. I knew Chipper was among the greatest switch hitters ever. And I understood that there haven’t been many third basemen better than #10 throughout the history of the game.

    Yes, I knew Chipper ranked highly in these categories, but I didn’t realize how highly until I held his numbers up against all other switch hitters and third basemen. Here is what I discovered about the Braves’ future Hall of Famer:

    THE TOP OFFENSIVE THIRD BASEMAN OF ALL TIME

    As the numbers below reveal, of all players with at least 6,000 at-bats at the hot corner, Chipper has the highest OPS and the most RBI of any third baseman in the history of the game. These numbers make Chipper the greatest offensive third baseman of all time. Some have brought up Alex Rodriguez’s name in the discussion of all-time great third baseman, but Rodriguez spent more than half his career at shortstop. Besides, cheaters should never be compared to truly great players. Can you imagine the numbers Chipper might have put up had he been juicing?

    Mike Schmidt’s 10 gold gloves help build a convincing case for the Phillies great as the greatest all around third baseman ever, but in the batter’s box, Chipper has no equal at his position.

      AVG HR RBI OPS SB Runs
    Chipper Jones .304 468 1,623 .931 150 1,617
    Mike Schmidt .267 548 1,595 .908 174 1,506
    Eddie Matthews .271 512 1,453 .885 68 1,509
    Wade Boggs .328 118 1,412 .858 24 1,513
    George Brett .305 317 1,595 .857 201 1,583
    Ron Santo .277 342 1,331 .826 35 1,138
    Brooks Robinson .267 268 1,357 .723 28 1,232
    Paul Molitor .281 234 1,307 .718 504 1,782


    AMONG SWITCH HITTERS, ONLY MICKEY MANTLE STANDS TALLER

    The rarest of all Chipper’s feats is his career .300 batting average from both sides of the plate. Of all the switch hitters in MLB history with at least 5,000 plate appearances, only one other player, Frankie Frisch, hit .300 from both sides. And it’s been a while. When Frisch retired, Franklin Delano Roosevelt was in the White House. And as you can see, Chipper has a higher career batting average (.304) than legendary switch hitters Pete Rose, Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray. With Mantle’s career .977 OPS, I’ve got to give him the nod as the top switch hitter of all time, but Chipper’s not far behind.

      AVG HR RBI OPS SB Runs
    Mickey Mantle .298 536 1,509 .977 153 1,677
    Chipper Jones .304 468 1,623 .931 150 1,617
    Eddie Murray .287 504 1,917 .836 110 1,627
    Frankie Frisch .316 105 1,244 .801 419 1,532
    Pete Rose .303 160 1,314 .784 198 2,165

    You can find the rest of this article at Big Leagues Monthly later this month.

    Kent Covington is a radio reporter and Editor of BravesWire. Follow him on Twitter: @FriedBasballATL

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