Other than the years where this blog has gone into complete hibernation because neither Langston nor I could keep up with it, this summer has seen the least amount of baseball discussion.
For me, this nadir is mostly due to the haphazard fire sale the Atlanta Braves conducted before the season even began. Every player I cared about, from Jason Heyward to Craig Kimbrel to even each Upton brother, was gone, and I was left to face the fact that their time together really had not added up to much other than discussions on met and unmet potential, mostly the latter.
Then, I read this article about Andruw Jones’ Hall of Fame chances by Alex Lowe over at Other League. And, of course, there is no other way to spark conversation about the nation’s pastime than to speak of the pastime’s past.
Lowe makes a compelling case for Jones, focusing on Jones’ defensive prowess and knack for creating in the moment spectacle. And that’s what I, too, remember most about the Jones not named Chipper.
Andruw exploded onto the scene at Yankee Stadium, in the World Series, but leading up to that, Atlanta fans already knew the kid was special, with his tendency to perform great defensive play after great defensive play through the act of yawning.
On summer nights, I remember my dad saying, “Andruw doesn’t even look like his trying,” but he was not saying this out of ridicule, but as a way of voicing the season-long miracle that was watching Andruw Jones stroll through centerfield. He was not so much a burst of energy as he was a black hole consuming everything.
If that’s not Hall of Fame worthy, then so be it.
The Atlanta Braves were the oft-told most consistent franchise in baseball for a decade and a half. Yet they were also underachievers, winning only one World Series in that magical run that began in 1991. Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz are all in Cooperstown. And so is Bobby Cox. Chipper Jones is sure to join them. But perhaps no other player so represents the Braves run as Andruw Jones did.
He exploded like a beating drum. He pounded on forever, even lazily so, suggesting there could always be more. And then there just wasn’t. It was over without anyone really knowing how, when, or why.
Bryan Harvey can be followed @LawnChairBoys.