Looking at the Hall-of-Fame Ballot: Former Yankees Pt. 9 – Andruw Jones
(There are a ton of former Yankees on this year’s ballot. The entire list of players whose Hall-of-Fame case I have examined is listed at the end of this article.)
Today we focus on Andruw Jones.
Does Andruw Jones belong in the Hall-of-Fame?
Like so many players in this year’s class, this is a complicated question and one that does not have an easy answer. Andruw Jones is a borderline candidate with some compelling reasons to let him in. (I think he has at least ten good reasons to gain enshrinement.)
Let’s take a look at the Hall-of-Fame case for Andruw Jones.
The Low Bar (or the Harold Baines Test):
Regular readers will know that my first test for any player to be included in the Hall-of-Fame is what I call the “Harold Baines Test.” In short, a player must have a lifetime WAR (Baseball-Reference) above that of Harold Baines. If the player’s lifetime WAR is below that of Baines, it is my opinion that he does not belong in the Hall-of-Fame. Ranked by WAR, Harold Baines comes in as the 552nd best player of all-time with a WAR of 38.7. This is the low bar. There are literally hundreds of players better than Baines who are not in the Hall-of-Fame. We have no business electing players who rank lower than Baines.
Andruw Jones aces this test…with flying colors. Jones’ lifetime war WAR was 62.8. He ranks as the 156th highest WAR of all-time (tied with Ken Boyer and Home Run Baker).
Andruw Jones was a superior player (at least according to WAR) to Harold Baines. If that was the only test, Jones should go in, but, alas!, it’s not the only test.
Awards, Honors, and the Like:
It seems logical to assume that a Hall-of-Fame player would have received a good deal of honors and awards during his playing days.
Andruw Jones certainly collected hardware. To start, Jones is considered one of the greatest defensive outfielders of all-time. The man won Gold Gloves. Lots of Gold Gloves. A plethora of Gold Gloves. Jones won 10 in all. TEN! Among outfielders, the only players to win more than ten Gold Gloves were Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays who won 12 each. That’s the list of the top three outfield Gold Glove winners of all-time: Clemente, Mays, and Andruw Jones. (The only American League outfielders to win ten Gold Gloves are all in the Hall – or will arrive soon: Ken Griffey, Jr., Al Kaline, and Ichiro Suzuki.)
Andruw Jones was also a five time All-Star.
In 2005, The Sporting News voted Jones the Major League Player of the Year. He also won a Silver Slugger that year.
But…outside of the above (and ten Gold Gloves is a substantial number), that’s about it for hardware. Andruw Jones’ case is based a lot of those Gold Gloves and that makes a compelling case. The following players are the only two players who won ten or more Gold Gloves and are not in the Hall-of-Fame: Jim Kaat (Pitcher, 16) and Keith Hernandez (First Base, 11).
Andruw Jones’ star shines a bit here as well. Known as a great defender, the man also put a bunch of balls in the seats.
Andruw Jones hit more than 400 homers (434).
Unfortunately, he missed out on 1,500 runs batted in (1,289) and wasn’t that close.
Jones also didn’t acquire even 2,000 hits, ending with 1,933.
Andruw Jones’ lifetime batting average was only .254. That just doesn’t scream “HALL-OF-FAME!” (Jones hit over .300 only once in his career (.303 in 2000). That was also the only time he ever batted over .277 in any season.)
Andruw Jones appeared in the post season in eleven different seasons. He also out performed his regular season numbers playing in the biggest games of the year. Jones hit .274 in 76 post season games.
76 post season games… WOW!
Unfortunately, Jones’ teams went only 7-11 in the post season series’ he played in. Andruw Jones was on only two World Series teams. Both times his team, the Atlanta Braves, lost to the Yankees.
Jones played in a ton of post season games, but that fact alone, due to the lack of any championships doesn’t, necessarily, help his case.
JAWS By Position:
By JAWS, Andruw Jones ranks as the 11th greatest centerfielder of all-time. That’s something. The only players above him who are not in the Hall-of-Fame are:
Mike Trout (they should just let him in now)
Carlos Beltran (he has a strong case to get in one day) and
Kenny Lofton was also a Yankee for a brief minute. He was a super player for many years, but I don’t necessarily see the name “Kenny Lofton” and think “Hall-of-Fame.”
Jones is ahead of such Hall-of-Famers as Richie Ashburn, Andre Dawson, and Kirby Puckett (among moderish players).
Jones also ranks just above Jim Edmonds, Willie Davis, Jim Wynn, Vada Pinson, and Cesar Cedeno on that list. These were all star players, but none are going into the Hall.
Most Similar Players:
Baseball Reference lists the ten most similar players to each MLB player for their career.
Of the ten, only one, Duke Snider, is in the Hall-of-Fame.
The other nine are: Dale Murphy, Edwin Encarnacion, Jose Canseco, Joe Carter, Jim Edmonds, Alfonso Soriano, Mark Teixeira, Gil Hodges, and Curtis Granderson. Of that list, only Dale Murphy, Jim Edmonds, and Gil Hodges have even had more than token consideration for the Hall.
Anduw Jones was a plus player. He stared for the Atlanta Braves for many years. The man could shag a fly as attested by his ten Gold Gloves. He also hit quite a few homers.
Andruw Jones finished his career in 2011 and 2012 with the Yankees. He played 171 games for the Yankees batting .220/27/67.
Andruw Jones was a star.
Unfortunately Andruw Jones was not a Hall-of-Famer.
(Still to come in this series: Brian Roberts and Alfonso Soriano.)
Previous Installments of This Series: