Tag Archive | "Chipper Jones"

BALTIMORE, :  Baltimore Orioles pitcher Mike Mussina throws to home plate in the first inning 15 October during game six of the American League Championship Series against the Cleveland Indians at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. The Indians lead the series 3-2.    AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

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Former Orioles star Mussina moves closer to Hall of Fame

Posted on 24 January 2018 by Luke Jones

Mike Mussina will continue to wait, but eventual election to the Baseball Hall of Fame is looking more and more like a matter of “when” and not “if” for the former Orioles ace.

The 270-game winner and five-time All-Star starting pitcher missed out on induction with the 2018 class, but he received 63.5 percent of the votes, up from 51.8 percent a year ago and continuing a substantial climb after he received less than 25 percent of the vote in his first two years of eligibility. Players must receive at least 75 percent of the vote to be elected, and he fell just 49 votes shy this year.

The voting process has fallen under much scrutiny in recent years as baseball writers try to navigate the fallout of the steroid era, but Mussina’s perception has benefited greatly from the increasing acceptance of sabermetrics. The seven-time Gold Glove winner never won a Cy Young Award, but his 82.7 wins above replacement rank 24th on the all-time list for pitchers and his adjusted earned run average (ERA+) of 123 is among the best starting pitchers in major league history and accounts for the difficult run-scoring environment and ballparks in which he pitched. Mussina’s peak may not shine as brightly as other Hall of Fame pitchers, but his long-term success pitching in the lucrative era of performance-enhancing drugs and spending his entire career — 10 seasons with the Orioles and eight with the New York Yankees — in the American League East only strengthen his case.

It’s easy to point to Mussina’s career 3.68 ERA or only one 20-win season as justification to keep him out of Cooperstown, but too many fail to recognize a 3.68 ERA in 2000 was vastly different from a 3.68 ERA in 1975 or 1945 or 1915. That’s why numbers such as WAR and ERA+ are so important for context as we attempt to evaluate players across different eras.

Even if you’re not a believer in “new-age” statistics, Mussina still ranks 33rd in wins, 66th in innings pitched, and 20th in career strikeouts. He also had a strong postseason career with a 3.42 ERA in 139 2/3 innings. Mussina also very likely would have had two more 20-win seasons had it not been for the infamous 1994 strike when he had 16 wins by mid-August and then won 19 games in an abbreviated 144-game season a year later.

Mussina did not make the Hall of Fame cut in 2018, but two others who concluded their long major league careers with the Orioles were elected as Vladimir Guerrero and Jim Thome received the call Wednesday.

Guerrero last played in the majors with the Orioles in 2011, hitting .290 with 13 home runs and 63 runs batted in over 590 plate appearances. He signed a minor-league deal with Toronto the following year, but the Dominican slugger didn’t make it back to the majors and was eventually granted his release.

Thome arrived in Baltimore in a 2012 summer trade with Philadelphia, hitting .257 with three homers and 10 RBIs in 115 plate appearances. At age 42, he went 2-for-15 in the 2012 postseason and never played again before officially announcing his retirement in 2014.

Third baseman Chipper Jones and closer Trevor Hoffman were also elected to the Hall of Fame as part of the 2018 class on Wednesday.

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Chipper Jones Enjoys Dream All-Star Game

Posted on 13 July 2012 by jeffreygilley

Honestly, could the All-Star game have been any better for Chipper Jones?  I think not.  From his motivational speech to his single, he certainly went out on a high note as the National League beat the American League eight to nothing.

Jones spent his entire career with the Atlanta Braves and is going to retire at the end of the season.  Jones spent most of his career at third base but also played left field in 2002 and 2003.

Jones career awards and statistics speak for themselves.  He is an eight time All-Star, earned the National League MVP in 1999, and a World Series Champion in 1995.  Jones won’t have to wait long for the Hall of Fame and deserves all the recognition he has received throughout his career.

Jones’s presence will be greatly missed by the Atlanta Braves and baseball fans alike.  It was also really cool to see Jones talking to Bryce Harper throughout the game.

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For Love of the Game – Afterthoughts on the Midsummer Classic

Posted on 11 July 2012 by hopebirchfield

Since the tragic fall of the Birdland Empire in 1996, the All-Star game has meant little more than some publicity for Orioles stars overshadowed by a losing ball club. Sure, it was always fun to see one of our disciples (Ripken, Roberts, Mora, and Batista to name a few) proudly displaying bird regalia, but the outcome did not really matter. Despite the recent slide of the Orioles and their subsequent drop in MLB power rankings, fans still hold on to hope that maybe the Orioles will be playoff contenders. With that new mentality, the All-Star game completely transforms from a “my bat is bigger than your bat” showdown of baseball’s elite to something that could give Baltimore home field advantage for the World Series.

To be clear, I do not think this is going to be relevant this year with an 11.8% POFF, but as Lloyd Christmas would say to ESPN, “So you’re telling me there’s a chance?”

On Tuesday night, the American League attempted to avoid their third straight loss to the National League at the Midsummer Classic in Kansas City. The lineup for the AL was so densely packed that powerhouse, David Ortiz, was batting 7th and it almost seemed a given that the AL would finally clinch a win. Though the National League had Sandoval, Chipper Jones and the ominous pitching of Cain and R.A. Dickey, the AL had Weaver and Verlander, the 2011 Cy Young and AL MVP Winner.

As the first inning began to unfold, I felt an unsettling wave of familiarity course through my body. Verlander was not on his game and was reminiscent of a hard-throwing Jake Arrieta. In only one inning of work, Verlander gave up four hits on five runs with two BBs and Ks. He struggled with runners on base, consecutively walking Beltran and Posey and then yielding a bases-loaded triple to Sandoval. After this bleak inning, a lot of people switched to regularly scheduled programming. I felt this was a bit premature because it was only the first inning. The AL had All-Star caliber bats (for the most part) and a five run deficit with such offensive talent as Jeter, Cano, Hamilton, Fielder and Ortiz was surely to be surpassed.

Though six hits were generated by the AL, they struggled with the all too familiar RISP woes and never capitalized with a run. Once the domineering pitching of the National League was realized and the lack of offense of the American League was apparent, I was done. I severed all emotional interest, channeled my inner child and simply watched the game. It was no longer about the final numbers, ERAs, WHIPs, etc. No, it was about watching some of baseball’s finest sizzle (or fizzle) and watching the soap opera of baseball unfold.

With a long history that could be considered a veritable sports epic, Chipper Jones would surely emerge as the hero. In the moments before the game, he delivered a speech to the National League that had quotes from “Major League” and valuable insight about the game. His amicability is was one of the reasons he is a household name and one of the reasons why people root for him to succeed. In his final year in baseball, fans of the Atlantic Braves and fans of baseball feverishly voted so Chipper Jones could end his career on a high point with an All-Star game nod. C. Jones first debuted with the Braves in 1993 and has received 8 overall nods to the All-Star Game with the first coming in 1996.

In the 6th inning, pinch-hitter, Chipper Jones walked to the plate and was greeted by the best reception of the evening. As his name was announced, the sold-out crowd rose to their feet, cheering for a living legend that was a shoo-in for Cooperstown. C. Jones is not known for his speed but he ran as though his career relied on. At 40 years old, he dug hard and managed to reach first base on a ball that rolled into to right field. It was one of the moments that remind you why baseball is the greatest sport ever played. Chipper was ecstatic and all smiles as a stadium with no personal vestige in him erupted. For a moment, it was his moment to shine, and the simple beauty of watching was more emotional than anything a Hollywood blockbuster could provide.

In the eighth inning, Orioles’ fans that had “stayed the course” and watched a game that was very reminiscent of several recent Orioles games were rewarded with a glimpse of orange. The middle was completely represented by the birds with A. Jones in center and Johnson bringing the heat down the middle to the familiar glove of Matt Wieters. Though Wieters and Jones did nothing offensively, the bottom of the 7th was dominated by an Orioles presence. The NL was shutout in a1-2-3 inning that gave Jones a fly ball and registered a K for Johnson.

Most All-Star games receive a lot of criticism. Many call them antiquated and no longer needed. But often people forget that sometimes it is not about who wins or loses, but the moments that will go down in history. Moments like watching Chipper Jones do his best Jake Taylor impression when digging to first, or watching the Orioles completely take up the middle of the field are reason enough to keep these love letters to childhood.



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