In the late 90s and early 2000s, the Atlanta Braves had more stars.
However, Andruw Jones and Chipper Jones were both elite players for an extended period of time.
Who was better?
It is certainly an interesting debate, but there is a clear winner.
The case of Andruw Jones
Between these two amazing 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 homeruns and 128 RBI with his usual elite defense in midfield.
Chipper’s best season yielded 7.3 WAR in 1999.
Speaking of defense, Chipper was adequate at third base, but prime Andruw Jones was the league’s leading midfielder.
He won as many as 10 (!) Gold gloves in a row: from 1998 to 2007, no other center player was better.
“Hope you will join us at HOF soon. No one played a better midfield than you, you have 10 gold gloves to support it, ”- Chipper about Andruw Jones. 👏🏻👏🏻 #Bold
– Andrew Gibson (@ 1010XLAG) July 29, 2018
Andruw was also more athletic than Chipper, and although the latter had an insidiously good base-theft rate, the former accumulated several thefts with 152 over the course of his career.
We can say with certainty that Andruw’s prime lasted 10 seasons, from 1998 to 2007: as previously mentioned, he won the gold glove every year during that stretch, but perhaps most impressive is the fact that he had an average of 34.5 homers per . campaign during that time period.
Unfortunately, Andruw’s career began to go downhill when he was relatively young: from 2008 to 2012, the year of his retirement, he was nowhere near as good.
He was 31 in 2008.
The case of Chipper Jones
Chipper Jones was a brave man for life.
He was an integral part of the amazing Braves teams of the 1990s and early 2000s, who consistently won their division but lifted only one World Series trophy in 1995.
He was not the defender Andruw was, but kept himself in the hot corner for years.
The biggest difference between the two, however, was offense.
Andruw was an offensive performance above average with a 111 wRC + (that means weighted Runs Created Plus, and considers a player’s contribution in the batters field by adapting it to the era and ball field).
A player with 100 wRC + is considered average, so Andruw’s 111 wRC + makes him above average.
Chippers 141 wRC + makes him great.
He retired with a fabulous .303 / .401 / .529 line, 468 homers, 1,623 RBIs, and even chipped in 150 steals.
He also hit a full 549 doubles.
He also has eight All-Star Games compared to Andrew’s five.
But the most important things in Chipper’s CV are missing from Andruws: 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 an integral part 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.
But if we were to pick just one, it would be Chipper.
It may not be particularly close either.
Yes, he played several games, but the WAR difference between Chipper (84.6) and Andruw (67.0) is significant.
The fact that he has an MVP award, a batting title and a place among the immortals swings the balance in Chipper’s favor.
This does not mean that Andruw should not be seen as a great, unique player.
– #RIPKobe (@TruChainz_) May 26, 2016
But Chipper gets a nod here.