Chipper Jones arrived home to Turner Field Friday for the start of a nine-game home stand only two hits shy of 2,500 for his career. The soon-to-be 39 year-old said he never figured he’d reach the magical 3,000 hits for his career and still probably won’t.
“I think I walk too much,” said Jones, who is signed through 2012 and has a vesting option for 2013. “If I played four or five more years, yeah, but I don’t see that being all that realistic either.”
Jones said 2,500 is special for being “a nice round number” but in the grand scheme of things “it’s not a huge deal.”
Jones said he takes more pride in his .400 career on-base percentage than how close he’ll come to 3,000. (His career on-base percentage was .405 entering play Friday night.)
“There’s no doubt that if I’d have been a little more aggressive throughout the years, 3,000 might have been a possibility,” Jones said. “But I’m more proud of the fact that I got a .400 on-base percentage throughout 18 years in the big leagues.”
What sets Jones apart and gives him an inside track into Hall of Fame consideration are his accomplishments as a switch hitter. He’s approaching a big milestone there as well.
With six more RBIs entering Friday, he’d reach 1,500 for his career. He can become only the second switch hitter in history to reach 2,500 hits and 1,500 RBIs. Hall of Famer Eddie Murray is the only switch hitter in that club.
Murray and legendary Yankee Mickey Mantle are two switch hitters Jones has always looked up to; he met Mantle at a card show in 1992 when Jones was still only in Double-A. He played against Murray in the 1995 World Series when Murray was with the Indians.
“Switch hitters are a different breed because we think differently than everybody else,” Jones said. “Every switch hitter you run across that’s worth his salt walks around like he’s got an ace up his sleeve, like they know something that everybody else doesn’t. That’s what I really took away from getting to meet those guys.”