Chipper in George Brett’s town; who is 2nd-best 3B ever?

KANSAS CITY – There is a statue outside Kauffman Stadium of George Brett, the greatest-ever Kansas City Royal and the all-time RBI leader among players whose primary position was third base. Brett is featured everywhere this week in K.C., where he’s not as popular as barbeque, but pretty close.

Chipper Jones, in town for Tuesday night’s All-Star game, needs just three RBIs to surpass Brett (1,596). Perhaps there will be a statue outside Turner Field someday of Jones, to go with those of Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Warren Spahn, Phil Niekro and Ty Cobb, who didn’t play for Atlanta but was the “Georgia Peach.”

Like Brett, Jones has played for about two decades, his entire major league career, in one city. Each is synonymous with that city. But who was better? The question for today, as Jones prepares to play for the first and presumably only time in Kansas City: Where do he and Brett rank all-time among major league third basemen?

Actually, the question is which of them ranks second and which ranks third on the list behind Mike Schmidt, the great Philadelphia Phillies slugger widely regarded as the gold standard for third basemen.

“When I was growing up, George and Mike Schmidt were the best players in the league,” Jones said Monday during All-Star media day. “Perennial MVP candidates, perennial All-Stars. I was a shortstop, so I didn’t pay as much attention to them as I did, say, Cal Ripken or Barry Larkin. But then once you become a third baseman and you’re a student of the game and you learn the history of the position, you realize how good those two guys were.”

Brett, who served as manager of the United States team in Sunday’s Futures Game, has long admired Jones and said he’s never seen him play in person except in spring training.

“I’m excited to see him,” said Brett, a fixture in Kansas City who never moved away from the city after retiring in 1993. “I’m glad he’s on the All-Star team. He’s never played in Kansas City. I think the Kansas City people are going to give him a thunderous ovation.”

Asked his thoughts on Jones’ career, Brett was succinct: “Unbelievable. Hall of Famer. I’ll see him in Cooperstown in five years.”

Some argue that others belong in the conversation about top third basemen, including former Brave Eddie Mathews, who had 512 homers and a superior WAR rating; Brooks Robinson, who won 15 consecutive Gold Gloves, and Alex Rodriguez, who has three MVP awards and is still adding to his 642 homers and 1,931 RBIs.

But Robinson didn’t hit enough to be included with the others on the list, and Rodriguez still hasn’t played as many games at third base as he did at shortstop (plus, there’s the steroid matter). The best case for inclusion in the top three belongs to Mathews, who had four 40-homer seasons in the 1950s and led his league in RBIs four times.

Mathews just didn’t have quite longevity of the three at the top of our list. He was outstanding during an 11-year window, compared to the 15 or more years of each of those in our Holy Trinity of third basemen. For excellence over a longer period, and what they meant to their franchises, and their postseason success, we’re going with Jones and Brett — or is it Brett and Jones? — in the two spots behind Schmidt.

Schmidt, a 12-time All-Star, 10-time Gold Glove winner and three-time National League MVP, finished with 548 homers and 1,595 RBIs. That’s one more RBI than Jones (1,594), an eight-time All-Star and one-time MVP who has 460 homers.

Jones has a .934 on-base-plus-slugging percentage that’s better than either Schmidt (.908) or Brett (.857), who tailed off sharply during his last three seasons at ages 38-40.

Jones, who played 2-1/2 seasons in left field in the middle of his career and 49 games at shortstop, has never won a Gold Glove. Brett, who won one Gold Glove at third base, played one-fifth of his career at first base, while Schmidt played more than 2,200 of his 2,404 games at third base.

Jones kept producing despite six knee surgeries. He moved to the outfield in his prime for the sake of the team, then moved back to third base without missing a beat.

Jones has a .304 career average and .402 on-base percentage, with 2,670 hits in 2,436 games over 19 seasons. Brett had a .305 average, .369 OPB and 3,154 hits in 2,707 games over 21 years. Brett was at his best in the Royals heyday from 1976 to 1985, finishing in the top three in the American League MVP balloting four times including his lone MVP award in 1980.

“Many times [Braves president and former general manager] John Schuerholz, who used to be here in Kansas City, has told me how much I remind him of George back in the day,” Jones said. “I take that as the ultimate compliment for a third baseman. He was a gritty, gutty ballplayer. He was the toast of the town here in Kansas City. And bottom line, he helped them win ballgames day in and day out. Anytime I can draw a comparison to someone like that, I’m honored.”

In postseason play, Jones has a .288 average and .411 OBP with 13 homers in 92 games. Brett hit a robust .337 with a 1.023 OPS and 10 homers in 43 postseason games.

Brett won the last of his three batting titles at age 37, hitting .329 in 1990. He batted over .290 only one other time in his final eight seasons, and hit .266 with career-low .312 OBP at age 40 in his final season in 1993.

Jones at 40 is hitting .318 with a .396 OBP, albeit in only 49 games due to two stints on the disabled list and other rest days. He’s probably going to hit over .295 for a fifth time in his final eight seasons and could possibly hit .320 or higher for the fourth time in his final seven seasons.

Oh, by the way, he leads the majors with .532 OBP when leading off innings, ahead of Minnesota’s Joe Mauer (.521) and Baltimore’s Nick Markakis (.486).

He’s gimpy at times, but still plays at a high level.

An All-Star at 40.

And the second-best third baseman of all time, in our view. By a nose over Brett.

NL All-Star lineup

  1. Carlos Gonzalez DH
  2. Melky Cabrera CF
  3. Ryan Braun LF
  4. Joey Votto 1B
  5. Carlos Beltran RF
  6. Buster Posey C
  7. Pablo Sandoval 3B
  8. Dan Uggla 2B
  9. Rafael Furcal SS

(Matt Cain is starting pitcher)

AL All-Star lineup

  1. Derek Jeter SS
  2. Robinson Cano 2B
  3. Josh Hamilton LF
  4. Jose Bautista RF
  5. Prince Fielder 1B
  6. Adrian Beltre 3B
  7. David Ortiz DH
  8. Mike Napoli C
  9. Curtis Granderson CF

(Juster Verlander is starting pitcher)

3,086 comments Add your comment

milosdf

July 9th, 2012
9:36 pm

VP

July 9th, 2012
9:42 pm

I hope Chipper wins the MVP tomorrow.

Virginia brave

July 9th, 2012
9:50 pm

Brava

July 9th, 2012
9:51 pm

Awesome article, DOB. Thanks. We’ve been priviledged to have a player of Chipper’s caliber playing for the Braves his entire MLB career.

Scottbravesfan

July 9th, 2012
9:53 pm

Don’t forget the Warren Spahn statue. Also Chipper and Eddie Mathews were both better than Brett.

Burgess

July 9th, 2012
10:02 pm

One record Chipper has never threatened….Cal Ripkin.

He’s never been one to play hurt. Great front runner, though

Forgotten

July 9th, 2012
10:05 pm

How in the world did you forget Wade Boggs????

JEB

July 9th, 2012
10:12 pm

Chipper… the best…. simply the best!!
We just won’t realize his greatness until he is gone.
We will be telling our grandchildren we watched Chipper play,
and if you’re lucky you have his rookie cards and draft card (I am one of the lucky ones!)

FJ10

July 9th, 2012
10:17 pm

2nd best in my book too. If I had to start a team today and I could draft either Jones or Schmidt – I’d take Chipper every time.

Milt Famey

July 9th, 2012
10:19 pm

Didn’t Ty Cobb play 3B also? If you’re going to mention A-Rod’s steroids, you’ve got to mention Brett’s pine-tar bats which obviously helped him get most of his RBI’s. (LOL). Seriously, all of those guys were superb ballplayers. Thanks for the article DOB

MLB Expert

July 9th, 2012
10:19 pm

1-Schmidt
2-Mathews
3-Brett
4-Jones
5-Boggs

Robinson, Santo, and Rolen are next in line.

MLB Expert

July 9th, 2012
10:19 pm

A-Rod qualifies as a shortstop.

Milt Famey

July 9th, 2012
10:21 pm

I’ve read a lot of “fans?” bash Chipper but we’re really going to miss #10. Proud to have had on our team.

Casey

July 9th, 2012
10:26 pm

Chipper Jones is a better third baseman than Mike Schmidt. Except for home runs, Chipper is as good or better in almost every category. I don’t care how many all-star games or gold gloves a they have, because those are voted on buy idiots who never played the game. You can’t seriously believe Schmidt was a better defensive 3B either, if you ever saw him play. Also, Schmidt’s career BA was .267 not .305. He only batted .300 one time in his career. Compare that to Chipper’s 11 times.

Milt Famey

July 9th, 2012
10:29 pm

My error. Ty Cobb was an OF according Wikipedia. He was just a few yrs before my time. (not that many). BTW, Cobb had the highest lifetime BA at .366 and committed more errors than any OF with 271. Just goes to show that if you can hit well, you can get away with a bad glove sometimes.

MLB Expert

July 9th, 2012
10:30 pm

Sorry Casey, it is clear you are too inexperienced to properly adjust for era and defense. Schimdt is clearly better by any measure.

Casey

July 9th, 2012
10:33 pm

@MLB Expert you obviously never saw Schimdt play, which I did. If you actually think he was better than Chipper defensive, you are showing your own ignorance.

David O'Brien

July 9th, 2012
10:39 pm

Milt, Ty Cobb was an outfielder.

David O'Brien

July 9th, 2012
10:40 pm

Thanks, Brava.

MLB Expert

July 9th, 2012
10:42 pm

“I saw them play” holds no water. Most experts consider Schimdt to be the best defender outside of Robinson.

Even so, Schimdt has a superior bat to Chipper or anyone else for that matter.

13 seasons of 30 or more home runs, 8 seasons of leading the league. He lead the league in OPS+ 6 times and finished his career with a 147 mark. No, his average does not look great, but that is because of his era.

Casey

July 9th, 2012
10:46 pm

What does era have to do with BA? That’s nonsense. IF most “experts” consider Schmidt to be better defensively, then they are wrong. But, I don’t agree that they do.

MLB Expert

July 9th, 2012
10:53 pm

Era as in time played, not ERA(Earned Run Average).

Schmidt was no average hitter, but it is not as bad as it looks because it was a pitchers era. He was great at getting on base which is more important, as well as one of the all time great sluggers.

Chipper is considered an average defensive player with a great bat. Schimdt was great with the glove and the bat. I have never heard an expert say otherwise. Besides, the statistics and metrics bear out my position. So do the awards voting, but I don’t give it much credence.

Coach (2012 Fredi's Beisbol Fandango)

July 9th, 2012
10:54 pm

Rank’em how you want, all I know is there is only ONE OF THESE GUYS on both of my lists.

Top five 3rd baseman

1. Mike Schmidt

2. Eddie Matthews

3. Chipper Jones

4. George Brett

5. Brooks Robinson

Top Five Switch hitters

1. Mickey Mantle

2. Pete Rose

3. Eddie Murray

4. Chipper Jones

5. Roberto Alomar

5.

MLB Expert

July 9th, 2012
10:58 pm

How in the world can you rate Robinson over Boggs? Makes no sense. Boggs, Brett, and Jones are right next to each other.

Also, I would rate Jones over Rose and Murray as pure switch hitters. Both only have edges in longevity. I’d add Lance Berkman to that list, and maybe Beltran as well.

Casey

July 9th, 2012
11:01 pm

First, I did NOT say ERA. I said era. Can you read? I don’t know who these “experts” are you keep mentioning, but if they say Chipper is an average defensive player, they are idiots. And if you think that the pitching was better so much better during Schmidt’s “era” then why is that the era of Wade Boggs, George Brett, Tony Gwynn, etc, etc, etc? You should actually watch the games and stop listening to these so-called experts of yours.

Coach (2012 Fredi's Beisbol Fandango)

July 9th, 2012
11:03 pm

Because pitching and defense are the two most important factors in the game of baseball, and that’s the way I roll…..

Boggs bat was incredible, but Robinson’s glove was more of a factor.

Burgess

July 9th, 2012
11:06 pm

The only top 5 Chipper is in, is the top 5 3rd basemen that knocked up a Hooter’s waitress.

Casey

July 9th, 2012
11:16 pm

@Burgess Go back to your cartoons. The grownups are talking.

Burgess

July 9th, 2012
11:25 pm

Top 5 players average more than 120 games played……which is all Chipper has averaged the last 7 years.
Have ya’ll forgotten how Smoltz called him out a few years ago for not playing hurt ?
I wonder why his current wife has filed for divorce ? Sounds like he’s up to his old tricks.
If he’s the leader of our team, we’re hurting. Somebody with his morals and refusal to play hurt.

Salt life

July 9th, 2012
11:26 pm

DOB……thank you for the blog…..I asked on a blog which was not the main….what are your three favorite places to eat in San Francisco?

bruce

July 9th, 2012
11:28 pm

great read mr dob. insightful and fun. nice chipper quotage to top it off.

Salt life

July 9th, 2012
11:29 pm

BAS…..your thoughts?

Brett is better

July 9th, 2012
11:32 pm

I would take Brett over Jones any day of the week Dave. Your hometown bias is showing. Brett was a better all around hitter
3 batting titles in 3 different decades
Only player in ML history with .300 ba 3000 hits 300 hrs 1500 RBI 600 doubles and 200 3b
Much better in the clutch than Chipper
Played harder and with more abandonment than Chipper EVER would consider playing

He carried those KC teams on his back for a decade with 7 division titles in 10 years
Chipper had Maddux Glavine and Smoltzie

You have one game – and can have one in their prime. You take Brett.

Salt life

July 9th, 2012
11:45 pm

Brett…who would you rather have? Batting ave is a wash. Obp and slug? Really? Step off

new

July 9th, 2012
11:57 pm

Enter your comments here

gotta disagree, D O'B

July 10th, 2012
12:00 am

Theres more to playing than hitting. mDefense counts at third perhaps more than other positions…
Brooks Robinson is the starting point of any discussion about great third baggers.

Salt life

July 10th, 2012
12:02 am

Okay Brett was great! I agree. But people try to compare Chip to Brett and jeter? Maybe. I’ll take Chip over most every player ever!! I’d put all your boys on my team. They’d be bench players behind Chipper

Who cares who the pitchers were? Brett and Chip hit” close”

gotta disagree, D O'B

July 10th, 2012
12:06 am

yeah, I’d go with Brooks, Schmidt, Brett, Chipper and nowhere would Ken Oberkfell or Bob Horner be mentioned!!!

Robards

July 10th, 2012
12:17 am

Great post, DOB. I haven’t looked at the stats in a while, but I think Mike Schmidt hit something like .262. As good as he was defensively and notwithstanding his power numbers (still, less than 100 more career homers than Chipper), it’s hard for me to say that a guy who hit 40 points better was inferior to the Phillies great. Especially when the guy who hit 40 points better ends up with more RBI. Brett has a better argument. Just saying.

Robards

July 10th, 2012
12:24 am

Schmidt hit .267. Sorry, Chipper will hit like .35 or .37 better–.302 to maybe .305. I think any reasonable person would rather have Chipper at the plate in a key situation. Do you want a guy who strikes out a lot or someone who doesn’t?

Robards

July 10th, 2012
12:25 am

Schmidt hit a few points better than Dale Murphy. And had 150 more HR. Murph would be in the Hall with maybe 2 more years in his prime.

Robards

July 10th, 2012
12:26 am

Good years, I mean Of course.

Robards

July 10th, 2012
12:33 am

MLB expert, why is Schmidt’s average so poor because of his era? Have you looked at the average of his same era counterpart in KC?

Scottbravesfan

July 10th, 2012
12:36 am

Burgess,

How the hell are you supposed to play baseball with torn ACL’s? It’s not like Chipper had hangnails the guy shredded his knees. Those are pretty important to play baseball. If Cal Ripken tore his ACL in both knees he wouldn’t have the record. Cal was lucky to never have a major injury.

Robards

July 10th, 2012
12:37 am

No MLBexpert, I’ll give you defense and HR. If that’s all you care about, fine. Otherwise, give me one more stat.

Who Me?

July 10th, 2012
12:39 am

Thanks for the blog DOB. #10 is a first ballot lock. This team will direly miss his offense and leadership next year.

Casey

July 10th, 2012
12:40 am

Thank You Scottbravesfan.

Scottbravesfan

July 10th, 2012
12:40 am

Coach 2012,

No offense but Chipper was a much better hitter than Eddie Murray and Pete Rose. How do you have Pete Rose over Chipper? Because of hit total? That’s a compiling stat. To me Mickey is the only guy in the same class as Chipper as a switch hitter.

David O'Brien

July 10th, 2012
1:59 am

Robards: Sorry, man, but we’ll agree to disagree. Not even open for debate about Schmidt being best 3B, in my opinion. Batting average? Difference in batting average is what you point to for Chipper over him? Doesn’t stack up against all the superior stats and award totals for Schmidt, including 12 All-Star selections, 10 Gold Gloves in 11 years, eight years where he led the NL in home runs, three MVP awards including back-to-back years, six Silver Slugger awards, five years where he was 1st in WAR among NL position players, four years where he led the NL in walks, five where he led the league in slugging, and four where he led the league in RBIs.

Check out how many times Chipper or Brett led their repsective league in any of those categories.

David O'Brien

July 10th, 2012
2:06 am

It won’t surprise me if La Russa brings in Chipper to DH midway through ASG and leaves him in rest of way. Had conversation with someone today, indicated Tony might be planning on that.

Mitchell

July 10th, 2012
2:15 am

Chipper’s post-season numbers blow in comparison to Brett’s.

George Brett also didn’t choke when it came to facing the Yankees in the playoffs.

No offense Chipper.

Go get ‘em.

Hoss10

July 10th, 2012
3:44 am

I have a couple points that I don’t believe were brought up, in defense of Chipper. A couple have mentioned that Schmidt played in an era where pitchers were more dominant. Well, Chipper played in the steroid era, where it was believed that possibly more pitchers were juicing than hitters. As far as we know, Chipper was clean. That’s worth mentioning.
Also, to DOB’s #’s comparison of Schmidt to Chipper: I believe Chip was robbed of a few all star selections, and should probably have 11 or 12 now. Does anyone even know that he wasn’t even named an all-star in his ‘99 MVP season? I know he went on a tear in the second half, but he was still deserving that year. And going back to the steroid issue, he lost out on all star selections and silver sluggers to cheaters who had an edge. I also believe Chip deserved 1 or possibly 2 gold gloves at 3rd. But those, like all star selections, are often inaccurate due to a popularity contest.
All this being said, I still think Schmidt is the best ever. I just don’t think the gap is as wide as some suggest.

N8

July 10th, 2012
3:56 am

Chipper’s a pretty honest dude with a grasp of his place in history. He certainly belongs in the discussion. But my guess is that Chipper would tell you Schmidt gets the nod over him.

I’ve always felt that GG are a bit overrated. But hard to argue with Schmidt winning 10 of them. It’s not like we’re talking about Schmidt having 3 of them and Chipper 2 of them.

Schmidt had 10 in 11 years. Chipper has none. Sorry folks, Chipper is the best player I have ever watched at coming in on a bunt or a dribbler and making the bare-handed play. But I’ve only been watching baseball for 30 years and clearly have watched more Braves games than anybody else.

But other than him being FANTASTIC at that play, he’s been steady, but pretty average at 3B defensively.

Doesn’t mean he’s not a HOF player. Clearly he is. And as stated before…. he’s clearly in the discussion. But as the story discusses….. he’s in the discussion for SECOND best 3B in history.

Overall Schmidt wins this discussion without little debate from anybody who actually wants to pay attention and not be a homer.

N8

July 10th, 2012
4:00 am

Now, that all being said, Schmidt did get to play half of his games on turf at the old Vet.

Then again, with his knees if Chipper played half his game on turf, he might have had a shorter career than he’s had.

tjhook

July 10th, 2012
5:46 am

Maybe some of us in our affection for Chipper are confusing who is the better 3B with who is the better player. Chipper played multiple positions so obviously that would make him a stronger defensive player but Schmidt showed more efficiency at the position. As far as hitting, I think we should look at how large of a percentage was Schmidt and Chipper to their offenses in each year they played. Ozzie Virgil and Rob Deer proved they could hit homers but we are trying to establish which player made the biggest impact at the plate. . . and saying who had the most in certain categorties is not enough. We could also look at the BA and runs scored of the player who batted in front of these two guys over the years.

NickB

July 10th, 2012
5:49 am

if look at the preponderance of the different offensive numbers (both sabremetric AND counting stats) Chipper Jones is the greatest offensive 3rd baseman of all time.

However, Mike Schmidt is the 2nd best hitting 3rd baseman of all time and probably the 2nd best fielding one of all time too (after Brooks of course) Chipper, was pretty muich always a league average defender.

I DO think Chipper edges Brett and Matthews, but just by a hair, his career OPS and his ability to maintain production throughout his career gives him the edge.

1)Schmidt
2)Chipper
3)Brett
4)Matthews

a far as switch hitting goes, Murray played for a 21 seasons and was worth 78.8 WAR (3 of his last 4 years were pretty mediocre as he chased the “milestone stats” that aren’t really worth as much as we like to think they do) his career OPS is only .837, his career slash line .287/.359/.476

left handed – .293/.369/.491 .860 OPS

right handed- .276/.340/.445 .775 OPS

Chipper’s splits are

left handed – .304/.406/.543 .949

right handed – .304/.391/.501 .892

he’s almost a 300/400/500 man from both sides of the plate

If he hadn’t had the injury problems, he would have given Mantle a run for his money (though if Mantle hadn’t had the injury problems, he might’ve been up the with Ruth and Teddy Ballgame)

NickB

July 10th, 2012
6:52 am

My above argument a bit more broken down from my blog:

http://derangedangryhillbilly.blogspot.com/

enjoy!

phil

July 10th, 2012
7:19 am

Great read, Dave….

Nutjob

July 10th, 2012
7:37 am

Absolutely no way pitching was better during Schmidt’s playing days. From top to bottom, pitching today is way better and much more specialized. No you don’t have every pitcher throwing complete games, but instead of having a gassed pitcher throwing at 90% of their velocity in the later innings, you have a fresh mid 90s arm or a nasty lefty coming in out of the pen. No question it is harder to hit over the last decade than in the 70s and 80s.

Suicide Squeeze

July 10th, 2012
7:45 am

Great stuff Dave. I have to give a shout-out to Clete Boyer, an amazing 3rd bagger. Go Braves!

knockahomerx

July 10th, 2012
7:56 am

l never got to see Mantle, Ruth, Gehrig, Nap Lajoie, historical greats. Ty Cobb by his high rankings across the stats columns has to be considered the greatest of all time. Chipper is the best player of our generation. l have watched 99% of his games. Chipper you are my hero. Finish strong and climb the stats charts. Chipper you are my historical favorite player. l love you man.

SESports

July 10th, 2012
8:07 am

I did a survey of former players, scouts, etc. in 1995, and again in 2005– of the greatest players ever. Mike Schmidt was the third baseman both times. Brooks Robinson was second, and considered the best defensive third-baseman of all- time. Eddie Mathews was third. George Brett and Chipper Jones should now be in the mix. Also, the fact is: baseball was a lot better from the 1930’s to around 1970– than the product on the field now. too many athletes starting in other sports now versus 50-60 years ago.

John Leggett

July 10th, 2012
8:07 am

You left off Cal Ripken, Jr./

BlueMoon

July 10th, 2012
8:09 am

Defensively it starts and ends with Brooks Robinson. Offensively, I mean…how in the world can you go wrong picking any of these guys? But I would probably go with Brett and I think a LOT of Chipper’s ability.

Dr. C

July 10th, 2012
8:10 am

Regarding Schmidt’s Gold Gloves compared to Chipper, I believe their career fielding percentages are comparable. Schmidt had .961 fielding percentage for his career, and while I can’t find Chipper’s current career percentage, looks like it was .964 as of last year. Gold Gloves are determined by votes of managers and coaches, so to dis Chipper’s defense compared to Schmidt’s based upon Gold Gloves is a little suspect. Granted that your fielding percentage can be high if you never get to balls in the hole (for example) and thus have no chance to make an error… but I am not over-awed by Gold Glove awards as the single piece of evidence of defensive skill.

Dr. C

July 10th, 2012
8:13 am

Ahh.. found it
Brooks Robinson career: .971
Mike Schmidt career: .961
Chipper Jones (3rd base ONLY): .954

Chipper’s was inflated by a few years in the outfield.

Atticus

July 10th, 2012
8:22 am

I agree completely with DOB Schmidt was he best. Not close really. You can’t just go on average. It was how he was compared to the peers of his day and he was the MAN! He was feared at the plate. George Brett was my favorite player and was a stud for several years but just not the defensive player nor the power hitter. I think Chipper is close to Brett but slightly behind because Brett had some huge playoff performances.

Disbott3000

July 10th, 2012
8:45 am

Ty Cobb, if he ever played 3rd, did so on only a handful of occasions. He was straight-up an outfielder and, actually, not an incredibly well-regarded one at that. He was a hitter for a pure and simple fact.

Ripken was a shortstop. He also does not fit into this argument at all. Come on, dude.

I won’t bother trying to argue whom of the top third basemen is the best. Numbers count, but there are also intangible elements that stats can’t show. I’m just glad we got to watch one of them for his whole career. Thanks for everything, Chipper!

FB

July 10th, 2012
8:52 am

DOB, never been to KC but headed there in a few months. What are your recommendations for BBQ?

harry taylor

July 10th, 2012
9:23 am

Schmidt and Brett were definitely better than Chipper. They won more MVP and were better fielders. Also they weren’t absent from the lineup because of nagging injuries.

Don

July 10th, 2012
9:26 am

“Who is the 2nd best 3rd Baseman ever (referring to Chipper)?”
Mr. OBrien, – no offense – but how can a professional baseball writer pose this question?
This is absurd.
Don’t look now – but a 3rd baseman (or any position player) must play defense half of the time.
Half of the evalustion of – “The Best Third Baseman Ever” must DEAL WITH HOW WELL HE PLAYS DEFENSE.
Chipper has never been anything on defense but a “get by’ 3rd baseman – at best.
His range has never been good – limited further by playing too shallow in some unnecessary situations.
This takes nothing away from how great he has been as a hitter – even greater than he has been given credit for being – because of his performance against the best of pitchers – and in close grame situations – and in late innings of close games.
BUT when you talk about the “Best 3rd Basemen Ever”, significant consideration has to be given to defense.
Based on this, he does not belong in the group for consideration.

SimpleDawg

July 10th, 2012
9:28 am

When comparing defensive stats, Schmidt played on artificial turf in Philly, and many more fields were artificial turf back then. Much easier to field ground balls with truer bounces…….Just sayin’

Chipper has played on grass in Atl……

Don

July 10th, 2012
9:44 am

SimpleDawg, I am not talking about defensive stats (fielding percentage). That does not measure a fielders range.

Mets R Best

July 10th, 2012
9:50 am

Hello there Braves fans! Are you starting to get nervous? Starting to shake with fear? You ought to be because the Mighty New York Metropolitans are coming to your town and they won’t be showing the Braves any mercy. Remember the first 4 games of the year? Expect the same result this weekend.
Tremble Braves fans. Tremble.

David O'Brien

July 10th, 2012
10:06 am

DOB, never been to KC but headed there in a few months. What are your recommendations for BBQ?

Arthur Bryant’s, Gates, Jack Stack and Oklahoma Joe’s, in no specific order. All are terrific.

Renegade1416

July 10th, 2012
10:11 am

David O’Brien – I have to correct you when you write that Eddie Mathews had an 11 year window. He had a solid 14 year run before slacking off his last 3 years. Mike Schmidt had a similar 14 year run, no more. You’re short changing Mathews to make a case for Schmidt and Chipper. Let’s be fair and don’t mislead the readers. In fact, Mathews and Schmidt’s career records were amazingly close statistically. BA Schmidt .267, Mathews .271 – HR Schmidt 548, Mathews 512 – OBP Schmidt .380 – Mathews .376. Mathews had 185 more at bats than Schmidt so Schmidt was the more prolific home run hitter, but not by much. If you want to put Jones ahead of Mathews on your list, fine, but be fair and honest in your assessment.

Ken Stallings

July 10th, 2012
10:13 am

I believe Chipper is the second best third baseman in Braves franchise history, because I do believe that Eddie Mathews is the best ever. But, Eddie Mathews is also one of the best ever for MLB. In my view, Mike Schmidt is the best third baseman in the history of baseball. Alex Rodriquez played only half his career at third, so he cannot be in that upper echelon.

In terms of George Brett, I would have to agree that Chipper is a nose better, and so I slot him at the number three position. Regardless, just to have a seat at this kind of table is reward enough!

Renegade1416

July 10th, 2012
10:15 am

P.S. Mathews was also an excellent defensive 3rd baseman, as was Schmidt. Schmidt had the gold gloves but Mathews was considered an above defensive player at his position. I believe Mathews was superior defensively to Chipper.

ohhhhYEAH

July 10th, 2012
10:16 am

WHAT THE HECK?!?!! Here I was thinking Wes Helms was one of the best third basemen of all time. This changes everything……..

On a serious note, I cant wait to watch #10 light up whoever he gets to face tonight at the Kauff (I guess Braves fans can even shorten other ball parks’ names too :) ), I hope he finishes up his last ASG with a huge bang. Being that I’m only 24, I never had the privilege of watching Brett or Schmidt,but I do know baseball, and I have seen (thanks ESPN Classic) and read about how great each of them were. And for Chipper to be mentioned interchangeably with them is a testament to what we have been witnessing in Atlanta over the past 20 years. Marital problems aside, Chipper seems like an all around good guy and one of the best teammates you could have.

Side note, they should honestly give him the Gold Glove this year no matter what, considering they literally robbed him back in 07, when they handed it to David Wright (23 errors) over Chipper (nine errors). But thats just my beef!

ohhhhYEAH

July 10th, 2012
10:16 am

*21 errors by Wright, not 23

bucky oneil

July 10th, 2012
10:18 am

Man it was going so good till the last few posts….then this Mets guy. Where is Harpe? I need to puke..

wreckbuzz

July 10th, 2012
10:25 am

DOB,

I disagree. Chipper Jones is the BEST 3B of all time….because he was ours.

ohhhhYEAH

July 10th, 2012
10:28 am

Sure Mets, just like we rememeber we also won the last two against you, just like we also seem to remember we are ahead of you in the standings right now. You dont really expect Dickie to carry you all season do you? C’mon son. It’ll be fun, though, knowing that once the slide starts for your Mutts, and we all know its coming, that you’ll still be sitting there remembering the first four games

Marc Schneider

July 10th, 2012
10:32 am

“He’s never been one to play hurt. Great front runner, though”

Even for the AJC, that’s an incredibly dumb comment.

Re Schmidt. If you saw Schmidt play and think Chipper is better defensively, you need glasses. Chipper is an average at best third baseman with limited range. Schmidt was much better. As for hitting, I’m not sure there is much difference. Schmidt was a much streaker hitter than Chipper and, while he had a lot more home runs, he played in an easier park to hit homers in for most of his career than Chipper. I would say it’s basically a toss up. Brett had much less power than either one but obviously was a better hitter for average in his prime. .

PMC

July 10th, 2012
10:33 am

ARod is a shortstop. He’s only playing 3rd because he’s not named Jeter.

PMC

July 10th, 2012
10:36 am

Chipper is one of the best switch hitters ever. He’s one of the better hitters in the game, He’s been a decent defensive 3rd baseman but he’s definitely not Robinson or Schmidt in that category. Shimidt is probably the best all around 3rd baseman ever.

PMC

July 10th, 2012
10:37 am

If you’re being talked about in that list of 5 it really doesn’t matter where you fall.

Unbiased opinion

July 10th, 2012
10:59 am

Brett vs. Chipper

Brett – Played in cavernous KC stadium at the time that cost him a good 100 HRs
Chipper – Played during the live ball era with juiced balls and short porches

Brett – 3 batting titles in 3 different decades – only player in history to do that
Chipper – 1 batting title

Brett – best all around hitter. Looks at the numbers

Brett – BA .305, HR 317, RBI 1596, H 3,154, 2B 665, 3B 137, SB 201
Chipper – BA .304, HR 460, RBI 1594, H 2,670, 2B 536, 3B 38, SB 150

Brett did it all. The best all around hitter of our generation. Average, Power, Doubles, Triples, Some Speed. In fact – he and Willie Mays are the only player in history to exceed the following milestones .300 Avg, 300 HRs, 1500RBI, 3000 hits, 600 doubles, 100 triples, 200 steals.

Brett also played a lot when he was hurt – probably cost him 10 points on the career average -especially toward the end of his career. Chipper takes every third day off.

Fielding
Brett – Much better defensively than Chipper

All Star Selections
Brett 13
Chipper 9

But the most important stat that tilts toward Brett’s favor – clutch hitting. Compare Brett vs. Chipper in post season.

Brett 43G, 166AB, .337 BA, 10 HR 23 RBI, 1.023 OPS
Chipper 92G, 333 AB, .288 BA, 13 HR 47 RBI, .871 OPS

As an earlier posted indicated, Chipper had plenty of help in the playoff run. More people associated Maddux, Glavine,and Smoltz with those great Braves teams than Chipper. Everyone associates Brett with the great KC team of the late 70s and early 80s. He was the guy. No one was even close – Willie Wilson? Hal McRae? Steve “Bye Bye” Balboni? Give me a break! Nice role guys, but Brett carried that team on his back for well over a decade of great baseball. Royals pitching of Splitorff, Leonard, Brett Saberhagen? Solid, but not Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz by any stretch. Brett hustled more, dove for more balls, and did it for the love of the game. He didn’t sit out with a hang nail like Chipper might.

And for all the love given for Mike Schmidt in here, the guy was a choker in the post season. He’d be third on my list for a starting 3B in a big game. Check out his post season stats.

36 G 158 AB, .236 BA, 4 HR, 16 RBI, OPS .690

Chipper is a hall of famer and has put together a magnificient career. If I had to put a team out there of players in their prime for one game for all the marbles, he’d be my backup third basemen – to George Brett.

bigmuddy

July 10th, 2012
11:07 am

DBG: Stay out of Okla Joe’s. Too dangerous with all those Jayhawks

George

July 10th, 2012
11:12 am

Good morning all
Good AJC sent Dave to cover CHIPPERS last ALL-STAR experience.

Mets R Best

July 10th, 2012
11:15 am

After this weekend the Braves will be back in third place. Mets fans not only cherish the memory of the 4 game sweep to start this season, but also the historic and epic Braves collapse of 2011. The big question Mets fans have is, will Larry come out and play or will he be sitting out this Series?

David O'Brien

July 10th, 2012
11:17 am

Peter Moylan is headed to Class-A Rome to continue his rehab after pitching 1-2/3 hitless innings w/ 1 K in his last Gulf Coast League appearance.

George

July 10th, 2012
11:18 am

Who is KCs ALL-STAR rep, our Jeff?

George

July 10th, 2012
11:21 am

Hope DOB right and CHIPPER plays half the game, and hope HARPER gets a AB.

CrαZy

July 10th, 2012
11:26 am

1)Schmidt
2)Chipper
3)Brett
4)Matthews

Seems right to me!!

kerryb

July 10th, 2012
11:36 am

I think if you compare all around stats Chipper’s is better than Schmidt both hitting and fielding. Schmidt had more HR’s and that’s it. Chipper had more hits, RBI’s, and a higher career average. If Chipper didn’t miss so many games due to injury the last 5 years he may have had more HR’s than Schmidt.

kerryb

July 10th, 2012
11:37 am

I would say: 1. Chipper 2. Schmidt. 3 Brett 4. Mathews 5. Robinson

Jeff R

July 10th, 2012
11:37 am

Matthews over Chipper and, certainly, Brett. Schmidt tops the list.

Jeff R

July 10th, 2012
11:40 am

No one mentions Pie Traynor. Come on, have to be some Pie fans in the mix.

kerryb

July 10th, 2012
11:43 am

Schmidt Jones
Avg .267 Avg .304
RBI 1595 RBI 1594
HR 548
SLG .527
OBP .380
S.O. 1883

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