Chipper as Braves’ hitting coach? No. D-Lowe? Hmmm …

Wild celebration breaks out as Derek Lowe is named hitting coach. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

Celebration breaks out as Derek Lowe is named hitting coach. (AJC photo by Curtis Compton)

The Atlanta Braves will interview Greg Walker, formerly of the White Sox, this week in the effort to fill their vacancy as hitting coach. Walker had done good work in Chicago, although he was criticized for his inability to reach prized prospect Gordon Beckham and the famous flailer Adam Dunn.  (An aside: Dunn was whiffing 190 times a year long before he met Walker.)

Greg Walker? He’d be a good hire. But there’s a guy I keep hearing touted for the job who’s already in-house, and I wanted to address that today. His name: Larry Wayne Jones Jr.

I hold Chipper Jones in the highest regard. He’s a first-ballot Hall of Famer, the second-best everyday Atlanta Brave ever (behind only Henry Aaron). And I’ll concede that Chipper knows an awful lot about baseball and hitting. That said …

He wouldn’t be my first (or third) choice as a hitting coach now or at any time, for the simple reason that folks who are really good at something often make bad teachers. They can’t understand why lesser talents don’t take their imparted knowledge and do as they did. And Chipper’s phlegmatic demeanor — the same demeanor that makes him a great and cold-eyed interview subject — isn’t what the job demands.

Bobby Cox once called Chipper in and said, “Chip, we need you to be more of a leader, to talk it up more.” That night the Braves fell behind and Chipper sought to exhort his mates by yelling, “Come on, dagnabit!” — or a loose translation thereof — in the dugout. The effect, shall we say, was less inspirational than desired.

And that’s Chipper: He’s a great leader by example, but it’s not his nature to be a rah-rah guy. And being a coach of any sort involves a high component of rah-rah.

No matter. There’s one other Brave I can see inspiring the team’s hitters to great heights, a Brave whose mere appearance brings out the best in batsmen. In three seasons here, opposing hitters have batted .301, .273 and .285 against Derek Lowe. Just let him earn $15 million he has remaining on his contract by throwing batting practice every night. Then watch as balls fly over the fence and hitters gain in confidence. Watch, I say!

Yes, I’d concede this is thinking outside the ol’ box. But no more so that what the Braves tried last season, which was to hire as big-league hitting coach a man who’d never been a big-league hitting coach. At least Derek Lowe knows what good hitting looks like. He sees it every five days.

By Mark Bradley

453 comments Add your comment

juvenal

October 12th, 2011
9:48 am

Najeh Davenpoop

October 12th, 2011
9:52 am

“folks who are really good at something often make bad teachers. They can’t understand why lesser talents don’t take their imparted knowledge and do as they did.”

It’s amazing how so many people who hire coaches in sports don’t understand this, in the NBA especially.

Mark Bradley

October 12th, 2011
9:54 am

Hi, juvenal. Kudos.

rusty

October 12th, 2011
9:54 am

Larry as the second best every day Brave ever? Come on man. What about Jeff Blauser????

Alex

October 12th, 2011
9:54 am

Why would Greg Walker be a good hire? His offenses are notorious for weak contact and poor BABIP. Definitely not something the Braves need more of. I get that he actually has experience which puts him above Parrish but he would NOT be a good hire at all.

SouthJaxBeach Bulldawg Fan

October 12th, 2011
9:55 am

Mark, I am in agreement with you. While Chipper is a first round ballot HOF I have no doubt he would make a horrendous HC. I’ve seen it before. There are some people out there that are so good at what they do that they simply cannot comprehend why others cannot do what they do. This is Chipper! And leadership? Lets not go there!

Mark Bradley

October 12th, 2011
9:56 am

Greatest everyday Brave: 5. Dale Murphy 4. Greg Norton 3. Corky Miller 2. Chipper Jones 1. Henry L. Aaron.

rusty

October 12th, 2011
9:58 am

All kidding aside about Blauser, how has steroid user Mark McGwire done as hitting coach of the Cardinals?

juvenal

October 12th, 2011
9:58 am

agree……don’t catch as much of your braves stuff, lucky enough to grow up a Redbirds fan…..

juvenal

October 12th, 2011
9:59 am

hit pretty good last game…..

Msucurt

October 12th, 2011
10:00 am

Haha love this article!

Steve Bartkowski

October 12th, 2011
10:04 am

Maybe that’s why Mike Maddox is a pithing coach, and not Greg. Good article. I think the problem with the hitters this year was a combination of swing for the fences vs. a lack of basic fundementals.

SimpleDawg

October 12th, 2011
10:04 am

Might be your best article.

D-Lowe as hitting coach would be a better waste of $15,000,000.00 than having him pitch.

Chipper Jones = Damn Good Brave.

Steven

October 12th, 2011
10:06 am

I had to look up the word “phlegmatic” despite doing well on my SATs.

Curious George

October 12th, 2011
10:07 am

If Mark McGwire can be a hitting coach for the Cardinals, why couldn’t Dale Murphy at least interview for the Hitting Coach position with the Braves?

Craig Skok

October 12th, 2011
10:09 am

Good one, Mark.

Alex

October 12th, 2011
10:09 am

Also people still don’t realize that Lowe’s ERA would have been much lower if the infield had any range outside of SS. I’m not saying it would be good but people need to start discussing how terrible the range at 1b and 2b cost this team often. Look beyond the superficial stuff.

Boom-Boom

October 12th, 2011
10:10 am

I would try and get Clint Hurdle or Larry Walker.

Curious George

October 12th, 2011
10:10 am

If the White Sox were considering Paul Koenerko as a Player-Manager/Player-Coach for next season, why couldn’t the Braves at least kick around such a dual role for Chipper?

In light of some of the other incredibly STUPID things Frank Wren has done (Kawakami for 3 years, Lowe for $60 million & 4 years, letting Smoltz go to the Red Sox, not firing Fredi Gonzalez yet), how ridiculous could this idea be by comparison?

JK

October 12th, 2011
10:10 am

Brooks Conrad

Kimbrel rocks

October 12th, 2011
10:13 am

i love hank aaron but chipper has better all around stats. chipper is best atlanta brave

Beauvighn

October 12th, 2011
10:13 am

This topic was discussed ad naseum yesterday. Do you hacks not read each others articles…

Jeff

October 12th, 2011
10:13 am

Chipper has been a member of this team for the entire tenure of every individual on the roster, and has tried – as a teammate – to coach up many of them (think Andruw Jones, Jason Heyward, etc.) on hitting. If he can’t help wake up the bats when he’s on the roster, why in the world would Chipper be a more effective bat-awakened when on the bench but not on the roster?

Joey

October 12th, 2011
10:13 am

Mark, seriously, Lowe may be the best bunter on the Braves . . .

The Mighty Quinn

October 12th, 2011
10:14 am

Twenty-second! Great biting satire, Mark. I was trying to think of anyone in any sport who had made it into the HOF of their sport as a player, and won a championship as a head coach, manager, etc. I got nothing. Anybody else?

bronkelliott

October 12th, 2011
10:16 am

In my humble opinion, tony Larussa is the best manager in baseball. It helps to have Albert on your team I know, but I love the way he handles the lineups and has gusto to win..Much better than Bobby cox or Freddi G..

BobDawg

October 12th, 2011
10:17 am

…. bring in Chippers Dad… no brainer!!!

Votto "Graham" Cracker

October 12th, 2011
10:17 am

Back when TED owned the team, I bet he would’ve fired Roger “Kids Don’t Belong at the [#$#*@$] Ballpark” McDowell for embarrassing the organization the way he did this summer.

If he wanted, I bet Larry Parrish could sue the team over his dismissal for Obesity Discrimination.

The Mighty Quinn

October 12th, 2011
10:17 am

BTW, where does Biff Pocoroba place in your pantheon of Atlanta Braves?

The Mighty Quinn

October 12th, 2011
10:18 am

@BobDawg; now thats an interesting thought!

WDW

October 12th, 2011
10:19 am

Thats your opinion Alex but I disagree. I know Greg Walker and I know what he can and has done. He excelled at his craft for 8.5 years. The WS in his 8+ years were ranked 3rd in MLB in homers 1789. and 10th in MLB with 6,722 runs scored. Yes a couple player didn’t do well but alot of human factors go into hitting and he shouldn’t be blamed for that. Konerko gives GW credit for for helping him and said he would continue to call even after GW leaves. Lillibridge and other say GW resurrected there offensive game.. The man works 24-7 using every available means to help teach and learn how to help each play..How many players have you hear say something bad about him. He would be a BIG Plus in Braves improvement and clubhouse.
If you disagree ok but don’t make-up crap. You just got to know the guy………..

.

Herschel Talker

October 12th, 2011
10:20 am

MB:

What was the problem with Corky Miller?

HT

ColaJacket

October 12th, 2011
10:22 am

Why not get Larry Wayne Jones, Sr for a hitting coach. Chipper’s father has proven he knows how to correct at least one Brave’s problems at the plate. When Chipper has a problem hitting, he doesn’t go to Terry or LP, he goes to his dad.

Darth Hater

October 12th, 2011
10:22 am

I hear Terry Francona could use a job right now as a Hitting Coach.

The Braves have a “Hitting Coach” position open right now, preferably for a candidate with successful managerial experience in case the team’s September 2012 starts off like September 2011.

(Hint, Hint)

Fish Bisch

October 12th, 2011
10:23 am

Braves suck.

Remarkable

October 12th, 2011
10:23 am

Too funny Mark. Love it.

WDW

October 12th, 2011
10:23 am

Greg Walker does have World Series ring in that 8 years.

Joey

October 12th, 2011
10:26 am

Chipper had better stats than Hank?

That’s funny . . .

perk

October 12th, 2011
10:27 am

mark: that is cold my man

doc

October 12th, 2011
10:28 am

wow, that is about as bad as it gets for avg against a pitcher. anyone worse in the last three years? in history for “an innings eater” like him?

Mark Bradley

October 12th, 2011
10:29 am

Yes, Walker does have a ring, WDW. Something to be said for that.

Votto "Graham" Cracker

October 12th, 2011
10:30 am

Since Chipper Jones will be missing game action and getting paid to sit on the bench with injuries & fatigue for much of next season anyway, we should at least be getting some formal COACHING out of him while his behind is there.

murfdawg

October 12th, 2011
10:31 am

Good article Mark! How about just putting Ted Williams head at the batting cage with a note that says “See the ball, hit the ball” The Braves seem to be going all Nuke Lalooche at the plate over thinking every pitch and every count and trying to outguess the pitcher. Baseball is not that complicated.

Casey

October 12th, 2011
10:34 am

Julio Franco?

Dr. Phil

October 12th, 2011
10:42 am

How did you get the police shot of Lowe after drag racing on P’tree? I do not consider Chipper a leader. He whines about other players’ shortcomings, loafs in the field, and sits out with “flu-like symptoms.” At one time, he was a great hitter.

JBoog1285

October 12th, 2011
10:45 am

Mark, this is why you have had major problems with SEVERAL head coaches in this town. Completely unnecessary and juvenile shot at a guy who just had the hardest year of his career. Kicking a man when he is down. Congratulations.

Bilbo

October 12th, 2011
10:53 am

Rico Carty for hitting coach. He taught Willie Montenez all he knows about heeting the beseball mon.

urban redneck

October 12th, 2011
10:55 am

crime dawg!!

boog

October 12th, 2011
10:57 am

LOL… I wondered how you were going to play this in the context of the title? Very clever… and I love it. D. Lowe should wear a mask and carry a gun for the money he has stolen from the Braves. Worst free agent signing since Mike Hampton. A guy who has made $60 million and gave us four weeks of good pitching in three years is fair game…kicking a man while he is down? (as the above poster says) How down can you be after collecting $60 mil for nothing.
As astute as Wren is …when he can unload Lowe’s and Chippers contract we might be able to finally do something special.

Delbert D.

October 12th, 2011
10:57 am

Who’s still around among the Charley Lau methodists?