Former Braves star Andruw Jones remains on Hall of Fame ballot

Andruw Jones is not heading to Cooperstown this summer, but the defensive wizard’s name will remain on the Hall of Fame ballot.

The 10-time Gold Glove-winning center fielder garnered a Hall of Fame vote on 7.3 percent of ballots, bypassing the 5 percent threshold necessary to stay on the writers’ ballot heading into 2019 after months of speculation that one of the greatest defensive players in baseball history could see just one year of eligibility. In the end, common sense prevailed.

Jones’ career quickly tapered off after leaving Atlanta, but his counting numbers are at least worth further consideration. Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente are the only outfielders with more Gold Gloves than Jones, and he’s tied with Ken Griffey Jr., Al Kaline and Ichiro Suzuki. That’s Hall of Fame company. Even with Jones’ prime arriving prior to the era of advanced defensive metrics it does not require statistical gymnastics to claim he’s in baseball’s fielding upper echelon. His glove was historically great.

“I didn’t foresee Andruw getting enough momentum to make it on this first ballot, but certainly he is a guy that deserves to be discussed in years to come,” former teammate Chipper Jones said after being elected as a first-ballot Hall of Famer on Wednesday evening. ” … I think most people will tell you he’s the best defensive center fielder they’ve ever seen.”

On the offensive side, the Willemstad, Curacao, native completed his career with a .254/.337/.486 slash line with 434 home runs and 152 stolen bases, numbers considered 11 percent above league average by OPS and weighted runs created. He joins former teammate and first-ballot Hall of Famer Chipper Jones as one of only 21 players in MLB history in the 400 Home Run-150 Stolen Base Club.

The only other players to play at least 75 percent of games in center field and finish their careers with 400 or more home runs: Mays and Griffey.

For that level of player — one who racked up 67.1 wins above replacement and ranks 11th in JAWS among all center fielders, directly ahead of Hall of Famers Richie Ashbury, Andre Dawson and Billy Hamilton — while lesser players stuck on the ballot would have been misguided at best.

Jones is looking to become perhaps the last remaining piece of the Braves’ historic run of division titles to reach Cooperstown, joining former teammates Chipper Jones, John Smoltz, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine along with manager Bobby Cox and general manager John Schuerholz.