On Wednesday, four new Hall of Fame inductees were announced, Jim Thome, Trevor Hoffman, Vladimir Guerrero, and leading the way, Larry “Chipper” Jones.
That’s right, our old nemesis is going to Cooperstown.
This blood feud all started on May 9th, 1995, when Chipper hit a go-ahead home run in the 9th inning at Shea Stadium, the first of his career.
Shea Stadium. Tie ballgame. Top of the 9th.— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) January 24, 2018
First homer 🤟 pic.twitter.com/1sW6HmiqeM
From that point on, Chipper emerged a public enemy number one to the Queens faithful. In 88 games at Shea, he hit 313/.407/.557 with 19 home runs and 55 RBI. He even had the nerve to name his son Shea. Though, in fairness, with those kinds of numbers, it’s easy to see why Shea holds a special place in Chipper’s heart.
Overall, he hit .309/.406/.543 with 49 home runs and 155 RBI in 245 games against the Mets.
And even as Chipper continued to torture the Mets on the field, it wasn't until the Braves nearly knocked the Mets out of playoff contention in 1999 (the Mets recovered and got in, but would eventually get knocked out of the postseason by Chipper's Braves in 1999 NLCS, a series which he posted a .517 OBP) that Chipper cemented his legacy with Mets fans.
“Now, all the Mets fans can go home and put their Yankees' stuff on. You know they're all going to convert. It's amazing how fast you hear Yankee talk around the dugout, yet they're wearing Mets stuff.”
It wasn’t just that he experienced an immense amount of success against the Mets, it was that he seemed to always come through at a crucial part of games. Like clockwork, Chipper seemed to get up in a big spot, and right on cue, he would come through. It infuriates me to this day just thinking about how many nights he ruined throughout my childhood.
As much as he was an all-time great player, he was also an all-time great villain, and in an infuriating, yet very cool way, Chipper embraced that. I loved to hate Chipper Jones, and he knew it was like that. He was more than happy to play along, and it made the battles with the Braves in the late '90s and early 2000s a very special rivalry. Looking back on his career, I have no choice but to respect him.
So congrats, Chipper. I wouldn't be surprised if you plaque said “Mets killer” on it. And just so you know, I'm crossing my fingers hoping that a “Larrrryyy” chant disrupts your induction speech.