Chipper Jones lamented the dearth of third basemen in the Hall of Fame on Thursday, one day after becoming just the 17th player to primarily man the position selected for enshrinement in Cooperstown.
The former Flushing nemesis also expressed disappointment that injury-plagued Mets captain and longtime third-base counterpart David Wright isn’t likely to ever be added to that list.
“It’s unfortunate. Because David, I think, could be one of the guys standing up there on the podium one day,” Jones said at Thursday’s press conference to introduce him and three other new Hall of Famers elected by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America “He was certainly headed that way before injuries set in.”
Wright, a seven-time All-Star in his first nine seasons with the Mets, has appeared in just 75 games over the past three years due largely to back and neck injuries. GM Sandy Alderson revealed earlier this week that Wright has yet to resume any baseball activity, with spring training slated to start in less than three weeks.
Chipper Jones hopes David Wright can return to the field.
(Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
“It’s been a lot more long-term than some of the stuff that I went through,” Chipper said. “David’s a great guy, he’s a great ambassador for the New York Mets and for the city of New York. It always pains me to see a guy with so much talent not be able to go out there and do it on an everyday basis.
“I wish him the best and I hope he comes back, but only he knows how diligent he can be with his workouts. For me, it was a knee…but he’s dealing with something that’s a lot harder to come back from – whether it’s his back, his shoulder…Like I said the longevity of third basemen is a question, because you get beat up a lot down there and (Wright) can certainly attest to that.”
With Scott Rolen receiving just 10.2 percent of the vote in his Hall ballot debut, Jones predicts that Texas third baseman Adrian Beltre – who surpassed 3,000 hits last season – will be the next third baseman to ascend to Cooperstown.
“I don’t know, I think maybe the lifespan of a third baseman isn’t what it should be,” said Jones. “We’re known as hockey goalies down there just trying to knock stuff down…But I’m proud to be part of that very small fraternity.”
GOTTA GO TO MO
Trevor Hoffman trails only Mariano Rivera in career saves with 601, but he required three turns on the ballot before gaining enshrinement this year, alongside Jones, Vladimir Guerrero and Jim Thome.
The former San Diego closer is certain that his Yankees counterpart will sail into the Hall in his first year of eligibility next year.
“He will be a first-ballot guy,” Hoffman said. “Just sitting up there with the bright lights on me, I couldn’t imagine the bright lights at Yankee Stadium on a night in, night out basis. I admired Mariano’s career from afar, from 2,500 miles away (and) just the man that he is and the way he handled himself. Nothing but class. He’s gonna be a slam dunk next year.”