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Card of the Week (and Hall of Fame poll): 1997 Bowman Chrome International Refractors #127 Andruw Jones

Posted by Andy on September 8, 2011

So much to say about this card...

I better keep it in bullet format so that we can get to the Hall of Fame poll below:

  • By 1997, the card industry was way into overload production with all sorts of ridiculous variations. For this card, there was the regular Bowman base card, the Bowman chrome card, the Bowman international card, and the Bowman international chrome refractor card shown above. At the time, people loved these gimmick cards. They are still made today, but interest seems to have waned significantly.
  • Bowman became the card issue dedicated to rookie and propsect cards and remains as such today. They also liked to make cards of young stars, as Jones was in 1997.
  • The background of the card is meant to feature the flag of the home country of the player. Many of you probably know that Jones is the most successful big-leaguer from Curaçao (and kudos if you can name the first big-leaguer from Curaçao.) Interestingly, if you do a Google image search for "Curacao flag" you'll see that the flag is nothing like what's shown on the card. That's because until 2010, Curacao was actually considered a territory of the Netherlands Antilles, and that's the flag shown on the card.
  • This card probably looks a lot better in real life. It's shiny. In these scans, it looks remarkably drab. The one thing I like about the design is the use of dual photos, especially with one being an action shot and one a closeup.
  • The copy on the back is simple and I do enjoy the witty "Yes--all of them". (Does this remind anybody else of the scene in Austin Powers?)

Now let's talk about Jones and his qualifications for the Hall of Fame.

I'll just put out some quick bullets and let you folks take it from there.

For Andruw Jones in the Hall of Fame

Against Andruw Jones in the Hall of Fame

  • Because so much of his WAR came from defense, it means that his oWAR isn't all that impressive. At 36.4, he's right around Don Mattingly, Greg Luzinski, and Tony Oliva. Those guys certainly aren't slouches, but none of them is in the Hall of Fame.
  • His career OPS+ of 111 is nice but not particularly special. Here's a list of 20 guys with a similar OPS+ in a similar number of career PAs. There are 4 Hall of Famers on there but they are all infielders from the first half of the 20th century. Similar outfielders include Dusty Baker, Carlos Lee, and Amos Otis.
  • Other than dWAR, his only top-50 career stat is HR, and he's played during a HR-heavy era.
  • It's going to be hard to overlook his bad 2007 at Age 30 and his horrendous 2008 at Age 31.

121 Responses to “Card of the Week (and Hall of Fame poll): 1997 Bowman Chrome International Refractors #127 Andruw Jones”

  1. jr Says:


    I should have clarified my point a little better. The guys you mentioned all had short careers, unlike Andruw Jones who had a good career run 10 years and has been miserable for the last 5 seasons. All of the guys you mentioned not only had short careers, but were DOMINANT during them. Andruw Jones maybe had 2 seasons that were the equivilant of Kiner and Greenberg.

  2. Kevin Says:

    Andruw Jones has been a pretty good player for a long time, minus '07 and '08 (which hurts). But 400HR playing most of his career in the steroids era is not good enough to get you in. Had he racked up those stats playing in the 70s and 80s while still experiencing the level of postseason exposure/success I would think he would get in. There are probably a few HOF's who are marginal who he compares favorably to, but I couldn't vote him in.

    As for the card, the late '90s baseball card industry got like the NBA dunk contest - yeah it was cool at first now everyone is tired of it and doesn't pay attention. When I collected a lot of cards in the late 70s and 80s with only 3 companies to choose from it seemed much more special. Plus the cards were only 25-35 cents per pack and my allowance would go a long way. If I was a kid I couldn't fathom shelling out $4-$7 per pack for a 10-card special edition gimmick pack.

  3. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @89/Steve Says: #83 What about Harland Clift?
    Steve, Clift had a nice five/six year peak as the first modern power-hitting third baseman, but his career was just too short (1582 G), plus his peak was very good but not great. He would be one of the best players never to get a HOF vote (my choices: J. Wynn, C. Cooper, M. Cuellar)

    In this way he is similar to his #1 comp, Ken Keltner, except Keltner played on mostly good/excellent Indians teams, while Clift had the misfortune to play mostly for Browns teams that not only never contended (except 1942), but were often amongst the worst teams in the AL (90+ losses four years). Bill James does an excellent job putting Clift's career in context in the NBJHA.

    @101/ Jr: "...@83 All of the guys you mentioned not only had short careers, but were DOMINANT during them. Andruw Jones maybe had 2 seasons that were the equivalent of Kiner and Greenberg."

    Jr - yes, I thought of the same thing; I also should've added that, although Jones was the _offensive_ equal to Greenberg and Kiner only a few times, if you add in his great defense, his peak years look a lot more "equivalent" to those two .

    Sorry to bring up WAR again, but by total WAR (offense + defense), both Jones and Greenberg have 6+ WAR six times, Kiner four times. As several people have noted upthread, this is the Brooks Robinson HOF arguement :

    decent bat + all-time great defense = HOF CASE

    I guess that would depend on whether you think Jones' defensive value was roughly equivalent to Brooks'.

    I am not saying that he's a lock HOFer, just that his HOF case shouldn't be dismissed so quickly.

  4. Matt Says:

    While it's a decent comparison, Brooks Robinson did have WAR near 70 (69.1), whereas Jones' is 60(60.1). In the WAR-world, 60 is borderline HoF, whereas near 70 is basically a lock. The difference in WAR can be mostly attributed to Brooks maintaining for longer than Jones did....of course the eras were completely different as well. Yes, WAR tries to account for differences in era, but Brooks played most of his years in the second dead-ball era, whereas Jones played in an inflated offensive era tainted by steroids.

  5. Doug B Says:

    @89 or Bob Elliott or Joe Torre or even Darrel Evans.

    You'd think 1 borderline guy would have made it at 3rd base in the last 20 years.

    Maybe they realized how bad a goof Freddy Lindstrom and George Kell were and therefore Santo et all had to suffer for it.

    I count only 10 third baseman in the Hall, two (Lindstrom and Kell) do not deserve it. I count 21 shortstops.

    When you look at that disparity and see 10 borderline candidates it seems crazy not to take the guy who is clearly the best of those on the outside (Santo).

    And I hate the Cubs. But c'mon man. Santo was 1 of the 10 best third baseman of those that have already retired. That's hall of fame in my book.

    If you can convince me Andruw Jones was 1 of the 10 best centerfielders of all-time I'd have to give him my vote as well. He'll be up against Kenny Lofton, Carlos Beltran, and Jim Edmonds.

  6. Steve Says:

    105 I agree on Santo and Lindstrom is one of the worst guys in the HoF.Torre also caught and played 1st base.If he'd stayed a catcher and kept his production he'd be in.He'll be in as a manager though.

  7. SocraticGadfly Says:

    Doug and Doug B both have good points. And, comparing Andruw to the Wiz? Nope. Ozzie is slightly ahead defensively for career, and has MUCH longer consistency. Post-trade to St. Louis, he also improved himself offensively.

    As for all the people who are in the Hall but shouldn't be, that's no excuse to vote new ppl in. And, here's my list of all of the position players it would be easy to dump (post-1900 only):

  8. Anthony Says:

    I am very much scared by the 2013-2017 influx of candidates. Let's assume nobody gets in between now and 2017 (Which won't happen, of course). Here's the list, with Mattingly, Trammell, Smith, Murphy, and Morris off, and doesn't include one and dones Brown, Cone, Saberhagen, Appier, Clark, Belle, Olerud, Galarraga, Ventura, Hershiser (those two might have been two and dones), Baines (3 and done or did he last longer?):
    Barry Larkin
    Edgar Martinez
    Fred McGriff
    Mark McGwire
    Rafael Palmeiro
    Juan Gonzalez
    Larry Walker
    Jeff Bagwell
    Tim Raines
    Bernie Williams
    Curt Schilling
    Kenny Lofton
    Sammy Sosa
    Mike Piazza
    Roger Clemens
    Barry Bonds
    David Wells
    Craig Biggio
    Kenny Rogers
    Tom Glavine
    Frank Thomas
    Jeff Kent
    Mike Mussina
    Moises Alou
    John Smoltz
    Pedro Martinez
    Nomar Garciaparra
    Billy Wagner
    Trevor Hoffman
    Ken Griffey Jr.
    Gary Sheffield
    Randy Johnson
    Jim Edmonds
    Andy Pettitte
    Jamie Moyer
    Let's say Andruw Jones, Jorge Posada and Jim Thome retire after 2011, which is quite possible on all three accounts, especially Jorge. Add them and Manny Ramirez in 2017. Now go vote for 10 of these players. And only 10. That is a major problem..

  9. Anthony Says:

    Steve @ 79 dunno if this has been addressed but McGwire hit 58 and only scored 86 times...

  10. Adam Says:

    @ 108 In my opinion there are only about 6 HoFers on that list, with about 2 or 3 borderline players. Adding in Thome and Jones would only put it up to 8.

  11. jr Says:


    How could you leave Greg Maddux off that list?

    The guys on your list who should be HOF'ers are:

    Maddux, Smoltz, Glavine, Thomas, Bagwell, Pedro, Kent, Mussina, Schilling, Biggio, Piazza, Griffey, Larkin and Johnson.

    I have 14. Not sure @110 who his 6 would be

    Your borderlines are:

    Walker, E, Martinez, Hoffman, McGriff

  12. SocraticGadfly Says:

    @108. Larkin gets in next year. He won't be on the 2013 list. Raines, probably. Bags, possibly.

    @111 Schilling is also borderline, as is Smoltz. Schilling's not a likely first-year candidate and Smoltz definitely isn't.

  13. Andy Says:

    I find the Schilling and Smoltz comments here somewhat surprising. They have pretty similar numbers but Smoltz has an overall more impressive career thanks to his dominance as a starter and a closer and his post-season success. I see Smoltz as an early-ballot HOFer--within his first 5, and Schilling as a late-to-never guy.

  14. Matt Y Says:

    @ 110, what is your list?, because as I see it, at least 8-9 are locks at getting in the Hall. You must be a very, very, very small hall guy. 50-60 guys is about the size of your Hall.

    locks are:

    add Maddux

    and several others that are very very likely to get in (I would agree pretty easily with all of them except Bagwell b/c of potential steroid issues, and Martinez for being a 80% lifer DH--still on fence with Raines, but he probably should go in):

    Kent (he's a jerk, but still will get in IMO)
    Bagwell (steroid issue perhaps)

    and many more that are clearly borderliners for number of different reasons (not sure if I would vote for any of these guys--steroids is still an evolving issue regarding how to vote) :

    Piazza (steroids?)
    other steroid users on list

    ....and, Maddux was left off list and he's an automatic.

    Either way, we can quibble over a few here and there (i.e Hoffman, Thomas) but as the Hall is currently constructed, there's 13-15 of these players that will fairly easily get in....and, rightfully so!

  15. Matt Y Says:

    Andy, if Smoltz and Schilling had "pretty similar careers, then how is Smoltz an early in guy (first 5 years), and Schilling is a late never guy? That's a huge difference to me, and didn't these guys Poll about the same(~75%)?..are you banking on Schilling's big mouth hurting him that much? They both had great post season careers. I see Smoltz going in in years 4-6, and Schilling 6-10. I would actually give Schilling the slight nod for in season numbers as a starter) and post season numbers (3 chips vs 1 too). Yes, Smoltz save numbers mean alot, but still, overall, Smoltz get in a few years before Schilling unless big mouth aspect hurts Schilling alot. Schilling has bloody sock thing too.

  16. Matt Y Says:

    Of the three that generally get compared to one another, I see Smoltz going in years 3-5, Schilling years 6-10, and Mussina years 8-13.

  17. Matt Y Says:

    As much I think Hoffman will have to wait a good number of years, I still see him as a lock getting in somewhere between years 5-10. Yes, the save has issues as a stat, and yes, relievers are hard to gauge and bit enigmatic, but still, 601 save is 601 saves.

  18. Matt Y Says:

    If steroids are not an issue at all, then Bagwell and Piazza are locks too. Both seem to have swirling rumors surrounding them. I could certainly buy it that both were users. If nothing more comes out to tie them to steroids, I'd vote both in.

  19. Anthony Says:

    I'd vote for:
    Barry Larkin
    Edgar Martinez
    Mark McGwire
    Larry Walker
    Jeff Bagwell
    Tim Raines
    Curt Schilling
    Kenny Lofton
    Mike Piazza
    Roger Clemens
    Barry Bonds
    Craig Biggio
    Tom Glavine
    Frank Thomas
    Jeff Kent
    Mike Mussina
    John Smoltz
    Pedro Martinez
    Billy Wagner
    Trevor Hoffman
    Ken Griffey Jr.
    Gary Sheffield
    Randy Johnson
    Jim Edmonds
    Jim Thome
    Andruw Jones
    Manny Ramirez
    Greg Maddux

  20. Matt Y Says:

    Anthony --now that's a great example of a very, very large Hall. 🙂

  21. Johnny Twisto Says:

    I find the Schilling and Smoltz comments here somewhat surprising. They have pretty similar numbers but Smoltz has an overall more impressive career thanks to his dominance as a starter and a closer and his post-season success.

    Based on this comment, I'm not sure where you're seeing the difference. Schilling was a dominant SP who could have won a couple CYA if not for his teammate. He was one of the great post-season performers. The difference you seem to be identifying is Smoltz's closing gig, and I can't see why that would give him an advantage. (Schilling shouldn't have had to prove he was capable of closing -- obviously he was, if his team had ever needed it.)