Jones joins Braves reunion in Cooperstown
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And in 2000, Sparky Anderson and Tony Pérez of Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine of the 1970s earned Hall of Fame election, joined on stage in Cooperstown by Johnny Bench and Joe Morgan.
With the election of Chipper Jones as part of the Class of 2018, six members of the 1990s Atlanta Braves are expected to return for Hall of Fame Weekend. Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz – the mound trio that powered those championship clubs – will be joined by their manager, Bobby Cox, and general manager, John Schuerholz, for a celebration of a team that won an unprecedented 14 straight division titles.
“I can’t tell you what a pleasure it was to play behind those three pitchers (Greg Maddux, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine). It was a pleasure to come to work knowing we had an opportunity to win each and every night they took the mound,” Jones said. “I’m grateful to John Schuerholz and Bobby Cox every year for giving us a chance coming into Spring Training to achieve our ultimate goal.
“For us to have our own little fraternity up there in a little piece of heaven in Cooperstown, New York, is something we should be very proud of because we did an awful lot of winning during the ‘90s and early 2000s down here in Atlanta.”
For Glavine, there’s no better place to celebrate than Cooperstown.
“We were able to win consistently because we had a good core of players that stayed together for a long time,” said Glavine, whose 305 career victories rank fourth on the all-time list among left-handers. “We always had a strong starting rotation anchored for years by three eventual Hall of Famers. But the organization also did a great job of developing players that came through our minor league system and eventually played major roles at the big league level.
“It's still hard to believe sometimes that we are in the Hall of Fame. For us to all end up in the Hall is so special.”
Glavine was the winning pitcher when those Braves teams wrapped up their World Series win, holding the Cleveland Indians to one hit over eight shutout innings in Game 6 of the 1995 Fall Classic. Glavine was named the World Series MVP, but it was Maddux – who would claim his fourth straight National League Cy Young Award that fall – who was considered the staff ace.
“Our confidence level was very high during those years,” said Maddux, who along with Glavine and Cox was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2014. “Even in Spring Training, we expected to go to the postseason. We might have a week here and there where we wouldn’t play good, but we knew after 162 games that we were going to win.”
And win they did. From 1991-2005, the Braves advanced to four World Series, qualified for the Postseason in every non-strike year and fielding six teams that totaled at least 100 victories.