Larry Jones isn’t so Chipper these days.
The guy at the not-so-hot corner for the Braves keeps talking about making next season his last if 2010 turns out to be as personally frustrating as 2009 has been.
“The game is not fun to me when I’m not playing up to my standards,” is how Chipper Jones puts it.
And this is what he’s talking about:
Jones is in danger of the biggest decline of any reigning batting champ in National League history (among batting-race qualifiers, to discount injury-caused drops).
His average of .269 entering tonight’s key game against the Phillies represents a drop of 95 points off his NL-leading .364 average of last season.
The “record” drop of 97 points belongs to the Cardinals’ Willie McGee, who led the NL with .353 in 1985 then slumped to .256 in 1986.
You might say that Willie’s average fell down an elevator shaft, but two decades earlier Norm Cash had gone for the full ride in that elevator.
Up: Cash, a slugging Detroit first baseman, jacked his average by 75 points to take the 1961 title at .361.
Down: In 1962, Cash hit .243. That 118-point drop is the Major League record for defending batting champs.