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Andruw Jones

Andruw Rudolf Jones [pronounced An-drew] (born April 23, 1977, in Willemstad, Curaçao, in the Netherlands Antilles) is an outfielder for the Atlanta Braves. He has collected nine consecutive Gold Glove Awards, a Silver Slugger Award, and a Hank Aaron Award.
Jones became the Braves' everyday right fielder in 1997, but he posted a disappointing .231 average. Andruw moved to center field in 1998 and had a much more encouraging season. His average improved to .271, he belted 31 homers, and he stole 27 bases. He also won his first of nine straight Gold Glove Awards. Whether he was in the batter's box or gliding under a fly ball to make a casual basket catch, Jones played the game in a very relaxed manner. This temporarily earned him the ire of manager Bobby Cox in June 1998 in an oft-forgotten incident when Cox pulled Jones out of a game because he felt Andruw had lazily allowed a single to drop in center field.
Still only 22 years-old, Jones had similar numbers in 1999, and though he was a dependable (he played all 162 games that season) and good player, many began to wonder if or when he would live up to the potential that they believed he possessed. He had a mini-breakout season in 2000 with career highs in average (.303), homers (36), and RBI (104). He also earned his first All-Star appearance. However, in 2001 his average fell and his strikeouts went up. Plus, by now, Jones had gained nearly 30 pounds since reaching the majors, greatly diminishing his speed on the basepaths (he would not steal more than 11 bases after 2001). He maintained similar numbers in 2002, but was still playing superb defense. In 2003, with power-hitting Gary Sheffield in the lineup, Jones set a new career high in RBI (116). Unfortunately, he took a step backward in 2004 when he hit less than 30 homers and struck out a whopping 147 times.
Although Andruw had developed into an outstanding center fielder and a solid offensive player, the general feeling shared by many fans and critics was that Jones had not lived up to the superstar expectations that had been pinned on him ten years before. Prior to the 2005 season, Jones increased his workout regimen and, following advice given by Hall of Famer Willie Mays, widened his batting stance. The result was Andruw's most productive offensive season ever. Jones hit a major league leading 51 home runs, surpassing Hank Aaron's and Eddie Mathews' single-season club record. He also led the National League with a career-high 128 RBI. He finished just behind St. Louis Cardinals' first baseman Albert Pujols in the 2005 NL MVP vote.
Jones played for the Netherlands in the 2006 World Baseball Classic, going 0-6 with two walks in 8 plate appearances. Jones continued to dominate opposing pitchers in 2006, finishing the season with 41 home runs and 129 RBI. Jones also became more selective at the plate (82 walks, as compared to 64 the prior season), which helped him score 107 runs during 2006, an increase of 12 over the prior year and his most in a single season since 2000. Jones remained the premier defensive center fielder in the National League, winning his ninth consecutive Gold Glove award.

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