Andruw hits two milestones with homer
Braves center fielder belts No. 50 of 2005, No. 300 of career
PHILADELPHIA -- Now that Andruw Jones has set almost every achievable franchise record and reached two special milestones, he can spend the final weeks of the season simply building his resume in the hopes that a National League MVP Award is in his future.
With his 434-foot eighth-inning solo homer in the Braves' 12-4 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on Wednesday night, Jones upped his Major League-leading home run total to 50 and became just the 12th player in Major League history to reach the 300-homer milestone before his 30th birthday.
Jones joins Hall of Famers Jimmie Foxx, Mickey Mantle, Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Mel Ott, Frank Robinson and Harmon Killebrew, and current players Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey Jr., Juan Gonzalez and Vladimir Guerrero in the exclusive club.
"It's a good accomplishment," Jones said. "A lot of people didn't get a chance at that young age to hit 300 home runs. It's a good feeling. But I wish I could have hit it when we won. My goal is to win. Stats are stats."
When told that Jones' memorable homer, which landed in the second level of seats in left field, was estimated at just 434 feet, Braves manager Bobby Cox said, "That's all? How about 534 feet?"
"I enjoyed watching that one," Phillies manager Charlie Manuel said. "If [reliever Geoff Geary's] going to give one up, that's the way I like to see him give one up. That was worth following. It wasn't how far was it going to go, it was what was it going to tear up when it landed."
Jones, who celebrated his 28th birthday in April, has had a rather memorable week. During his ninth two-homer performance of the season on Sunday, he broke the franchise record for home runs in a season. The mark had been shared by Mathews and Aaron.
Mathews and Aaron both reached the 300-homer milestone before their 30th birthdays. But by 42 days, Jones surpasses Mathews as the youngest Brave to accomplish the impressive feat.
Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez's 409 homers before the age of 30 stand as the most in Major League history.
"It's a good thing," Jones said. "A lot of people don't get a chance to hit that many home runs. On the other side, I really don't enjoy it that much because with the loss, I was telling everybody that I wish I could have hit a home run when we were winning."
Heading into this year, Jones' season-high home run total was 36, which he posted in 2000 and '03. His chase toward this record-setting season began on June 11, with a two-homer performance against Oakland. That began a streak in which he's belted 38 home runs in a span of 86 games.
Jones becomes the first Major Leaguer to reach the 50-homer mark since Jim Thome, then with the Indians, and Rodriguez, as a member of the Rangers, did it in 2002. The last NL player to hit 50 home runs was Barry Bonds in his record-setting 73-homer 2001 season.
With a National League-leading 125 RBIs, Jones is on pace to record 139 RBIs this year. Gary Sheffield set the Atlanta record with 132 RBIs in 2002. Mathews' 135 RBIs in 1953 are the most hit by a member of the Braves franchise since 1900.
Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.