Hank Aaron Is Tired of Bobby Cox Taking All the Credit for Drafting Chipper Jones

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Hank Aaron

This is interesting (and completely random), but Hank Aaron is upset that Bobby Cox likes to take all the credit for drafting Chipper Jones with the first overall pick in 1990. How upset? So much so that he apparently called Terence Moore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution out the blue to set the record straight:

"I was listening to something [last week] on television where Bobby was talking about how, when Chipper came to the team, he took him aside to tell him what we did to get him here, and I was stunned, really," said Aaron, before recalling a conversation he had with Braves officials in 1990 when they owned the No. 1 pick before that June draft. By the time of the draft, Aaron had been promoted to senior vice president.

Said Aaron, with a sigh, "I told Bobby. I told them all, and I told them, 'Y'all better go and get Chipper Jones.' "

At the time, Cox served as GM in addition to manager, and Aaron served as farm director before being promoted to senior vice president. As Aaron tells it, Cox was dead set on taking Todd Van Poppel until Aaron spoke with Van Poppel's father and discovered he'd be difficult to sign.

He mentioned how Van Poppel was taken 13 picks after Jones, played for six teams and retired with a 40-52 record and 5.58 ERA. "The kid never did anything, and that's who Bobby wanted," Aaron said. "But every time you listen, it's always like, 'Oh, yeah. We always wanted to sign Chipper Jones.' The only reason they didn't take Van Poppel was because of what I told them about what his daddy told me."

Moore asked Cox for his reaction to Aaron's version of events, and while Cox didn't say which player was his top choice, he did confirm that signability concerns prevented the team from considering Van Poppel despite favorable reports from scouts.

Either way, I'm curious about Aaron's motivations. He always handles himself with such class, but going out of his way to clarify his role in the decision seems kind of petty. Maybe Van Poppel was Cox's first choice, but considering Cox was the GM, it's not like he didn't eventually sign off on taking Chipper. What does bringing up this old beef accomplish?

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