Jones name powerful in Georgia

September 24, 2012 

Keeping up with the Joneses has never been easier with the success that players with that surname have accomplished for Georgia sports teams this year.

Let’s start with Chipper, who is playing his 19th and final season as a member of the Braves. What a year it has been for the Atlanta third baseman. He has been hitting around the .300 mark for most of the year and will finish his career with a batting average in excess of that number. The highlight of his swan song season had to be the walk-off, three-run homer he had against Philadelphia on Sept. 2 when the Braves overcame a six-run deficit with seven runs in the bottom of the ninth for an 8-7 win.

It looks as if Atlanta will make the playoffs as a wild-card team, and it’s only fitting for the Braves to make the postseason to see how far they can extend Chipper’s career.

How about Jarvis Jones, the Georgia linebacker who might be the best defensive player in the nation with his name already being mentioned in the Heisman Trophy conversation? The Carver-Columbus product was a first-team All-American selection as a sophomore after transferring from Southern Cal, and already this season he has been named the national defensive player of the week for his performance in the Dogs’ win over Missouri. In that game, he recorded two sacks, two forced fumbles and had a pass interception. After sitting out the Florida Atlantic game with a groin injury, he had a solid performance in the big win over Vanderbilt, with seven tackles -- including three for losses and a sack.

Dogs fans better enjoy him this year, because he will most likely bypass his senior season and head to the NFL. ESPN analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay have him projected as the top overall pick in April’s NFL draft. He would become the fourth Georgia player to go No. 1. Frankie Sinkwich was the first pick by Detroit in 1943, Charley Trippi by the Chicago Cardinals 1945 and Matthew Stafford by Detroit in 2009.

Alabama transplant Julio Jones is making his mark with the Atlanta Falcons. He has been one of Matt Ryan’s favorite targets in the Birds’ 3-0 start. In the season opener at Kansas City, he had six catches for 108 yards, and in Sunday’s win at San Diego he caught five passes for 67 yards. For the season, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound receiver has 15 catches for 189 yards and three touchdowns.

I’m of the opinion that the all-time greatest Jones from Georgia is the legendary golfer Bobby Jones, who is best known for winning the Grand Slam in 1930. At the time, the Grand Slam included the U.S. Open, the British Open, the U.S. Amateur and the British Amateur. He won the U.S. Open four times (1923, 1926, 1929 and 1930), the British Open in 1926, 1929 and 1930, the U.S. Amateur in 1924, 1925, 1927, 1928 and 1930, and the British Amateur in 1930. He dominated the links between 1923 and 1930, when he retired from competitive golf at age 28.

Jones later founded and helped design the Augusta National Golf Club in 1933 and, a year later, he and Clifford Roberts co-founded the Masters. Jones has a Macon connection in that his father, B.T. Jones Sr., attended Mercer and was a member of the Bears’ baseball team.

Even while the Ryder Cup started during his heyday, he never played in that competition as he remained an amateur his entire career. The Ryder Cup, featuring professionals from the United States and Europe, will be contested again at Medinah in Illinois this week, starting on Friday and running through Sunday.

Where did the phrase “Keeping up with the Joneses” originate? It was actually a comic strip created by cartoonist Arthur R. “Pop” Momad back in 1913 and ran in American newspapers for 26 years. The Joneses were neighbors of the strip’s main characters and while mentioned often, they never were seen in person.

Contact Bobby Pope at bobbypope428@gmail.com

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