SAN DIEGO -- There are a lot of similarities between Braves' switch-hitting third baseman Chipper Jones and the Padres' version, Chase Headley. But when asked to reflect on the Hall-of-Fame career in the midst of Chipper's last series at Petco Park, Headley said the part of Jones's game he'd be most proud to emulate is durability.
"He's done it for 20 years, it's unbelievable, it doesn't even make sense," Headley said of Jones, who's played 2,471 games entering Tuesday night. "I think to be successful and to be a really good player in this league you need to be counted on to be in there just about every day. And I think that's something that's maybe not as common as it used to be. ... There's not many of those guys left."
But since settling in as the Padres' starting third baseman in June 2008, Headley has certainly shown Jones-like durability. He played in every one of the Padres' remaining 91 games after being called up on June 17 of that 2008 season, and played in 156 games the following year. Headley played in 161 games in 2010, and his 554 plate appearances coming into Tuesday night are in the top 10 in the Majors.
"I think that's something I take pride in, being ready to play as much as you can every day," Headley said. "I know that I try to prepare myself and work extremely hard not only during the season but in the offseason."
Headley, a shortstop prior to his collegiate career at Tennessee, says that like Jones, a player whom he has great respect for is Cal Ripken, who played in a record 2,632 straight games over 17 seasons.
"He was my favorite growing up," Headley said. "... That streak, as a modern-day player, its almost unfathomable to think about how you can play that many games in a row,"