As you all probably know by now, Chipper Jones is retiring. The face of the franchise for almost 2 decades now, is about to experience his final season. Most of you have probably had a long happy journey with Chipper, but not me.
If you don’t know I am 17 years old. I was too young to remember when Chipper started playing with the Braves (as well as the most dominant rotation in the history of baseball) and so when I first started getting interested in the Braves I didn’t think Chipper was as good as everyone said he was. Before I had fallen in love with the team I even disliked Chipper because of his constant injuries, and the fact that all the people who followed baseball in North Carolina were Chipper fans and all the kids in little league fought over number 10.
I started following the team around 2004 or 2005, I’m not sure exactly when. I do know that I grew up watching the team just as the division streak wore off and when Chipper started to get injured all the time.
Back then I can remember writing my first post on Chipper Jones on some lonely MLBlog site. I was trying to convince Braves nation that it would be a good idea to trade Chipper Jones, so we could get something out of him while he was still ‘decent’. Looking back, it was probably a good thing that no one read that blog. I obviously had no clue what was going on.
Now however, I have gotten a bit smarter (I hope) and I realize how great a player Chipper Jones is and has been throughout his career. Growing up in an era where players constantly go to the team who offers the biggest check, I have great respect for Chipper. One of the best switch hitters of all time, the best plate discipline and eye in the game, and arguably the best Brave of all time.
I am not saying he definitely is. There are plenty of great Braves. Hank Aaron, Dale Murphey, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Steve Avery, and a ton more. But there is definitely a case for Chipper Jones to be dubbed the best Brave.
So here is to hoping Chipper can end his Hall of Fame career with a second ring. A ring he has been chasing for his entire career after getting a taste his rookie season, when he helped lead the team to a World Series. As my uncle would say, Here’s to Larry Wayne Jones.