I found myself glued to the television Friday night as I watched what would be Chipper Jones‘ final career at bat. In typical baseball fashion, Jones stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. He reached base on broken bat single, and eventually made his way to third on a ground rule double.
But ultimately the Atlanta Braves lost the game, and a storybook ending was not to be.
So now that it’s all over, how will people remember Chipper Jones?
There’s no doubt he’s a Hall of Famer. Jones ranks first in National League history with the most career home runs as a switch hitter (468). He’s 32nd on the all-time home run list, and 3rd on the all-time switch hit home run list behind only Eddie Murray and Mickey Mantle. He won the NL MVP in 1999, he’s a career .303 hitter, and an 8-time all-star.
I will remember Chipper Jones as one of the most consistent players of all-time. He’s an old school guy that played his entire 19-year career for one team, at one position.
At first I was not a Chipper fan. As a lifelong Chicago Cubs mark, I did not grow up rooting for the Braves. Most of the time I remember rooting against them, mainly for being a juggernaut team that bullied teams with smaller payrolls. The Braves were the New York Yankees of the NL for many years.
But as the years went by and my favorite players started to retire, I began to notice Chipper Jones a little more. Year after year, he was always there. You knew who was playing third base for the Braves, it was just something you took for granted.
Chipper was a guy that I always respected, but it took me awhile to like him.
Now as I sit here today, one of my favorite baseball players is retired. Jones is a rarity in this day and age, hardly anyone plays 19 years for one team anymore. Jones is right there with Derek Jeter and Cal Ripken in that department.
Jones recently stated that he just wants to be remembered as guy who above all else, could really play some ball.
I think it’s hard to disagree that he was one of the best in the game for many years, and I will truly miss seeing him out there.