2012 season will be Chipper's last

Longtime Brave to call it a career

AP
Chipper Jones during spring training game
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ATLANTA — Flanked by his family, his former manager and a group of teammates he hates to leave behind, Chipper Jones choked up a bit and delivered the news that’s been looming for years:

Third baseman Chipper Jones planned to retire after the 2010 season, only to change his mind. He says he's certain this time.  PAUL SANCYA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
PAUL SANCYA/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Third baseman Chipper Jones planned to retire after the 2010 season, only to change his mind. He says he's certain this time.

It’s time to call it a career.

This time, he means it.

With his 40th birthday approaching and a long string of injuries slowing him down, Jones announced Thursday he will retire after one more season as the Atlanta Braves’ third baseman.

“I have fulfilled everything,” Jones said during a news conference at the team’s spring training stadium in Kissimmee, Fla. “There’s nothing left for me to do.”

Jones, who has spent his entire 18-year career with Atlanta, actually planned to retire after the 2010 season, only to change his mind. As he battled leg issues this spring, he openly wondered if he’d be able to make it through the season.

So, he’ll give it one more year with the Braves, then become a full-time dad to his three children.

“I just want to make it final,” Jones said.

He praised the Braves organization, calling Bobby Cox “the greatest manager any of us will ever know,” thanked team executives John Schuerholz and Frank Wren for building a perennial winner and fought back tears as he turned to his teammates.

“I’ve been thinking about this and the reason I stayed around is you guys,” Jones said. “I played on teams where clubhouse cohesion wasn’t there. That never happened with you guys.”

Around baseball, Jones was praised for this long, consistent career, which included the NL MVP award in 1999, an NL batting title in 2008, seven All-Star games – and, quite possibly, will include an induction ceremony at Cooperstown.

Even fans of the rival New York Mets, who were continually battered by Jones as crowds in the Big Apple tried to rattle him by chanting his actual name (“Larry! Larry! Larry” was a familiar chant at old Shea Stadium), offered up nothing but respect.

Jones already reciprocated by naming one of his children Shea.

Mets third baseman David Wright grew up wanting to be like Jones, which didn’t change after they both wound up in the big leagues.

“He’s been one of those guys where I always looked across and tried to take away some of the things from his game and apply it to mine,” Wright said.

“He’s been so consistent, so good for so long and been part of a lot of great times. It’s going be a little odd looking across there and not seeing Chipper in uniform, that’s for sure.”

He should be a first-ballot Hall of Fame selection, according to Cox, who attended the news conference with the only other manager Jones will have in his big league career, current Braves skipper Fredi Gonzalez.

Schuerholz, the former general manager and now team president, and Wren are the only GMs of the Jones era.

Stability meant a lot to the third baseman, who never seriously considered leaving the Braves.

“To have two top executives and only two managers at one table after all these years says a lot about this organization,” Jones said. “There have been times when I could have gone into free agency to see if the grass is greener, but it never was.”

END OF AN ERA

Third baseman Chipper Jones is the last member of the Atlanta Braves that won 14 consecutive division titles. The NL MVP in 1999 and seven-time All Star announced Thursday he will retire at the conclusion of the season.

YEAR G H HR RBI AVG

1995 140 139 23 86 .265

1996 157 185 30 110 .309

1997 157 176 21 111 .295

1998 160 188 34 107 .313

1999 157 181 45 110 .319

2000 156 180 36 111 .311

2001 159 189 38 102 .330

2002 158 179 26 100 .327

2003 153 169 27 106 .305

2004 137 117 30 96 .248

2005 109 106 21 72 .296

2006 110 133 26 86 .324

2007 134 173 29 102 .337

2008 128 160 22 75 .364

2009 143 129 18 71 .264

2010 95 84 10 46 .265

2011 126 125 18 70 .275

Totals* 2,387 2,615 454 1,561 .304

* also includes eight games in 1993

Source: www.baseball-reference.com.

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RogueKnight
201
Points
RogueKnight 03/22/12 - 11:00 am
2
0

Man, what a career. I've

Man, what a career. I've always enjoyed Chipper as a player, and I'm grateful that he was able to spend his entire career in ATL with the Braves. Thanks for the memories, Chipper. Here's to a great final season.

countyman
16787
Points
countyman 03/22/12 - 12:32 pm
0
1

Great career, but should have

Great career, but should have retire around 2008/2009..

etlinks
15863
Points
etlinks 03/22/12 - 02:02 pm
0
0

Good.

Good.

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