The Chipper Jones Interview (Part 1)
Photo courtesy of Pouya Dianat
Chipper Jones will go down as one of the greatest third basemen to ever play the game of Major League Baseball, if not the greatest. His time in the game has been highly publicized, but nothing has been as crazy as his final season in the big leagues as the future Hall-of-Famer prepares to exit the only profession he has ever known. The stats don’t lie for Jones, however it is Chipper the man that has been lovingly embraced by the Atlanta Braves family over two decades of brilliance.
“I’m very proud that for 23 years, I’ve donned one uniform — the red, white and blue of the Atlanta Braves,” said Jones.
For his career, the eight-time All-Star has seen his share of change within the organization. As a new crop of young Braves begin their respective MLB journey’s, Jones is there for guidance and wisdom. He understands the ups and downs of the business and has been around it long enough to help out the newcomers in Atlanta each season, such as Craig Kimbrel, Jason Heyward, Tommy Hanson and Freddie Freeman to name a few. Chipper helped create Braves Country and is the face of a franchise that won 14 straight division titles in the 90’s and early 2000’s.
“I often admired, when I was coming up, guys like Cal Ripken and Tony Gwynn, who were able to work with their organization so that they could stay in one place,” Jones said. “They knew how important it was to stay in one place and be the face of the franchise. While I don’t consider myself to be in their realm, I’m awfully proud to say I’ve been a part of this organization for so long.”
Jones has a career batting average of .304, alongside 2,695 hits, 464 career home runs, 1,610 RBI, 1,603 runs scored, 544 doubles, 150 stolen bases and an extrordinary 1,489 walks to just 1,390 walks. Not to mention, countless all-star appearances, 14 straight playoff appearances, two Silver Sluggers (99-00), the 1999 National League MVP award and a World Series Title in 1995.
Photo courtesy of Pouya Dianat
“I look at the numbers as me just going out to do my job,” said Jones. “That’s the way I’ve always approached it. I’ve never really thought about my place or anything like that. But when you grew up hearing about Mickey the way I did and with the reverence that I did from my father, to pass him in career RBIs is quite a feat.”
Chipper Jones was the No. 1 overall selection the 1990 MLB Amateur Draft by the Braves and was ranked the No. 1 prospect in minor league baseball during the 1993 season before he spent all of his time with the Triple-A affiliate of the Braves in Richmond. In 93, Jones hit .325 for the R-Braves, alongside 97 runs scored, 174 hits, 31 doubles, 12 triples, 13 home runs, 89 RBI, 23 stolen bases and 57 walks earned in the International League. His time in Triple-A was short-lived, but the numbers and memories that he registered that season will never be forgotten. Following his dominant 1993 season in the IL, Jones was promoted to Atlanta where he spent his 1994 Rookie year.
Obviously, most players begin to slow down near the end of their career, especially in their final season. Jones has made a mockery of that notion, seemingly getting better with age like fine wine. Chipper was already named a 2012 all-star, alongside being the captain and unquestioned leader of a potential playoff contending Braves team (66-49).
Stay glued to The G-Blog in the coming days for the second part of The Chipper Jones Interview.
By: Tony Piraro