The 8 Best Moments of Chipper Jones' Career with the Atlanta Braves
While wearing the Braves uniform Jones has been able to do so many things of significance.
He will surely be a Hall of Famer by the time his career ends and will go down as one of the greatest players ever to play in the Braves organization.
So with his career coming to a close after the 2012 MLB season, let's take a look at the eight best moments of Chipper Jones' career with the Atlanta Braves.
8. Getting Drafted
It is the official beginning of a players career and although they still have a lot of work to break into the big leagues, it is always a great accomplishment. At this moment, all the dreams they had growing up playing baseball now seem like reality.
"That was a day I will never forget, and one which marked the accomplishment of a personal goal for me. What an incredible honor. To be chosen as the first player in the nation to play the game that I love was a dream come true for me. Bobby Cox was the General Manager at the time, and I suppose I owe him a heartfelt "thanks" for making me a Brave that day."
Finally having your dream come true makes being drafted a very special moment for every player. For Chipper Jones it also became one of his greatest moments for the Atlanta Braves once everyone finally got to see the player he was going to turn out to be.
7. First Career Game
It took Chipper Jones a little longer than planned to finally suit up in a Braves uniform, but it was well worth the wait.
Two seasons removed from his draft year, Jones finally made his MLB debut late in September of 1993. He only got three at-bats to finish off his short time with the Braves but was able to come up with two hits and a double. Unfortunately, Jones injured his ACL and missed the entire 1994 season. Meaning, Braves fans had to wait another year until their top prospect finally stuck around.
Those first few games Jones played were able to show glimpses as too why the Braves drafted him so high. They allowed Jones to get his feet wet in the big leagues and made him ready to burst on to the scene when he came back from injury for the 1995 season. Ever since then he has never looked back.
6. His First Home Run
Even though Chipper Jones has been able to hit 464 home runs thus far in his career, there is no doubt that his first will be one that is highly regarded. How could it not be?
It was May 9th, 1995 and the Atlanta Braves were the visiting team to the New York Mets, at Shea Stadium nonetheless. It was tied going into the ninth inning and Jones was able to hit a game-winning home run. What else would you expect from the future Hall of Famer?
Shea Stadium became one of Jones' favorite parks to play in, particularly because of his hitting prowess at that field. He even named his son Shea, after the ballpark.
According to Tim Brown of Yahoo Sports! Jones is rather found of that first dinger. When Jones was asked what at-bat he would like to live forever, the response was, "My first career home run. Shea Stadium."
5. Rookie of the Year
Although baseball is a team sport, the individual accomplishments of a player can define their career and make them legends.
Chipper Jones was lucky enough to have been the recipient of the Rookie Player of the Year award presented by the Sporting News in 1995. He was also named the Player's Choice Outstanding Rookie of the Year.
Jones finished the 1995 season with a .265 average, 23 HR and 83 RBI. It was just a glimpse of the numbers that Jones was going to put up in his prime, and also were numbers that deserved the recognition he received.
Being able to win two awards for Rookie of the Year shows how big of an impact Jones had on the Braves right away. People knew he was going to be a very special player after only one full year in the league. Not too many players can create that type of hype.
4. All-Star Games
Making it into the MLB All-Star Game is an accomplishment in its own right, but participating for your seventh time during your last season in the big leagues is very impressive. Add to the fact that Jones is now 40 years old and still able to be considered an All-Star is remarkable.
Although Jones was able to have many special moments at previous All-Star games, such as the 2000 edition at Turner Field where he went three-for-three with a home run, this year's was extra special. The recognition he was given by the crowd was amazing and he was able to finish his last All-Star game with a base hit.
Having made so many appearances throughout his career at the All-Star game just goes to show the type of player Jones is. However, this last one in 2012 has to be one of the best moments of Chipper Jones' career with the Atlanta Braves. Most certainly anyways, a perfect way to end it.
3. N.L. MVP
Just like the Rookie of the Year award Chipper Jones was able to win, the National League MVP is also a big solo accomplishment. It means that you are considered the best player in your league, and potentially could mean being the best player in all of baseball for that year.
The Associated Press (Via Sports Illustrated) reported Chipper Jones saying the following, after his MVP win in 1999.
"It's awfully hard to believe," Jones said. "To have this in your corner, to always be able to say you won an MVP, is a tremendous honor."
Jones is able to hit the nail on the head when he says that winning the MVP is a tremendous honor. This award is something that Jones will always be able to hang on to, even when he leaves the game, and will allow him to remember that he was one of the best to ever play.
2. Atlanta Braves Records
When you are able to pass any record that was previously held by Braves great Dale Murphy, it automatically has to be considered one of the greatest moments of your career.
Chipper Jones was able to do just that when he hit his 372nd home run against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the 2007 season. Jones did not just hit one in the game however, but rather two, to become the Atlanta Braves all-time leader in home runs.
Jones was also able to pass the legendary Hank Aaron as the organizations leader in hits. Although Aaron only can count part of his career total towards the Atlanta Braves' record, it is still a feat by Jones to be able to do so.
Any time you are able to change the record book for the team you play on has to be a great moment.
1. World Series Ring
Being able to win the World Series is the ultimate prize in baseball. It is the accumulation of so much time and effort put in throughout your whole career. Lucky enough for Chipper Jones he was able to win one, when many players do not get that chance.
Former Braves president and general manager, John Schuerholz, had this to say about Jones, according to Tyler Kepner of the New York Times:
"He has had the true heart of a Brave in him," Schuerholz said. "He didn't just talk it. He lives it. He demonstrated it, he believed it, and that's what he wanted to be. He could have planned to leave and go elsewhere. He didn't. He never wanted to."
It goes to show you the impact he had on the Braves organization as a whole. He was able to help bring them a World Series, and also lead them to many more close calls. The Braves were his team and never will he stray from that way of thinking.