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Chipper Jones: Power Ranking the Greatest Moments of His Career

Daniel KockContributor IIINovember 25, 2016

Chipper Jones: Power Ranking the Greatest Moments of His Career

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    For the first time in over 15 years, Chipper Jones will not be the starting third baseman for the Atlanta Braves on Opening Day.

    The Braves are notorious for making plenty of offseason moves and trades, but one thing was certain: who would be the starting third baseman.

    Chipper's career ended in a 6-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in the Wild Card Round.

    That sour ending will not tarnish the many great moments and lasting memories Chipper provided Braves fans over the years.

    Before the offseason gets into full swing, it's time to look back one last time at some of the best moments of Chipper's Hall of Fame career.

10. Final Walk-Off

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    The countdown begins with a recent "mammo" moment.

    The Braves were coming off a 2011 season in which they choked away a playoff berth. As the calendar turned to September, Atlanta found themselves losing eight of 11 games, including three straight.

    They trailed the Philadelphia Phillies 7-3 heading into the ninth inning, and Braves fans could only help remembering the 2011 collapse.

    However, Chipper would not let the same thing happen in 2012.

    The Braves managed to rally and cut the lead to 7-5 as Chipper came to the plate with two on and two out.

    Chipper saw a few pitches from closer Jonathan Papelbon and then mashed a three-run no-doubt shot into the right field stands to send Turner Field into a frenzy.

    The Braves won four of their next five games and gained confidence that this team would not have the same fate as the 2011 squad.

    It was a fitting moment for Jones in his final campaign and turned out to be the final home run of his career.

9. Big Apple Domination

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    Something about the New York Mets brought out the best of Chipper Jones.

    Chipper was a Mets killer throughout his career in the regular season and postseason and seemed to relish performing on the big stage.

    He finished his career against the Mets hitting .309 with 49 home runs, 159 RBI and a slugging percentage of .543.

    Chipper named his son Shea, and fans believe he did that after old Shea Stadium where he did most of his damage against the Mets.

    Jones dismisses that notion,but you can't dismiss the success he had in New York over the years. Mets fans would chant his given name "Larry" as he came to the plate, and Chipper would retaliate with a clutch hit more times than not.

    Both fans and Chipper will miss this rivalry when the Braves make their first appearance in New York next season.

8. First Career Hit

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    Chipper Jones was called up to the major leagues in September 1993 as a highly touted prospect.

    He made his debut against the San Diego Padres Sept. 11, but collected his first career hit against the Cincinnati Reds three days later.

    Chipper pinch-hit for shortstop Jeff Blauser and singled in his first career at-bat in front of the home crowd at Fulton County Stadium.

    The Braves defeated the Reds 10-3 that day in a game that marked the beginning of a historic career for their young third baseman.

    Little did the Braves organization or fans know just how special Chipper would become and all the accolades that would follow.

7. Home Run 400

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    Chipper Jones will go down as one of the best switch-hitters to play the game, as he's recorded many milestone hits.

    One of the biggest was his 400th career home run on June 5th, 2008.

    Jones was facing Florida Marlins pitcher Ricky Nolasco and laced a pitch into the right-field bleachers in the sixth inning to give the Braves a 7-5 lead.

    It was one of four hits for Chipper on the night and his batting average was north of .400 at the time.

    Chipper joined Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray as the only switch-hitters to reach the 400 home run mark. 

    It is especially significant company for him to be in as his idol was Mickey Mantle as a child.

6. Batting Title

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    Speaking of 2008, Chipper's 400th home run was not the only significant achievement that year.

    Chipper was a hitting machine in 2008 and wound up winning the National League batting title with an average of .364.

    He got off to a hot start and had two hitting streaks longer than 10 games in the first two months of the season.

    His average was .400 or higher until mid June.

    While he eventually cooled, he still had a tremendous year beating out Albert Pujols and Manny Ramirez for the batting title.

    At 36 years old, Chipper proved that he still had plenty to offer to the Braves.

5. Extra Base-Hit Record

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    One record that Chipper holds that is overlooked is his consecutive games with an extra-base hit.

    Chipper tied Paul Waner's record by hitting two home runs in a July 14, 2006 contest against the San Diego Padres.

    What makes the record more impressive is that Chipper had to wait to extend the streak because of the All-Star break.

    Although the Braves didn't play for several days, it did not slow down Chipper, who finished that year with a .324 average, 26 home runs and 86 RBI.

4. MVP

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    M-V-P! M-V-P!

    Arguably, Chipper's best overall year with the Atlanta Braves came in 1999 when he was named the National League MVP.

    His stats speak for themselves: .319 batting average, .441 on-base percentage, 45 home runs, 41 doubles, 110 RBI and 25 stolen bases.

    Voters awarded Chipper with the award for excelling in multiple facets of the game.

    He beat out Jeff Bagwell, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and others.

    This era of baseball is notoriously known for steroid use, and there is nothing to suggest Chipper ever used performance enhancers.

    In looking back at that season and era, his MVP season becomes even more impressive.

3. Playoff Walk-Off

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    Postseason play is where true superstars emerge.

    We're currently watching one of the best regular season players—Alex Rodriguez—getting benched and criticized because of his postseason play.

    Chipper had his fair share of big playoff hits, but a walk-off is even more special.

    The Braves were facing the Chicago Cubs in Game 2 of the 1998 NLDS.

    Chipper came to the plate in the bottom of the 10th with one out and runners on first and second.

    Chipper had struck out three times already in the game, but delivered when it mattered with a single off Terry Mulholland to give the Braves a 2-1 victory.

    The Braves would go on to win that series in Game 3 and advanced to the NLCS.

2. First Home Run

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    Chipper always had a knack for the dramatic and his first home run was no different.

    May 9, 1995, Chipper faced Mets pitcher Josias Manzanillo in the ninth inning in a 2-2 tie game.

    In his first full season, Chipper did not fold under the pressure and smacked the eventual game-winning home run.

    That moment was the true emergence of Chipper as an Atlanta Brave and would be a sign of things to come.

    After all, he did love clutch hits, especially when they came against the Mets. 

1. World Series

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    Chipper appreciates the individual awards he's received and understands the significance of being in such great company.

    However, Chipper was all about winning and had a genuine interest in the team's success.

    He was never shy to share his opinions on how he felt the Braves should improve the current team. That's because he wanted to win.

    And that's why the 1995 World Series victory against the Cleveland Indians is his No. 1 greatest moment.

    Chipper had a solid World Series as a rookie, hitting .286 with six hits, three doubles and an RBI.

    It's amazing that with all the playoff appearances for the Braves that he never got one more ring.

    However, most players don't get one in their career, and Chipper knows that and cherishes the one he got.

    Let the debate begin.

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