Major League Baseball is starting to lose some of its veteran active players at a very quick rate. Not too long ago it was the retirement of Seattle Mariners outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. Now comes word that Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones will be retiring at the end of the season. David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal Constitution first tweeted that information this morning.
@ajcbraves: Chipper retiring? I haven’t confirmed this, but heard from 2 people that Larry Wayne Jones is set to announce he’s retiring at end of season
That was the initial statement this morning. A short time after tweeting that, O’Brien followed it up with an article at the AJC stating that Jones will address the media this afternoon.
It’s no surprise that Chipper has decided to hang things up, the writing has been on the wall for a couple years now. Injuries have hampered his production over the years and even now he’s not performing anywhere close to what he used too. What do you expect, he is 38 years old and there aren’t many players that age that can match their earlier production.
This season, Jones is batting only a .228 with 3 homers and 22 runs batted in over 167 at bats. Just two years ago he hit .364 with 22 homers so that’s a huge difference and it was a quick decline, as in 2009 he only batted .264.
Jones has been the ultimate team player over his career and that’s never been more evident then now. Jones sees his production declining and that the Braves have plenty of young kids ready to step right in. So what did he do? He stepped aside.
For one they’ve got the rookie phenom Jason Heyward, who definitely belongs in the heart of a lineup. Chipper saw that and that Jason could be much more productive so he openly lobbied for him to bat in his third spot. Next, he lent his support to Omar Infante and youngster Brooks Conrad, both of whom have performed very well during his absences.
Just like the kid, I’ll be very sad to see Chipper leave the game. He’s been a class act his entire career and just one of the all around good guys in baseball. He’ll be missed and with the current set of retirements you can feel the end of an era nearing.