As has become custom for the Bravos, Jones was honored before their series opener with the New York Mets with a lavish ceremony that include a video tribute, guest speakers and gifts.
As Jones was introduced at the end of the ceremony, he walked up to the podium to Ozzy Osbourne's "Crazy Train," as has become his signature when he comes to bat. He expressed his gratitude his teammates, parents, kids and his best friend and agent B.B. Abbott. Chipper even took a moment to recognize the Braves.
"It's one of the best organizations in pro sports. No doubt," Jones said.
Of course, that came after the Braves had recognized Jones' incredible career that has spanned nearly two decades. Master of ceremonies Pete Van Wieren rattled off a long list off accomplishments, including that Jones has never struck out 100 times in a season, has more walks than strikeouts, has hit .300 right- and left-handed, has a higher batting average than Pete Rose and has more hits than Lou Gehrig.
"His accomplishments have put him right beside Hank Aaron as two of the best hitters in Atlanta Braves history," Van Wieren said.
A video tribute followed showing hightlights from Chipper's career, including a clip of Hank Aaron referring to him as "a Hall-of-Famer all the way" and Dale Murphy calling him "the best in the game." The praise even spilled over from current teammates.
"He's the smartest baseball guy that you'll ever be around," Brian McCann said.
After video messages from Bud Selig and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal declaring today to officially be Chipper Jones Day, Bobby Cox and John Schuerholz also piled on more praise for Chipper. Schuerholz noted that was in organizations with Brooks Robinson and George Brett, placing Jones right up there with them.
McCann, dressed in the mock turtleneck that has become a Jones staple, started the gift giving by presenting Chipper with a pool table teammates bought him. Aaron proceeded to give him third base from the night's game. Frank Wren and Fredi Gonzalez presented Jones with a plaque made from Turner Field bricks and shaped into a homeplate for his status as the cornerstone of the franchise, while Shuerholz announced that the Braves will refurbish 10 local baseball fields in Jones' name as well as send him and his family on vacation to Hawai'i.
The kicker, which Jones seemed to get the biggest kick out of, was that the team is going to install his Turner Field clubhouse locker in his house.
"It's been a childhood dream," Chipper said. "I really couldn't have scripted it any better than this."
Indeed he couldn't, and neither could the fans. Happy trails, no. 10, but hopefully not until November.Tags: Atlanta, Atlanta Braves, Chipper Jones, MLB
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