Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones has announced his plans to retire from baseball at the conclusion of the season. A press conference is scheduled for later this morning.

The news is hardly shocking, with Jones already telling members of the Atlanta media earlier this Spring Training that he wasn’t sure if he would be able to make it through another season of baseball. Talking about the toll that baseball has taken on him, he admitted difficulty in his physical preparations for the coming season.

For the first 10 days we were here, it was painful. As long as I can take care of my knees. My knees have given me the most problems through the years. I dare say if I hadn’t had five knee surgeries I’d be getting around a little better and I’d be feeling a better about things going on my 40th birthday.

The “no doubt” Hall of Famer’s current contract gave the Braves a $7 million club option for 2013 that would have become guaranteed at $9 million if he appeared in 123 games this season. Despite not having more than 600 plate appearances in a single season since 2003, Jones has remained incredibly effective. As Drew Fairservice showed earlier this week, despite not quite reaching full time play due to injuries, Jones was able to put up the second most successful age 35 and 36 seasons in baseball history. His 2008 season is especially notable considering he missed 34 games and still managed to put up a 7.5 fWAR.

As remarkable as it is, 2008 was merely one year in an incredibly successful career that has made him one of the greatest third basemen to have ever played the game. As MLB Trade Rumors notes:

The seven-time All-Star won the 1999 National League MVP Award and the 2008 NL batting title. He also has 454 home runs, 1561 RBI, more walks (1455) than strikeouts (1358), and a .304/.402/.533 career batting line. Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle (536) and Eddie Murray (504) are the only switch hitters with more career home runs.

While his on field talent will most certainly be missed, Canadian baseball fans are most likely to remember the bitter taste left from Larry Wayne ‘Chipper’ Jones’ comments during the World Baseball Classic in 2009.

We stayed in Toronto for a week and played three games. I don’t know if you ever stayed in Toronto, but it’s not exactly Las Vegas. To say that we were plucking our eyebrows out one at a time would be an understatement.

It’s tough talk from someone whose baseball team plays a five mile radius away from 4,527 meth labs. Perhaps we could have committed more crime during Chipper’s time in Toronto to make his stay feel more like home.

Comments (19)

  1. Where would you rank Chipper among the greatest 3B of all-time?

    For sure top 5, and probably top 3, but where in the top 3?

    I have him as pretty much just ahead of George Brett, and just behind Schmidt for the greatest 3B ever. But a case can be made for him being the greatest of all-time.

  2. I’ve always wondered why more baseball players don’t take this route. Giving the fans a good-bye tour seems more endearing than a news conference which is forgotten the next day.

  3. No doubt a great ballplayer in his day (“his day” being a good 10 years long), but upon hearing this my first thought was: if his knees are held together by scotch tape but he can still hit (OPSing .814 at age 39 ain’t half bad), why not go to an AL team and DH for a year before riding off into the smog-obscured Atlanta sunset? But on second thought that just feels wrong for some reason. Chipper Jones IS the Braves, he’s as Atlanta as Ted Turner, peach cobbler, redneck meth, and racist baseball chants, so it’s probably appropriate that he retire as a Brave.

  4. I would put the top 5 Third Basemen as follows:

    1. Mike Schmidt
    2. Eddie Matthews (98.3 WAR over 17 seasons, vs. Chipper’s 82.7 over 18), and really, it’s even more impressive since he only added 2.4 WAR during his last three seasons.
    3. Chipper Jones
    4. George Brett
    5. Wade Boggs

    • Where is Brooks Robinson?

      • Robinson was great. But his career avg was just .267 with an OPS of only .723 and only 69 WAR in 3 more seasons than Chipper. Robinson would probably be about 7th or 8th in my book. But you have to consider Ron Santo and then the asterisks (due to time at 3rd) of A-Rod and Molitor. Got to give notice to Robinson’s 1964 year, which was one of the best by a 3rd baseman of his decade.

        • I’ve got a Bill James historical abstract in front of me. He ranks third basemen like this:

          Schmidt, Brett, Matthews, Boggs, Home Run Baker, Santo, Robinson, Molitor, Stan Hack, Darrell Evans. It was written in 1999, and Jones already ranked 28th.

          Best line: “More and better is yet to come, if he can stay away from the Hooter’s Girls.”

  5. Chipper Jones, and specifically that comment, is one of the great reasons why it’s easy to hate the Braves.

    Just everything about it: some slack-jawed redneck, named “Chipper” of all goddamned names – his face painted with a constant smug, dumbfounded look and stupid 90s chin fuzz – spits out his chew for long enough to mumble “hyuk, nuthin’ much to do in Taranna ‘cept pluckin yer eyebrows.” This coming from a representative of Atlanta, a smog-choked sprawling crime-ridden hellscape of Confederate flag bumper stickers, Mountain Dew-chugging toothless hillbillies and crack dens. Oh, Atlanta Braves, you are so easy to hate.

    • “Chipper” is a nickname douchebag. Nothing like a bitter Jays fan to bring out the best in Canadians.

  6. “While his on field talent will most certainly be missed, Canadian baseball fans are most likely to remember the bitter taste left from Larry Wayne ‘Chipper’ Jones’ comments during the World Baseball Classic in 2009.

    We stayed in Toronto for a week and played three games. I don’t know if you ever stayed in Toronto, but it’s not exactly Las Vegas. To say that we were plucking our eyebrows out one at a time would be an understatement.”

    Perhaps Toronto baseball fans might have a bitter taste in their mouth because of that comment. The rest of us didn’t really care.

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