Chipper Jones announces he will retire after the 2012 season
Nearly two years later, just about a month short of his 40th birthday, Jones announced that the 2012 season would be his last. It was an emotional year for Jones. He had truly grown up with the Braves organization, as the team selected him in the first round of the 1990 June Amateur Draft, a year they finished with a winning percentage of .401. As Jones rose through their farm system, he witnessed Atlanta blossom from a team with a losing record to a serious postseason contender, and in 1995 would claim his spot in the starting lineup with the soon-to-be World Series champions.
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Jones would finish second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 1995, and continued to post outstanding numbers over the next 18 seasons. A switch-hitter from an early age, he hit .304 left handed and .305 right handed, joining only Hall of Famer Frankie Frisch as hitters who’ve hit .300 or better from both sides of the plate, out of only 106 switch-hitters in history with at least career 5,000 at bats, according to ESPN.
For his career, he drove in 1,623 runs, ranking 33rd on the all-time list, and posted a batting average of .303. The eight time All-Star also posted an OPS of .930 and a career slugging percentage of .529. He was revered not only for his consistency, but for his ability to produce runs when the Braves needed it most.
“What he’s done this year for us is a microcosm of what he’s done since 1995,” Braves president and Hall of Famer John Schuerholz told The New York Times in 2012. “He’s gotten the big hit, in the big game, against the big pitcher, against all odds. Replaying the videotapes of the last 20 years in my head, he’s the guy that got most of them.”
Jones was versatile defensively as well, alternating between third base and left field throughout his career. He played 1,992 defensive games in the hot corner, finishing in the top 10 in the NL in fielding percentage five times and assists four times at the position. Jones becomes eligible for the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame ballot in 2018, and could potentially become the sixth member of the 1995 Braves team to receive a bronze plaque. More information on players who are eligible for future ballots is available here.
Alex Coffey is the communications specialist for the National Baseball Hall of Fame