Jones continues farewell tour with 5-for-5, four-RBI day
At 40 years old, Chipper Jones wasn’t ready to slow down just yet.
The Atlanta Braves’ longtime third baseman added another highlight to his 2012 farewell tour with a standout performance against the Chicago Cubs on July 3. He led Atlanta to a 10-3 win by going 5-for-5 with four RBI, becoming the first player age 40-or-older to post at least five hits and four RBI in a game.
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"Tonight was just one of those dream games," Jones told the Associated Press. "I would be hard-pressed to find a game in which I played better."
Jones got the scoring started in the bottom of the first with an RBI single, and his three-run double in the bottom of the sixth gave the Braves a comfortable 10-3 lead.
He ultimately collected three singles and two doubles and was removed for a pinch runner after his fifth hit in the bottom of the eighth.
"That was fun. That was a lot of fun," Jones said. "It's just another one to file in the memory bank from my last year. It has been pretty special to this point."
After announcing his retirement during Spring Training in 2012, Jones opened the season on the disabled list due to a torn meniscus but returned on April 10.
He spent the rest of the season on a farewell tour of the league and was greeted with gifts and recognition at ballparks along the way.
Amid the excitement of his final season, Jones also got off to a hot start at the plate. After the July 3 win over the Cubs, his season average was up to .313.
"I don't think that swing is ready to retire," Cubs manager Dale Sveum said after the game.
To add another memorable moment to the day, before the game, Jones learned he had been selected for his eighth All-Star Game as a replacement for the injured Matt Kemp.
“I’ve always cherished the experience, being able to go and rub elbows with the best players in the game, the elite of the elite and just get to know them,” Jones told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “And now my kids get to do it with me and meet all the best players in the game and create a lifelong memory for them, which is cool for me to do.”
The 2012 All-Star Game in Kansas City would also give Jones the chance to play in the only major league stadium he hadn’t previously played in: Kauffman Stadium.
“So it’s the one ballpark I haven’t played in in my career, and how fitting is it that my last All-Star game gives me the opportunity to do that,” Jones said. “Looking forward to playing in a new ballpark or at least taking batting practice in a new ballpark.”
Jones slowed down in the second half of 2012 but still managed to put together a successful 19th-and-final season in the big leagues, batting .287 with a .377 on-base percentage and 14 home runs.
In his first year on the ballot in 2018, Jones became the sixth member of the 1995 World Series Champion Braves to be elected to the Hall of Fame, joining Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, manager Bobby Cox and general manager John Schuerholz.
Janey Murray was the digital content specialist at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum