Phillies Notes: Braves' Chipper Jones saluted in Philly

Into the sunset: A tribute to future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones before the game included the presentation by Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley (right) of a painting. STEVEN M. FALK / Staff
Into the sunset: A tribute to future Hall of Famer Chipper Jones before the game included the presentation by Jimmy Rollins and Chase Utley (right) of a painting. STEVEN M. FALK / Staff
Posted: September 23, 2012

Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones got his first true taste of Philadelphia during the 1993 season in the most heated of competitions.

Jones had only three regular-season at-bats for the Braves that season, but was traveling with the team in the postseason.

"I remember Mitch Williams striking out Bill Pecoda," Jones said, of the final out of the National League Championship Series, which the Phillies won in six games. "I can remember leaving the Vet and all the fans outside the stadium almost tipped our bus over. And that was a little intro into what Philly fans were all about."

Jones announced before the season that this would be his final year. He spoke to a large group of reporters before Friday's game against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. It's his final regular-season trip to Philadelphia. The 40-year-old Jones was honored before the game, presented by Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins with a painting of himself.

Another memorable Philadelphia moment?

"We played the first professional game after 9/11 here in Philadelphia, and I hit a home run off Robert Person in my first at-bat that first inning," he said of a game the Phillies won, 5-2, at Veterans Stadium. "I cherish and savor all my at-bats against Doc [Halladay], and Cole [Hamels] and Cliff [Lee], and [Curt] Schilling."

Jones says he will miss many things about coming to Philadelphia, specifically the area golf courses.

"Pine Valley is my all-time favorite, and Merion is probably in the top five," he said. "There are a lot of good courses around here."

Jones is going out on top. He entered the game batting .297 with 14 home runs and 60 RBIs.

He has long been a Phillies killer. Entering Friday, he had hit .332 with 49 home runs and 151 RBIs in 837 at-bats with a staggering 1.041 OPS against the Phillies. His walk-off home run in Atlanta's comeback, 8-7 win over the Phillies on Sept. 2 was among their most crushing defeats this season.

Jones is playing so well that the subject is frequently broached: Would he consider another season? That line of questioning only draws laughter.

"Did you see me walk in here?" Jones said. "I am in a lot of pain today, and it's time. I am happy I have played well and happy I have produced when I've been in there, but it's time to go."

Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez echoed Jones' sentiments.

"You see his offensive productivity, but when you see him day-to-day and see how hard it is some days for him to start getting going with his legs and knees, you understand why he is doing it," Gonzalez said.

The switch-hitting Jones brought a .304 lifetime average with 468 home runs and 1,621 RBIs into the game, numbers that will one day lead him to the Hall of Fame.

Extra bases

First baseman-leftfielder Darin Ruf and pitcher Tyler Cloyd were presented before the game with Paul Owens Awards as the Phillies' top minor-league position player and pitcher. The Richie Ashburn Award for loyalty and dedication to the organization was presented to Rob Holiday, an assistant director of scouting.


 

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