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Chipper Jones on his last game

October 6, 2012 3 comments
Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves

Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This was not the way it was supposed to end for Chipper Jones. Those who had seen him homer twice in his first career postseason game and again on his 40th birthday certainly had reason to expect a grand finale.

A sure-fire Hall of Famer and one of the greatest switch-hitters the game has known, Jones seemed destined to limp off into the sunset after drilling a walk-off homer in Game 7 of the World Series.

Instead, Jones exited the Braves‘ clubhouse on Friday night seemingly shell-shocked by what had transpired in a 6-3 loss to the Cardinals in the National League’s one-game Wild Card playoff. He committed a costly throwing error in St. Louis‘ three-run third inning and was limited to a broken-bat infield single in five at-bats.

“I wanted to come out here and play well,” Jones said. “Today, my heart is broken not for me, my heart is broken for my teammates and my coaching staff, and all these fans that have been so great to us this year.

“But I’ll be OK. It’s just one of those things. You come to the park, and I walk out of here knowing that I brought it every single day. I think when you walk out of here knowing that you brought it every day, it makes walking away on the final day a little bit easier.”

Atlanta Braves History: Six Braves hit 20 home runs in the season (September 20, 2003)

When Marcus Giles sends Brad Penny’s 3-2 pitch into the stands on September 20, 2003, the Atlanta Braves tie the National League record (held by the Milwaukee Braves) by having six players to hit at least 20 home runs in season. Along with the Atlanta’s second baseman, Javy Lopez, Gary Sheffield, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones and Vinny Castilla.

This equals the mark established by Eddie Mathews (32), Hank Aaron (32), Joe Torre (27), Felipe Alou (23) Mack Jones (31) and Gene Oliver (21) of the 1965 Milwaukee Braves.

Atlanta Braves History: Rabbit Maranville starts at $125 a month (1911)

The third of five children, Walter James Vincent Maranville (Rabbit) was born on November 11, 1891, in Springfield, Massachusetts. His mother was Irish but his father and the Maranville name were French. Walter (then known as “Stumpy” or “Bunty“) attended the Charles Street and Chestnut Street grammar schools and played catcher during his one year at Technical High.

His father, a police officer, allowed him to leave school if he apprenticed for a trade, so at age 15 he quit to become a pipe fitter and tinsmith. To his father’s dismay, Walter devoted less attention to his apprenticeship than he did to baseball. He was playing shortstop for a semipro team in 1911 when Tommy Dowd, manager of the New Bedford Whalers of the New England League, signed him to a contract for $125 per month.

The 19-year-old shortstop batted .227 and committed 61 errors in 117 games. Not sure if that was worth the $125 a month or not.

Atlanta Braves History: Chipper Jones names his son Shea (August 30, 2004)

August 1, 2012 1 comment

Now this is rich. Chipper Jones and his wife, Sharon, welcome their second child into the world on August 30, 2004, a 7 pounds, 14 ounces son.

The couple names the boy Shea, as a tribute to the New York ballpark where the Braves‘ third baseman has enjoyed tremendous success against the Mets. I can still envision games where they taunted Chipper by repeatedly calling him “Larry”, his Christian name.

You have to love this.

Chipper Jones: Baseball cards 1991

July 29, 2012 1 comment


Many manufacturers would start to get into the Chipper Jones baseball card business in 1991. For obvious reasons, the Classic cards were considered minor league in quality and collector attention. When the 1991 sets from the major manufacturers were released, collectors across the country began to stock up on Chipper Jones cards. If he lived up to his promise and proved to be the second coming of Cal Ripken, Jr., then collectors everywhere would be able to put their children through college by selling a handful of Chipper cards.

From a numbers standpoint, Chipper’s career will eclipse that of Ripken. His rookie cards, however, can often be bought for mere pennies. It isn’t Chipper’s fault of course that Topps and Upper Deck were caught up in the era of rampant over-production. Although many collectors love to blame the 1994 strike for the collapse of the baseball card market, that was simply the moment the bubble burst. Value requires scarcity, and Chipper Jones rookie cards are as plentiful as water and air.

Pictured here are two of the better Chipper rookie cards. The Topps card is the classic bat on the shoulder pose. 1991 design isn’t overly impressive, but at least it doesn’t get in the way of the photograph. The Upper Deck card is even better. The picture showing Jones manning shortstop is especially nice. More than anything, I like that it looks like something is inflating inside his cap. Less successful is the card from Score. Generally speaking, cards with the backgrounds removed are almost always worse, but that’s not the only problem with the card. The design is bland, bordering on amateurish. There’s something off about the look on Chipper’s face. It just isn’t a very good card.

Atlanta Braves History: Chipper goes 3-3 in 2000 All-Star game (July 11, 2000)

July 27, 2012 1 comment

At Turner Field on July 11, 2000, the AL beats the National League, 6-3, in the 71st All-Star contest, dubbed the All Scar game due to the many stars absent from both lineups because of injuries. Yankees’ shortstop Derek Jeter and Braves‘ third baseman Chipper Jones provide the offensive punch with both going 3-for-3.

It was sad to see Chipper at his last All-Star game this year.

Atlanta Braves History: Chipper Jones popup leads to triple play (June 15, 1996)

In the first inning of their 6-2 victory over the Braves on June 15, 1996, the Dodgers turn their first triple play in forty-seven years. After making a running, back-to-the-plate grab of Chipper Jones‘s popup to short left with runners on first and second, Juan Castro throws to second baseman Delino Deshields to double up Marquis Grissom, then the ball is relayed to first baseman Eric Karosto to get Mark Lemke, who was also running on the pitch.

Atlanta Braves History: Chipper Jones breaks Dale Murphy’s home run record (July 5, 2007)

July 5, 2012 4 comments
English: Chipper Jones

English: Chipper Jones (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

At Dodger Stadium on July 5, 2007, Chipper Jones‘s two solo home runs is the difference in the Braves‘ 8-6 victory over Los Angeles. With his pair of round-trippers, the team’s third baseman surpasses Dale Murphy for the Atlanta team record of 372 homers.

Chipper will retire this year. I will miss him.

Atlanata Braves History: Braves 4, Blue Jays 3 – June 6, 2012

Great game last night. You always have to love a win in extra innings. I am very encourage with the Braves this year. They are hanging in there. Even with Chipper injured most of the season so far. Jason Heyward and Dan Uggla are impressive.

Is Jason Heyward waking up? He scored twice and drove in a run last night, one of the runs being a game winner.

The Braves’ first run came on a bases-loaded walk of Dan Uggla in the third, scoring Brandon Beachy, but Heyward flew out to end that threat. Beachy had a shutout going through five, but in the sixth allowed a leadoff homer to Jose Bautista and walked the next two, so Fredi brought in Chad Durbin. Beachy struck out six, but walked five, and threw 108 pitches in those mere five innings. Durbin let one of Beachy’s runs score to make it 2-1 Jays.

Uggla led off the bottom of the inning with a walk, and Heyward followed with a double to score him and tie the game. With two out, after pinch-hitter Freddie Freeman couldn’t get him home from third, Heyward scored on a balk to make it 3-2.

Jonny Venters walked a man, but otherwise was good in the seventh. The Braves blew a bases-loaded situation in the bottom of the inning, and in the eighth Eric O’Flaherty gave up the tying run, which scored on a Yunel Escobar groundout.

Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth, allowing an infield single, and Cristhian Martinez pitched the tenth. Heyward led off the bottom of that inning with an infield single, and Jack Wilson bunted him to second. On his own initiative, Heyward stole third. The catcher threw the ball away and Heyward came around to win the game.

via Braves 4, Blue Jays 3 (10 innings).

Crazy Stats From Last Night’s Braves-Phillies Game 18-13

The May 2 Braves Phillie game was crazy.  We won in extra innings. Here are some of the stats.

  • It was the highest-scoring extra-inning game in the Major Leagues since 2006.
  • It was the highest-scoring extra-inning game in the National League since July 4, 1985, when the Mets outlasted the Braves, 16-13, in 19 innings.
  • The only other major-league team in the past 30 years that won a game after rallying from a deficit of at least six runs and overcoming a separate disadvantage of four or more runs was the 1997 Mariners, in a 12-11 victory against the Rockies.
  • The last team to lose an 11+ inning game while scoring 13+ was the 116-win 2001 Mariners.
  • The last team to win in 11+ innings while scoring 13+ was managed by… Charlie Manuel, tonight’s losing manager.
  • This was the Braves’ 4th win since 1918 when allowing 13+ runs, and the 2nd in the last 60 years.
  • This was the first game in MLB history to end 15-13 in 11 or more innings (since 1918, anyway).
  • Roy Halladay gave up eight runs, the most he had allowed since surrendering nine on May 5, 2007 against the Rangers.
  • This is the first time in Halladay’s career that he’s given up more than 6 runs to an NL team.
  • Halladay was working with a 6-0 lead when he gave up six runs in the fifth inning and then two more in the sixth. He was 107-0 in his career in starts in which he was given a four-run lead. The Phillies, though, let him off the hook by rallying in the seventh.
  • The Braves had 3 bases-loaded hits all year coming into last night. They had 3 bases-loaded hits in the 5th inning of last night’s game… off Roy Halladay.
  • Brian McCann hit just the fourth grand slam ever given up by Halladay (Evan Longoria hit the last in 2008).
  • The I Hit A Slam Off Roy Halladay Club: Evan Longoria, Alfonso Soriano, Andy Sheets, and now Brian McCann.
  • That was the first homer allowed by Halladay in six starts this season.
  • Chipper Jones and Jason Giambi each hit game-ending home runs on Wednesday. It was the first day in major-league history on which two players age 40 or older hit walk-off homers.
  • Never before had two men, each with at least 400 career home runs to their credit, hit walk-off round-trippers on the same day.
  • Jones’s walkoff was his first since May 17, 2006 against the Marlins. It was the eighth of his career.

via Crazy Stats From Last Night’s Braves-Phillies Game – Talking Chop.

Chipper Jones: 1992 baseball cards

1992


That awful yellow classic card from 1990 is almost the worst Chipper Jones card produced. How could a card that ugly not be Chipper’s worse card? Well, the 1992 Bowman card is simply baffling. The very idea of baseball cards featuring players in “regular” clothes is ridiculous. Is there anyone who wanted to see Chipper Jones dressed in shorts and a long sleeve shirt standing in front of cacti? This is another bad baseball card.

Coming into the 1992 season, Chipper Jones had solidified his standing as one of baseball’s top prospects with his outstanding season at Macon in 1991. Topps and Upper Deck were both looking to get him into products again. Upper Deck released a minor league product in 1992 that was, shall we say, underwhelming. Like most products of this type, the set featured card after card of players that would never wear a major league uniform. The set may not be that great, but Chipper’s card, featuring him in the great Durham Bulls uniform, is outstanding. The pose is variation of the pose on the 1991 Score card, but is far more effective.

Topps would include him on a four prospect card in their 1992 base set, but it was his Stadium Club card, one of three “First Draft Picks” cards inserted into Stadium Club Series 3, that makes the better impression. It features the crisp, photo quality stock that made Stadium Club such a sensation in the early 90s. The photograph itself is a great shot of Chipper’s batter’s eye. Well, as good a shot as you could get with a posed photograph.

Chipper is back

Chipper Jones hit a three-run homer in his return after missing two games, Brandon Beachy pitched seven strong innings and the surging Braves beat the Milwaukee Brewers 7-4 on Sunday for a three-game sweep.

Chipper Jones on the Braves chances

September 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Chipper Jones, after last night’s loss to Philadelphia, on if Braves still have what it takes to make it:

“Yes. no doubt. We can play tooth and nail with the best teams in the game. We’ve proven that. We proved it tonight with a guy who started the year in Double-A. He pitched great, we played good defense behind him. We swung the bats good in certain sections of the game, not so good in others. Again, when you’re running up against a Cy Young winner, he doesn’t make too many mistakes. I think we probably took advantage of the few that he did make.”

Playing baseball in a football stadium (2011)

September 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Chipper Jones and the Atlanta Braves are looking forward to playing in the Florida Marlins‘ new ballpark next year, especially after this difficult loss.

Jones lost Emilio Bonifacio‘s two-out chopper in the lights before Omar a game-ending homer off rookie closer Craig Kimbrel, giving the Marlins a 6-5 victory Monday night.

“You play baseball in a football stadium, I guess that happens from time to time, but it’s just extremely bad timing,” Jones said. “It’s a pretty helpless feeling when the game should be over and I had no clue where the ball was when it bounced.”

Atlanta now has dropped three of four, and its NL wild-card lead is down to 2½ games over surging St. Louis, which beat Roy Halladay and the Phillies 4-3 in Philadelphia. The Braves have eight games remaining, compared to nine for the Cardinals.

New phenom on opening day (2010)

September 4, 2011 Leave a comment

Jason Heyward had a great Spring Training in 2010. Lots of promise but he not played in the Big Leagues yet. Jason Heyward’s legend grew even larger on April 5, 2010 when the Braves phenom drilled a three-run homer on the first swing of his Major League career. After looking at two fastballs from Carlos Zambrano, Heyward mashed a 2-0 sinker deep into the Braves bullpen beyond the right-center field wall for a three-run homer. The 20-year-old made his way around the bases to the sound of a thunderous applause provided by a sold-out crowd at Turner Field. As Heyward made his way back to the dugout after providing his club a 6-3 lead, he was greeted by Chipper Jones, who stretched his arms out and gave the young outfielder a hug.

Heyward, was drafted out of suburban Atlanta’s Henry County High School with the 14th overall selection in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft, had the hometown faithful stirring as he made his way to the plate. Before slugging his monstrous home run he was serenaded with boisterous chants of “Jason Heyward.” After becoming the sixth player in Atlanta history and just the 11th player in Braves franchise history to homer in his Major League debut, Heyward took his position and found the fans beyond the right-field wall applauding him even louder than they had when he took the field to start the game.

While making his Major League debut for the Braves on Opening Day last year, Jordan Schafer became the 99th Major League player to homer in his first career at-bat.

Heyward, who was widely regarded as the game’s top prospect, was wearing No. 22 this year in honor of his former high school teammate, Andrew Wilmot, who was killed in an automobile accident in 2007.

Some good news from Chipper

Atlanta Braves veteran Chipper Jones confirmed that he will return to play for the Braves in 2012, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reported. Jones’ announcement ended speculation that the 39-year-old third baseman might retire after this season and walk away with a year left.

Hail delay (2011)

The 2011 season started out 1-1. The first game flawless. The second not so much. The Braves fell to the Nationals 6-3.

After sitting through a 30-minute rain delay, Tommy Hanson made his first start of the season and it wasn’t pretty. He threw 68 pitches and only 38 were for strikes. His start was interrupted by a hail storm in the fourth inning and he didn’t return, but with the way things were going, Tommy probably only had one more inning left in him. He gave up four runs on five hits and two walks, and only struck out one National hitter on the day.

At the plate, the Braves were 1-for-6 with runners in scoring position and continually swung early in the count. Dan Uggla hit a home run in the sixth inning to give him his first hit as an Atlanta Brave and Alex Gonzalez had a great day going 3-for-3 with a walk and a solo home run in the eighth inning. Freddie Freeman and Chipper Jones were also impressive, and both recorded two hits a piece.

The Braves bullpen wasn’t great either. Scott Linebrink and Peter Moylan both gave up runs as the team was attempting to mount a comeback, and outside of Eric O’Flaherty (who threw one pitch) no one looked real sharp on the mound. Let’s all just hope it was caused by the multiple weather delays.

John Lannan shut the Braves down for five innings and only allowed one run to score. The Nationals bullpen gave the Braves plenty of chances, but we just couldn’t cash in. We also learned Sean Burnett is apparently the 2nd coming of Greg Maddux, and he made two incredible defensive plays in the ninth inning to close out the game.

It just wasn’t our day. The Braves hit the ball hard all day long and it always found a glove. Nate McLouth misjudged a ball in center field and it went for a triple. Rick Ankiel layed down a perfect bunt to execute a suicide squeeze. Freddie Freeman just missed a game tying, two-run home run in the sixth inning.

Chipper is smoking hot (2011)

Chipper was smoking hot in the spring of 2011. Halfway through spring training, Jones said, “I’ve never felt this good from both sides of the plate in spring training.” And then he really got hot. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” Braves hitting coach Larry Parrish said with a week left in spring training. “I’ve never seen anyone swing the bat like he has this spring.”

More important, Jones had more mobility than expected on his surgically repaired left knee, the one that was supposed to force his retirement. “He has moved very well,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. There was only one day — Jones’ third day of spring training, well before he was officially supposed to report — that Jones needed to skip a workout because his knee was too sore.

39th Birthday (2011)

Coming off major knee surgery, and coming up on his 39th birthday, Chipper Jones came back to baseball in a big way on opening day 2011. At the plate in a real game for the first time since August of 2010, the Atlanta Braves third baseman doubled for the first hit by anyone in the 2011 season. He legged it out, even, beating a throw from new Washington Nationals right fielder Jayson Werth.

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Good start Fredi (2011)

Welcome back, Chipper. Nice way to start, Fredi.

I love opening day. I know it is a long season but nothing like a win to start things off. And the Braves did just that to start the 2011 season.

Returning from major knee surgery, Chipper Jones doubled before scoring the 2011 season’s first run on a chilly, damp opening day, and Derek Lowe allowed three singles in 5 2/3 innings, helping the Braves beat the Washington Nationals 2-0 to make Fredi Gonzalez a winner in his debut as Atlanta’s manager.

The Braves played their first regular-season game since Bobby Cox retired at the end of 2010 after two decades — and 15 playoff appearances — as their skipper. I think I am most definitely going to miss him.

Lowe struck out six and walked two.Brian McCann drove in Jones by grounding a single up the middle off Livan Hernandez in the first, and Jason Heyward led off the second with a homer.

Heyward also homered in Game 1 a year ago, in his first major league at-bat. According to STATS and the SABR Home Run Log, he’s only the second player in major league history to homer in his first at-bat of his team’s opening day game as a rookie and again the following year. The other was Kazuo Matsui with theNew York Mets in 2004 and 2005.

In his first regular-season at-bat for the Nationals — at second in the lineup, an unusual spot for a guy with a $126 million contract and some power — Werth singled to right. And then, doing exactly what general manager Mike Rizzo keeps saying he expects, Werth went from first to third on a single by Ryan Zimmerman.

Lowe made sure the Nationals failed to convert that two-on, one-out opportunity, though. Adam LaRoche, a free agent brought in to take over for the departed Adam Dunn at first base, popped out to second, and Michael Morse, who earned the left-field job vacated by the traded Josh Willingham, grounded out.

Four relievers combined to get the last 10 outs. Craig Kimbrel worked a 1-2-3 ninth for the save, his second in the majors.

In front of a non-sellout crowd of 39,055 at Nationals Park, neither of Thursday’s starting pitchers was bothered one bit by the cold — it was 41 degrees when Hernandez threw a called strike to Martin Prado for the first pitch at 1:11 p.m. — or by the misty drizzle that came and went.

The 37-year-old Lowe — more than 1½ years older than Hernandez — struck out the side in the third, including Zimmerman looking to end the inning. Zimmerman argued some with umpire Tim Welke while walking away; he tossed his bat, helmet and batting gloves on the ground, then yanked out his gum and chucked that down, too. A little too dramatic I think.

Lowe needed plenty of pitches, 105, and left after walking Zimmerman in the sixth. LaRoche followed by singling off lefty Eric O’Flaherty, who got out of it by getting Morse to ground out.

With two outs in the first, Jones doubled to right on a 3-2 pitch in his first at-bat in a regular-season game since tearing up his left knee Aug. 10. He also singled in the ninth.

After giving up Heyward’s solo shot, Hernandez settled into a groove, retiring 16 of the 17 batters he faced the rest of the way, including 15 in a row. He got some help from Werth, who made a sliding catch of Alex Gonzalez‘s sinking liner in the fifth. I saw the play. Does it count if you slide after you catch it?

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