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.
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.”
- Chipper throws one away in finale (nypost.com)
- Chipper: Not way I thought career would end (espn.go.com)
- Disputed call overshadows Cardinals wild-card playoff win (triblive.com)
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.
- Atlanta Braves History: Chipper Jones names his son Shea (August 30, 2004) (mww1954.wordpress.com)
- Atlanta Braves History: Chipper goes 3-3 in 2000 All-Star game (July 11, 2000) (mww1954.wordpress.com)
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.
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.
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.
- Chipper Jones Joins Twitter, Confuses Followers Using Words Like ‘Yicketty,’ ‘Mammo’ (nesn.com)
- Surprise! Why Chipper rates well on D (espn.go.com)
- Chipper Jones Plans His Triumphant Retirement (jivingjackalope.com)
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.
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.