Saturday, April 25, 2015

A belated Happy Birthday Chipper Jones

Yesterday was Chipper Jones' 43th birthday.  A belated Happy Birthday, Chipper.  I am sorry that I missed it.

Larry Wayne Jones was born in DeLand, Florida on April 24, 1972.  Jones received the nickname "Chipper" from his father and other family members, who saw the younger Larry as a "chip off the old block," as he showed an early love for baseball because of time spent with his father who was a high school baseball coach.
1990 Classic Premier Edition #1
On June 4, 1990, Larry Wayne Jones was drafted by the Braves as the 1st pick of the 1990 amateur draft. Chipper was signed by the Braves that same day, receiving a bonus of $400,000.  Jones played in the Braves minor league system from 1991 through 1993 with the Macon Braves (1991), Durham Bulls (1992), and Richmond Braves (1993).  During his time in the Braves' minor league system, Jones was involved in a bench clearing brawl with future Major League stars Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome.
1993 Bowman #86

Chipper's major league debut was on September 11, 1993, as he was the youngest player in the league.  In 1994, he was expected to compete for the starting left field job, however, Jones suffered an ACL tear in spring training. As a result, he spent the entire strike shortened 1994 season on the disabled list.

1995 Pinnacle Sportflix #101
In 1995, during his first full year in the major leagues, Jones led all rookies in RBIs (86), games played (145), at bats (524), and runs scored (87). That year, he finished second in the National Rookie of the Year voting behind Dodgers pitcher Hideo Nomo.   In addition, Jones participated in the 1995 World Series, in which the Braves won in six games over the Indians.

1999 Upper Deck HologrFX #6
In 1999, Jones won the National League MVP award after becoming the first player ever to hit over .300 (.319) while slugging 40 or more home runs (45) and doubles (41), drawing 100 or more walks (126), while notching 100 or more RBI (110) and runs scored (116), and stealing 20 or more bases (25).

2012 Topps Heritage #347
Jones retired at the conclusion of the 2012 season after playing 19 seasons in the major leagues, all with the Braves.  The final game of his career was the 2012 National League Wild Card Playoff game against Cardinals. In his final at-bat, he had an infield single, with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

2012 Topps Update #US166A

Jones was eight time All-Star, and won the 1999 and 2000 National League Silver Slugger Award for third basemen. He was the National League batting champion in 2008, with a major high batting average of .364.  He currently holds the Braves team record for career on-base percentage (.402), and on July 5, 2007, passed Dale Murphy for third place on the Braves all-time career home run list, behind only Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews.

Jones ended his career .304 career batting average, with 468 home runs, and 1,623 RBI in 2,499 games.  Jones is one of the most accomplished switch hitters in the history of the game, as he finished behind only Eddie Murray for career RBI by switch hitters. He is the only switch hitter in MLB history with both a career batting average of at least .300 and 400 or more home runs. He was the eighteenth hitter in MLB history to accumulate 5,000 at bats and finish with at least a .300 batting average, .400 on-base percentage, and .500 slugging percentage, and the only switch hitter to reach all these milestones.
During his career, Jones played in 21 post season series, including three World Series.  He appeared in 93 post season games with 13 home runs and 47 RBI and a .287 batting average.  His World Series record was playing in 16 games with one home run, (Game one home run in the 1999 World Series, off Yankee starting pitcher Orlando Hernandez in a 4 -1 Braves loss) with 6 RBI  and a batting average .273.
2015 Topps 1st Home Run #FHR-10

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