Well, something that has seemingly been in the works for quite awhile is now official: Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones will retire at the end of the 2012 season, according to the team’s Twitter account.
Jones has dealt with a myriad of injuries over his last few years with Atlanta, and hasn’t missed less than 25 games in a season since 2004. For his career, he has a .304/.402/.533 line with 454 homers and has amassed 87.5 career fWAR at third base, the seventh highest total of all-time at third base. The six players ahead of him are all in the Hall of Fame, and Jones has an outside chance of passing George Brett for the sixth spot on the list.
Jones’s career has been rumored to be on the rocks for a couple of weeks now. He’ll turn 40 in less than a month, and his production has been going downhill for awhile. He was a member of the 1995 Braves World Championship team during his rookie season, and also finished as the runner-up in the ’95 Rookie of the Year race to Hideo Nomo. Jones won the 1999 NL MVP award for the Braves, who he has spent his entire career with.
As a long-time Braves fan, it’s bittersweet to see Chipper hanging them up. On one hand, I can tell that it’s time. On the other hand, this is a guy who I watched during my entire fandom with the Braves and absolutely adored as a player. I’ll miss him, but at the same time, I realize that this is the best for him, and that his body can’t take it anymore.
There will likely be a job with the Braves for Jones after he retires, likely as a hitting coach or instructor of some sort. He’s an absolute Braves icon, and has a fantastic mind for hitting. I don’t see any way that this is the end of Chipper Jones with the Braves, much like Bobby Cox has continued to show up in an adviser role every day.