1. A surfboard from the San Diego Padres: What do you get the Hall of Fame-bound third baseman who has everything? For Trevor Hoffman and the San Diego Padres, it was a customized surfboard followed by Hoffman's dramatic reading of the lyrics to Surf's Up.
OK, so maybe that last part isn't true. And maybe Chipper Jones did tweet "Anyone know how to surf?" after Atlanta's 3-0 loss to San Diego on Monday night. But I do have to credit the Friars for putting in the thought to present Jones with a retirement gift that's both unique among his growing collection of tributes and reflective of the city it came from. It's definitely the best of the crop so far, though the New York Mets do have more time to come up with something better than sticking Chipper with the unsold inventory of Shea Stadium seats.
The rest of Chipper's gifts can be found in the ranking below:
2. The Wrigley Field Braves banner from the Chicago Cubs: First, a confession: I really don't know what Chipper has thought of each present, so this is more or less a ranking of the things that I would have liked to receive if I were a 40-year-old third baseman making his way around the majors one last time. I've always loved the team flags that fly above Wrigley Field and it gets extra points for being very easy to pack. You can't just fold up a surfboard and get a rocking chair through the X-ray machine at the airport, after all.
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3. A cowboy hat from the Houston Astros: Not only did Craig Biggio and Houston kick off the practice of showering Chipper with gifts in 2012, they also presented him with the one he's most likely to use when he retreats to Double Dime Ranch.
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4. Great American Ballpark's third base from the Cincinnati Reds: A framed base has turned out to be the equivalent of a Father's Day necktie for Chipper, but the Reds were the first team to come up with the idea, presenting him with one in late May.
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5. Autographed photo and Stan Musial jersey from the St. Louis Cardinals: The Cardinals clubhouse all signed a photo of Chipper hitting a home run and also gave him a jersey signed by Stan Musial. It almost seems like the Cardinals forgot that this was his last trip to St. Louis and just gathered anything they could find at the last minute. But let's be honest: We all should be so lucky to receive a Stan the Man jersey as an afterthought.
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6. Yankee Stadium's third base from the New York Yankees: Yeah, the Yankees just took the Reds' third base idea and gave him one of their own a few weeks later. But as an American League team, you could make the argument that the Yankees weren't obligated to give him anything (two World Series matchups aside). They're like the friend of a friend who shows up at your dinner party and overcompensates for not knowing you by bringing an expensive bottle of wine. Always classy and always appreciated.
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7. Nationals Park's third base and framed photo from the Washington Nationals: Yup, another third base and the Nats didn't even bother to frame it. They might have made up for the unoriginality by ensuring that the Jones, Mark DeRosa and Adam LaRoche in the framed photo was also holding a photo of the trio (and on and on), but they could get a chance to make up for it in the postseason. Might we suggest a Youppi costume or a Capitol Hill cake sans copy edit like Bobby Cox received in 2010?
UPDATE: Looks like the Nats also gave Chipper the bat he used to hit the first homer in Nats Park history back in March 2008. Definitely very cool.
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