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10 Top Achievments of Atlanta Braves All-Time Great Chipper Jones

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10 Top Achievments of Atlanta Braves All-Time Great Chipper Jones
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Long-time Atlanta Braves 3rd baseman Chipper Jones will wrap up a Hall-of-Fame worthy career to retire …

One of 2012's remarkable stories has been the farewell tour of longtime Atlanta Braves' 3rd baseman Chipper Jones. Though a playoff appearance lies ahead, Jones will fittingly conclude the regular season at Turner Field with a weekend series against the New York Mets. Not only has the slugger enjoyed a respectable year on the field, but his accomplishments have been warmly saluted by even long-time rivals. Jones is a future Hall-of-Famer, who played the game in the manner that most traditionalists embrace. Here are 10 note-worthy achievements of this historic player's career.

Top Overall Pick in 1990: Many expected Todd Van Poppel to be selected 1st overall in the 1990 draft. Yet, when the pitcher from Texas threatened to enroll in college if drafted by the Braves, then GM Bobby Cox wisely looked in another direction. Choosing a shortstop from Florida, Chipper Jones became baseball's greatest 1st overall selection ever. While Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey, Jr. were equally prudent choices, neither spent a 22 year career with the same organization like Chipper.

First Career Home Run: Finishing a close 2nd in that season's Rookie of the Year competition, Chipper smacked his first MLB home run on May 9, 1995. Appropriately, the 1st of his current 468 career homers came against the hated Mets at Shea Stadium and he soon obtained his 2nd homer there just a day later. Chipper recalled the day vividly in a recent interview and interestingly even named his son Shea.

1995 World Series Champion: Reaching the big leagues for 3 at bats in September 1993, Chipper Jones missed the 1994 strike-shortened season due to injury. His rookie campaign of 1995 proved more memorable, as the franchise claimed its first World Series triumph after 30 years in Atlanta. Though returning to the Fall Classic 2 more times, 1995 proved Chipper's sole championship. The 25 year-old Jones made it count by batting .363 with 3 HR and 8 RBI in his initial post-season.

Winning 1999 N.L. MVP: Though Jones enjoyed many stellar seasons, the 1999 campaign was undoubtedly his best. Leading the Braves to a World Series appearance, the 3rd baseman batted .319 with 45 home runs, 116 runs, 25 stolen bases, and 110 RBI. He famously helped fend off a September challenge from the New York Mets by dominating with 4 home runs in a critical 3 game series.

8 Consecutive Seasons of 100+ RBI: Atlanta's dynasty was constructed around brilliant pitchers such as John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, and Tom Glavine. Often featuring a pedestrian lineup, Chipper Jones was expected to provide much of the club's offensive production. Never disappointing, he currently sits in 31st place among baseball's all-time RBI leaders and posted at least 100 RBI in each season from 1996-2003.

11 Division Titles from 1995-2005: During the magical run under manager Bobby Cox, the Atlanta Braves captured 14 consecutive division titles. Chipper Jones was a key component of 11 of these teams from 1995 to 2005. Though the club has since missed the playoffs in 5 of 6 years, it is appropriate that the playoff-bound Braves will compete for the pennant in Chipper's final season.

Capturing 2008 N.L. Batting Title: Jones exceeded .300 during 10 seasons and owns an impressive .304 career average. He will finish a little less than 300 shy of 3,000 total hits due to many injuries sustained in the past decade. However, Chipper defied the clock to re-emerge as a monster at the plate in 2008. Jones won that year's N.L. batting crown with a gaudy .364 mark and even flirted with .400 until the All Star break.

Dominance Over New York Mets: Fans of the division rival have long taunted this team-killer by chanting his birth name "Larry" from the stands. Though his career numbers are actually superior against the Philadephia Phillies, Chipper always thrived in big spots against the New York opponent he relished playing. In 242 career meetings with the Mets, Jones batted .311 with 49 HR, 167 runs, and 159 RBI.

Hitting .300 from Both Sides of the Plate: Baseball historian Jayson Stark cited this accomplishment as the top feat in the player's legendary career. Of all baseball's switch hitters who received at least 5,000 plate appearances, only Jones and early 20th century Hall-of-Famer Frankie Frisch maintained a .300 batting average from both sides of the plate. Though a natural righty, Chipper mastered switch hitting as a child and was equally feared by all pitchers.

2012 Farewell Season: When 20 year veterans retire, the reasons for departure are usually apparent. If these old guys could still play, they typically would. Yet, this description is not accurate for the future Braves' Hall-of-Famer, who earned his way onto this year's N.L. All-Star squad. Though his numbers have declined, they remain solid and he could easily find work as a designated hitter. Yet, his rare loyalty to Atlanta (which included multiple pay cuts to keep the team competitive) has not gone unnoticed. Every opponent has taking the chance to salute this slugger upon his final trip to a particular ballpark. Highlights of Chipper's farewell season have already included a 5 hit game, a 2 HR game, and a pair of dramatic walk-off home runs.

Sources:

Yahoo! Sports, Baseball-reference.com, ESPN.com.

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A graduate of Georgia State University, Jeff Briscoe lived in Atlanta for the better part of a decade and witnessed many Chipper Jones home runs at Turner Field. Jones remains one of his favorite players.

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