I'm always impressed by a pro baseball player who spends his whole career in a single city. Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones is one of those players, loyal to the Braves and to the Atlanta fans.
Jones signed with the Braves in 1990 and first played in "The Show" in 1993. I can remember watching him as a rookie as he led the Braves to a World Series win in 1995, looking like a proven superstar, not a player in his first World Series and first full major-league season.
After 19 seasons (he did not play in 1994 due to an injury), he will retire a Brave at the end of the 2012 season. His overall statistics -- 468 homers, 1,623 RBIs, and .304 career average -- are amazing, but he's also been a key part of Atlanta's postseason success. His postseason numbers are equally impressive: 13 homers, 47 RBIs, a .288 batting average, and a .411 on-base percentage.
Here are Chipper Jones' top 10 postseason moments:
1995 - National League Division Series performance against the Rockies
In his rookie season, at only 23 years old, Jones showed maturity while delivering results to help the Braves win the NLDS in four games against Colorado. (It was technically his rookie MLB season because he only played eight games in 1993).
1995 - National League Championship Series performance against the Reds
After helping the Braves beat Colorado, he continued his assault toward the World Series, helping the Braves sweep the Reds in the NLCS. Jones hit .438 with a home run and three RBIs.
1995 - Helping Braves win the World Series
1996 - National League Championship Series - Helping Braves come from behind to beat Cardinals
This great postseason moment started well; the Braves beat the Cardinals in the first game of the series, only to lose the next three. Then Jones helped Atlanta win three games in a row to win the NLCS and move on to the World Series. In the NLCS, Jones had four RBIs and hit .440, but he really turned up the heat in those final three games, going 4-for-11 with three RBIs.
1997 - National League Division Series - Helping Braves sweep Astros
Jones had some incredible numbers to help Atlanta beat Houston in the 1997 NLDS. He hit .500 with a home run and two RBIs, not to mention a .583 on-base percentage. He delivered those numbers in key moments when the team needed him.
1999 - National League Championship Series against Mets - Jones goes 4-for-9 with four home runs
In Game 1, Jones had two home runs in a Braves 2-1 win. He homered again in Game 2 along with two RBIs. He homered yet again in Game 3 along with three RBIs. Overall, he went 4-for-9 with four homers and seven RBIs.
1999 - National League Championship Series against Mets - Jones Says Mets fans can "Go Home and Put Their Yankee Stuff On"
After helping the Braves eliminate the Mets in the series, he rubbed salt into the wounds of Mets fans by telling them they could now put on their Yankees gear, meaning they followed whichever New York team was doing better (which, I think, is true).
2001 - Nation League Division Series - Helping Braves sweep Astros
Just like in 1997, Jones helped the Braves beat the Astros in the NLDS by delivering results in key moments. He hit a three-run homer in the top of the eighth in Game 1 to push the Braves toward an eventual 7-4 win. He had another two-run homer in Game 3 to help the Braves take the series.
2003 - National League Division Series game four against Chicago Cubs
In Game 4, Jones knocked in two homers and posted four RBIs to force the series to return to Atlanta (where the Braves lost the next game and the series).
2005 - National League Division Series - Two home runs against Astros in Game 1
It will be an exciting postseason in 2012 for Jones as he has not been there since 2005 (the Braves were there in 2010, but he was injured). In the 2005 NLDS, Jones smacked two home runs in the Braves' eventual 10-5 loss to the Houston Astros in Game 1.
A life-long fan of the game and student of the history of professional baseball, Freddy Sherman has great respect for players like Chipper Jones, who bring an old-school honor and fan loyalty to a game sorely lacking those elements. Sherman enjoys following and watching dramatic League-wide stories like Jones' retirement tour and Miguel Cabrera's quest for baseball's Triple Crown. He has lived in Los Angeles for twenty years and attends games frequently. You can follow him on Twitter - @thefredsherman.More from this contributor:
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