Start building those rocking chairs and begin commissioning those oil paintings. We're about to have ourselves an old-fashioned farewell tour for Chipper Jones!
The longtime Atlanta Braves third baseman announced on Thursday morning that 2012 will be his final stand as a big leaguer. He plans to retire at the end of the season.
Jones, who will turn 40 on April 24, has had a rough spring. An awkward "fat" picture burned up the Internet at the beginning of camp and he briefly made headlines when he told reporters he wasn't sure if he could "make it through this year."
Jones later claimed he was only joking about retiring before the season — he said he'd never leave his teammates like that — but he's now given the Braves a year to find a new third baseman. It's the first time they've had to do that since 1995, the World Series title year that saw Jones — the No. 1 pick in the 1990 draft — take control of Atlanta's hot corner.
The rest of us, meanwhile, will get to celebrate Chipper as he piles one more season of statistics onto an 18-year, first-ballot resume that already includes a .304 career average, 454 home runs, one NL MVP award and seven All-Star appearances.
Jones will be feted in almost every National League city — think the Marlins will refuse to honor him like they did Bobby Cox? — and it will be well deserved. And in case you're wondering, his final game against the Mets in Queens will come on Sunday, Sept. 9. Considering the mutual admiration society that Jones has always held with Mets fans, that should be one memorable sendoff.
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