Chipper Q&A: His past and future, on and off field

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Chipper Jones' 17 years of service with the Braves is the longest for any current major league player with one team.

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – If Chipper Jones is not a lion in winter, he’s damn sure a lion in late autumn. He’ll be 39 in April and his 17 years of major league service with one team is the most for any active player, one more than the Yankees’ Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada, or Boston’s Tim Wakefield.

He’s an Atlanta icon, the longest-serving uniformed Brave now with Bobby Cox retired from managing. Jones ranks third among switch-hitters with 436 homers and second with a .306 average, and he leads the majors with 206 game-winning RBI since 1995.

Widely considered to be one of the two or three best players to ever wear an Atlanta Braves uniform, Jones will likely be elected into the Baseball Hall of Famer someday.

But for now, he’s got his sights set on immediate goals. Jones is coming off season-ending surgery in August to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. He set out to defy skeptics who didn’t think he could come back strong, and so far he’s done that.

He’s had one of his best spring trainings, ranked among National League leaders with a .407 average, eight doubles, four homers and 15 RBIs in 59 at-bats before Monday..

I sat down with Jones for a candid, wide-ranging Q&A as the Braves prepared to leave spring training and get the season underway. This is the first part of the full interview, a smaller version of which is running in the Tuesday print edition of the AJC.

The second part of the full interview will be posted here Tuesday. Here we go:

Were you always the best player on your teams as a kid?

No. I played on a lot of teams where I played with older guys. When I was in Little League and 9 years old, I played with 11- and 12-year-olds. When I was 13, I was playing with 15- and 16-year-olds. When I got to the American Legion, I was 14 or 15 playing with 17- and 18-year-olds.

I think that was a big part of my development, the fact that all the way up through my adolescent years, I was playing against older, better talent and having to up my game to be able to hang with them.

What about as a pro?

Oh, no. I mean, on certain days back in the day, probably. But not on a consistent basis. Not on a day when we were playing the Giants or things like that. But I like to try and give off the impression that I was. [Jones smiles.)

I was just talking about on your own team.

Oh, on my team? You play with the [Greg] Madduxes and [Tom] Glavines, you play with the McGriffs and Terry Pendletons, guys like that, it would be awfully brash to say you were the best player on the field.

How has the perception of you changed over the years?

[Takes deep breath.] I don’t know, that would be hard to say. You would be something you would have to poll the city of Atlanta on. Certainly I would hope that people would say I’ve continued to be a leader and a winner. I think I’ve kind of transformed from a young kid that kind of kept his mouth shut and just followed the lead of the veterans, to being a good mentor for the young guys here later on in my career. But again, that’s not for me to say.

If you hadn’t become a baseball player, what would you be doing today?

I would probably have one or both of Chip [Caray] and Joe [Simpson]’s jobs. I wanted to be a broadcaster bad. I was going to major in communications. If I couldn’t be in the game I wanted to be close to it. I felt like my knowledge of the game was upper-echelon. As far as whether I could relay it to the people, I don’t know. But it was something that I would have liked to have given a whirl.

So are you more inclined to do that or to coach when you’re done playing? Or neither?

Just because it would probably be part-time, I would probably enjoy broadcasting more. Obviously coaching, that’s a full-time thing and it’d be like I was still playing, to my family. If I could get a part-time gig doing some Braves home games, that would be very enticing to me.

Did you always want to be a ballplayer most of all?

Yeah, I always wanted to play baseball. I played all sports growing up, but in the spring I knew where my bread was buttered and what I enjoyed working at the most, and that was baseball.

When did baseball become your favorite sport?

That’s hard to say. Gosh, I loved playing football. I had a blast playing football, though I didn’t necessarily enjoy working at the game of football. I loved going into the gym and shooting hoops, but basketball was kind of a pipe dream, because basketball season interrupted baseball season, and I just couldn’t have that.

Among switch-hitters, Jones ranks second all-time with a .306 average and third with 436 home runs, behind  Mickey Mantle (536) and Eddie Murray (504).

Among switch-hitters, Jones ranks second all-time with a .306 average and third with 436 home runs, behind Mickey Mantle (536) and Eddie Murray (504).

I think I probably would have enjoyed working at the game of basketball, probably would have had a ton of fun playing the game of basketball, especially as good a team as we had at my high school. We won state two out of three years that I was there, and I know I could have contributed to those teams, but I couldn’t because it went eight or 10 games into the baseball season.

Were you a good football player?

I was an all-state wide receiver in high school, and my senior year I led the state of Florida in catches.

What’s the best advice you ever got from one or both of your parents?

Let’s see. My dad always told me never forget where you came from. Not just mentally, but monetarily; always help the people that helped you get to where you are, don’t forget about them. That’s something I’ve always tried to incorporate into some of my charities, where I give back to the place and the area and the people that gave me such great opportunities when I was a kid.

And one thing my mom always said was, have that necessary arrogance when you walk out there on the field. You might not be the best player on the field, but when you walk out there, at least you think you are.

Biggest regret that you care to share with us?

Probably early on in my career, not being more private. You know, I lived a lot of my personal life on the front page of the sports section early on in my career. If I had things to do over again, I would have kept that a lot more private.

How about professionally, any regrets?

Jones said the best pitcher he ever saw was the guy on the far right in glasses, Greg Maddux.

Jones said the best pitcher he ever saw was the guy on the far right in glasses, Greg Maddux.

I can’t really say that I would change any decision that I made professionally. I’m thoroughly content with the career that I’ve had up to this point.

Who’s the best position player you ever played with?

Wow, that’s tough. That is really tough. [Long pause, head down.]. I would say Gary Sheffield, Andruw Jones and … probably Terry Pendleton.

Best pitcher?

Doggie. Maddux.

Best player you ever played against?

... and the best player Jones played against was Barry Bonds.

... and the best player Jones played against was Barry Bonds.

Barry Bonds.

Best pitcher you’ve faced?

That’s a toss-up. Probably Roger Clemens would be at the top. Pedro[Martinez] would be 1A. Not including Maddux; I never faced [Maddux] when he was with Chicago [before Maddux joined the Braves].

What pitcher owned you that people wouldn’t have expected to have handled you the way he did?

Woody Williams. I think I was 0-for-21 or 0-for-22 before I finally got him, and I think I ended up 2-for-28 or 2-for-30, something like that. I mean bad numbers.

Best pitcher that you ever hit well, past or present?

Randy. Randy Johnson.

Now that Bobby’s out of the dugout, have you thought anymore about what was his bigget impact on you?

I’ve often thought about it, the consistency that he displays on a daily basis. It doesn’t matter. Five-game winning streak, five-game losing streak, same attitude, same mentality – today’s the day we’re either going to break the streak, or continue the streak. Just his consistency every day is what will be missed.

What’s the transition been like to Fredi Gonzalez, for you and for the team?

Simple. There have been some little differences down here [at spring training]. There’s been a little more attention to detail, as far as situational play. That has been a little different..But the fact of the matter is that we come in here for a few hours every morning, it’s fast-paced, you get your work in, you work your tail off for those three hours, and you’re done.

Not a lot of rules. You can tell a lot about where and how Bobby has influenced Fredi. I think that would have been the only manager that could have come in here and made the transition as easy as it has been, for both player and coaches.

Which baseball player do you respect most for how he’s handled himself, personally and professionally?

Probably [Derek] Jeter. He’s a guy that is in the biggest market in America. He’s won numerous championships. He’s handled it with class and grace. He’s kept his name out of the newspapers and tabloids. He’s kept his private life private.

Asked which player he admires most for how he's handled himself on and off he field, Chipper says it's Derek Jeter.

Asked which player he admires most for how he's handled himself on and off he field, Chipper says it's Derek Jeter.

Just having gotten to know him over the past couple of[World Baseball Classics], you really realize why he is where he is and why he is who he is. He deserives every accolade that he gets. He’s a great, great ambassador for his team and the game.

Does he make you at all jealous?

Well, who wouldn’t be jealous? And there was a time in my career where there was, you know, some animosity there. But like the old saying goes, you can’t judge a book by its cover. Once I got to know the guy, I love the guy to death now, and I’m honored to call him a friend.

(Pt. 2 of the Chipper Q&A is available here.)

– David O’Brien, Braves/MIB Blog

164 comments Add your comment

eskippy

March 28th, 2011
4:29 pm

Clayton H

March 28th, 2011
4:33 pm

Great stuff. Feel fortunate to have had a player like Chipper Jones on the Braves for all these years.

me

March 28th, 2011
4:33 pm

treeeeesss

March 28th, 2011
4:35 pm

good stuff. i guess we can look forward to chipper broadcasting a little….certainly has to better than brian jordan.

mikey_mike

March 28th, 2011
4:35 pm

wheelz007

March 28th, 2011
4:40 pm

Nice work DOB.

wheelz007

March 28th, 2011
4:41 pm

I know a lot of people rag on Chipper, but he’s been a great player for a long, long time.

We’re going to miss him when he’s gone.

wheelz007

March 28th, 2011
4:42 pm

I hope we send Chipper out with another championship this year. That would be a terrific ending to his career.

supsalemgr

March 28th, 2011
4:42 pm

Tough question about the best pitcher. I have to agree with him and that is not talking anything away from Glavine and Smoltz. I was glued to the TV when Maddux pitched as I considered him an “artist”.

Alan

March 28th, 2011
4:45 pm

Great interview, DOB. After Hank Aaron and maybe Dale Murphy, Chipper is my all-time favorite Brave, and I go way back to when the Braves bolted Boston for Milwaukee. That’s a whole lot of Braves. And after the Hammer, Chipper is hands-down the all-time best Braves everyday player. I know that doesn’t include pitchers, but that’s the way it should be. Pitchers are a separate animal, so to speak. Chipper also is a sure-fire, first-ballot Hall of Famer. I really hope he stays healthy this year and leads the Braves to the post-season and (let’s all hope) to the World Series. Thanks again for your great work this spring, David. Safe travels.

Supes

March 28th, 2011
4:52 pm

Awesome interview so far DOB, just like the one with Fredi Gonzalez, thanks and looking forward to part 2!

njbraves

March 28th, 2011
4:54 pm

Anyone who rags on this guy is a fool. One of the greatest Braves of all time.

shmoe

March 28th, 2011
4:54 pm

chipper’s a good dude.

Voice of Reason

March 28th, 2011
4:54 pm

Man! Can’t wait until tomorrow. DOB, you make it a pleasure to read your posts, and now you even have us anticipating even more what’s next! Have always thought that Chipper was one of the more articulate ballplayers and appreciate how you have always been able to get the thoughtful side of him in your interviews. Again, great job!

BravesLover

March 28th, 2011
4:59 pm

No way does Chipper make it to the booth. He has no speaking ability and the number of “uhs” he utters is a disgrace. He sounds like someone who never went further than 6th grade. He obviously skips out on the person teams hire to present themselves to the public. All the knowledge in the world is useless if one cannot communicate. Hopefully we never have to listen to him on air. All the above can be said for Ron Gant who talks as though no one has a clue to the game and he has to use every old, tired cliche that has been used a gazillion times before. Gant is and Chipper would be an affront to anyone who knows the game and wants sharp, witty analysis. I cringe thinking about Gant getting more airtime this year. Maybe I should get xm radio and mute the tv.

Retired Soldier

March 28th, 2011
5:01 pm

Chipper is a class act. We Braves fans are spoiled to have a player like Chipper for so many years. Best of luck this year Chipper.

Unknown Hinson

March 28th, 2011
5:02 pm

@ njbraves – Fully agree

braves86

March 28th, 2011
5:07 pm

Love Chipper! So glad he’s making a comeback from the injury! Can’t wait to see what he can do! Opening day in 3 days!! Chop Chop!!

RHR

March 28th, 2011
5:08 pm

Thanks for this, DOB. I appreciate having an HOF’er play for my Braves for so long. You’ll never hear me get down on him, he can sit on the bench all season long with a hangnail and I’ll never criticize him. That’s how much respect I have for him as a player.

Younger Than That Now

March 28th, 2011
5:08 pm

Like I’ve said before… never count Chipper out. If he tells you that a hog can pick cotton, you go and hunt that hog a cotton sack.

When Chipper’s dad was at Stetson University my son was playing with an opposing university team who was at Stetson for a weekend series. It rained hard for two days, raining out the first two games, but our guys were able to take BP at Stetson’s covered cages. Who was there watching over things but Mr. Larry Jones. He was there teaching and coaching the opposing team’s hitters just like he would have been coaching Stetson’s hitters. Just doing what he does… it was second nature to him and you could tell that he really loved it.

I had always been a Chipper Jones fan, but I became a Larry Jones fan that day. As Chipper gracefully ages, you can see that the apple still doesn’t fall far from the tree!

GO BRAVES!!

Bravos10

March 28th, 2011
5:09 pm

awesome stuff.

JoshTown

March 28th, 2011
5:17 pm

Great interview DOB, and much love to #10.

glove51

March 28th, 2011
5:39 pm

Great qusetions, DOB! Loved it. Chipper is a great player and a great interview. I also think he’d make a great color commentator.

Pierson Brave

March 28th, 2011
5:45 pm

Younger: Larry has and will always be a great teacher of the game. Quite honestly, he is the most knowledgeable baseball person that I have ever known. Yes, the Chip didn’t fall far from the block. As a friend and fan I am so proud that Chipper has been able to regain his health and form on the ball field.

WilliamG

March 28th, 2011
5:47 pm

Corny to say, but this was a treat from two true artists of their games – DOB and Chipper.

Milt Famey

March 28th, 2011
5:54 pm

Thanks DOB and thanks #10. It’s been a pleasure to watch you give it 100% for all these years. Hope you finish strong.

Coach (2011 and Fredi G. a GO!)

March 28th, 2011
5:55 pm

Excellent stuff O’Brien.

Chipper is simply Hall of Fame all the way, both in talent and as a person. Something we as fans never really had an insight into until I read about it was Chippers first knee injury. He lost a step after the first surgery and rehab. Think about that for a second. The man lost a full step and still put up the numbers necessary for Cooperstown. What if the knee injury had never happened? What would Chippers numbers look like today. It’s really amazing to think about.

Alan

March 28th, 2011
5:56 pm

Braves Lover: You’re a fool. Ex-players have been analysts and “color commentators” almost since the beginning of recorded history. Ever hear of Dizzy Dean, Pee Wee Reese and Richie Ashburn? Color commentators, all of them. Not linguists like you. Colorful characters, though, and they knew the game. And they were fun to listen to. If you want perfect grammar and intonation, go take an English class at your local community college. Otherwise, keep quiet and go take a walk. Chipper Jones knows the game of baseball, and he communicates very well, thank you. And he has a great sense of humor. If he chooses to pursue a career in broadcasting, I think he’ll do an outstanding job.

falke

March 28th, 2011
5:56 pm

Just Pat

March 28th, 2011
6:10 pm

How can you be a “Braves Lover” and be so negative about one of the best players the Braves have EVER had? *shaking head* I just don’t understand it. :-(

Just Pat

March 28th, 2011
6:12 pm

DOB

Thanks for the great blog. Was wondering what you’d do after the rainout……shoulda known you’d be FINE!

JoeBravesFan

March 28th, 2011
6:12 pm

Can’t see Chipper as a broadcaster…he mumbles too much. He’s got a great knowledge of baseball, which would be better applied to coaching than broadcasting. I’m definitely pulling for him this year!

Rich in Decatur

March 28th, 2011
6:18 pm

@BravesLover

I get what you mean about Chip’s “uhs” in interviews, but I feel like those are on the spot type situations, when he just finished a game and hasn’t had time to prepare. Of course broadcasters have to be sharper than “uh,” and that would come with time for Chipper, but they also have to do a lot of research to kind of put on a show with a setlist of knowledge.

Chipper was on College Gameday a couple years ago to give the celebrity picks, and you could tell he had done his homework and practiced his lines to the point that you would have thought he was a regular member of the show. If he could translate that analysis into a baseball game, I think fans would love it.

Just Pat

March 28th, 2011
6:18 pm

*taking a deep breath*….Chipper has always performed well regardless of where he’s played and I have a feeling he’d perform JUST as well in a broadcast booth because he would “train” for it. Most interviews with him have been totally impromptu and maybe he HAS “stumbled” a bit, but knowing what was expected out of him as a broadcaster, he’d DO it.

Chi-Town Braves

March 28th, 2011
6:20 pm

Longtime Chipper Fan, but I never knew he was an All State Wide Reciever? I wonder if Derosa ever threw some spirals to him before games. Good stuff, thanks DOB!

Just Pat

March 28th, 2011
6:20 pm

Rich

Yeah…..something like that was what I was TRYING to say. :-)

GovClintonTyree

March 28th, 2011
6:22 pm

Wow. You don’t usually get answers to those questions. Nice job, DOB.

I was at Glavine’s and Maddux’s ceremonies at Turner, and as a pitching aficionado, I obviously had a great deal of respect for two of the greatest of our generation.

When they do the same for Chipper, I may bawl like a baby. Truly the face of the organization for the last ten years, a first ballot HOFer, and a great dude.

And a smart dude. Nobody knows more about hitting than Chipper Jones. I’d be interested to hear his insights on the broadcasts. I expect Joe Simpson will move seamlessly into the play-by-play role in limited time this year; perhaps that’s a precursor to opening up some time for a new color guy.

GovClintonTyree

March 28th, 2011
6:24 pm

I agree with those who are saying he’d clean up his delivery and diction if he got that job. Tell you what, he’s very perceptive, funny and smart. I think he’d be great.

GovClintonTyree

March 28th, 2011
6:26 pm

Corny to say, but this was a treat from two true artists of their games – DOB and Chipper. – William G.

Spot on. Looking forward to part two.

GovClintonTyree

March 28th, 2011
6:30 pm

Younger Than and Pierson, thanks for the memories on Larry Jones. I heard him on an interview with Chris Dimino on Atlanta radio (Dimino is a true baseball guy and does his homework) and it was easy to hear a lot of the qualities you’ve mentioned and to see them manifest themselves in his son.

I have an eight-year old son, a junior, and I should be so fortunate to have a son who takes what I’m trying to give him and turns into a fine young man. Your stories really strike at my core. Thanks.

LTBF

March 28th, 2011
6:41 pm

Good stuff DOB.

Brave New World

March 28th, 2011
6:46 pm

I can’t say Chipper was ever my favorite Brave, but he has been one helluva player for his career. Chipper is a baseball player through and through. I hope he has a great year in 2011 and comes back and has a great 2012. He is a sure Hall of Famer, no doubt. As far as his ability to join a broadcasting team after his playing days are over, I would think he would be a very good broadcaster – he has tremendous knowledge of the game, and he has always seemed cofortable in front of the cameras. BTW: Nice interview, Mr. O’Brien.

tman

March 28th, 2011
7:01 pm

Great questions and answers! I ran into Chipper once outside of the game, in a normal setting. I was hesitant to ask for his autograph, being an older dude and not a hot chick or something…LOL I finally got up the nerve and was pleasantly surprised at how cool he was. Chatted and signed whatever I wanted, very relaxed. I contrast that with how disappointed I’ve been paying for Smoltz’s autograph at his hunger drives. The money was no problem for me and his cause. The disappointment, 3 years in a row, was how arrogant and unfriendly the guy was. It really made me wonder why someone would volunteer for stuff like that, who was not even a good ambassador of the gig. I still like Smoltzy as a player, but Chipper is the better dude in my book for how he treats his fans. May sound corny, but us older, lifetime baseball fans get a kick out of meeting these guys maybe more than kids do!

BradInHuntsvegas

March 28th, 2011
7:02 pm

Hey DOB, I hope pretty soon I get to see one of your patented statistical riffs while describing a Chipper Jones hot streak.

UGASlobberknocker

March 28th, 2011
7:08 pm

What I love about Chipper is that while Maddux, Smoltz and Glavine were on the team, he was a stud, but not the leader. Once those Maddux and Glavine left, he stepped into the leadership role and has become a rock and mentor for the young guys. IMO, his growth in that regard makes him just as valuable today as he was in 1999. He is Mr. Indispensable for the Braves, no matter what he is hitting at the time.

He a sure fire 1st ballot Hall of Famer. The Braves and the Atlanta fans are lucky to have him.

p.s. Has anyone seen Todd Van Poppell lately?

Jaime

March 28th, 2011
7:10 pm

I hope Chipper can get in the 500´s club

gotigers72

March 28th, 2011
7:12 pm

Great interview David. I have kept up with Chipper since Bobby Cox drafted him. He is indeed a class act and a great baseball player. He always wanted to stay a Brave and may have given up a dollar or two to remain a Brave.

I watched him for a whole year when he played for the Greenville [S.C.] Braves, and it was not hard to tell then that he was going to be a great major leaguer and he has been. It was never about Chipper, it was always about the Braves and them winning games. “Hoss” has been a real face of the franchise and 5 years after he retires he will join Aaron, Mathews, Spahn and all other Braves Hall of Famers in Cooperstown. Thanks Chipper for all of the thrills that you have given us Braves fans. Thanks for being loyal and thanks for being a winner!

Note: That AA Greenville Braves team that I watched so much ['92 I think] also had Javy Lopez and Klesko among others. They won 100+ games and the Southern League Championship. Winning 100 games when you only play 144 is quite an accomplishment. That was quite a fun summer.

Ronald Millsaps

March 28th, 2011
7:15 pm

Several points to consider concerning Craig Kimbrel and his obvious Game-3 distraction (by the way, this closer-by-committee angle is never a good idea): 1) You should’ve pitched aggressively, just as you had before. You have the God-given talent required to close a game. Don’t think the surface scenario should impact this fact at all…. It absolutely doesn’t. 2) A couple of the calls against you were debatable and would’ve swung the game mightily. 3) Diory Hernandez, not Brooks Conrad, should’ve been at second. 4) The umpire at second shouldn’t have impeded Conrad’s line of sight as he did. 5) The timing of pulling you out was absolutely terrible; if Bobby was going to do it, he should’ve done it sooner. At the point he pulled you out, he should’ve left you in. 6) Pulling a power pitcher for a Mike Dunn-style pitcher is not a good move in the ninth inning. 7) (By far the biggest mistake of all) There was not one visit to the mound before pulling you out, which is absolutely inexcusable. You clearly were off your game and could’ve used a moment to, if nothing else, regroup.

Not the most-professional interview, actually, and Derek Jeter is overrated.

AdirondackDave

March 28th, 2011
7:29 pm

Outstanding work, DOB. It’s going to be great, driving down the road to Cooperstown in 6-8 years for his induction to the Hall of Fame.

eric

March 28th, 2011
7:30 pm

Dave,

Is there a place where I can buy a print of the picture of Chipper that you used? I’d like to have one.

DiamondbackMac

March 28th, 2011
7:31 pm

Ronald the Sap

Give us the questions that you would have asked? Remember, you have to ask questions that will receive answers and not cause you to be banned from the stadium.

DiamondbackMac

March 28th, 2011
7:41 pm

Ronald the Sap

Jeter overrated? Lifetime Batting Average: .314 Lifetime OBP: .385 Lifetime OPS: .837 Lifetime Fielding: .976

NorCal Brave

March 28th, 2011
7:42 pm

Interesting stuff, DOB. I think Chipper could be coached into being more articulate and would make a terrific, insightful broadcaster. Plus he could be available to give individual players guidance from time to time.

Peter

March 28th, 2011
7:48 pm

My first MLB game I ever went to was at Fulton County Stadium in 1995, Chipper’s rookie year. I was 11. He hit a home run in that game. For as long as I have been a Braves fan Chipper has been there. Ill never forget 1999 and his success against the Mets. He is probably the 2nd greatest switch hitter in history, only behind Mantle. But most importantly, of all the great players we have had over the last 20 years, he is the only one who has played every single one of his games with a tomahawk across his chest. Here’s hoping we can get one more title with Chipper Jones on the team. GO BRAVES!!

Day Man

March 28th, 2011
7:53 pm

CHIPPER JONES IS THE MAN. WE SHOULD ALL BE THANKFUL HE SPENT HIS ENTIRE CAREER IN ATLANTA WHEN HE COULDVE TAKEN MORE MONEY TO PLAY FOR ANYONE ELSE.

When I have kids, I will show them nothing but Chipper Jones footage so they can emulate it. Best switch hitter of all time (arguably) and a hero of Atlanta.

Braves 2011 WORLD SERIES CHAMPS!!!

1 FOR THE ROOKIE SEASON, 1 FOR THE LAST

Jay Dubu

March 28th, 2011
8:04 pm

Aren’t we glad that #10 didn’t retire…

Let’s hope he keeps the wood swing like it has been during ST!!

northbeach Scott

March 28th, 2011
8:04 pm

DOB, well done on the Chipper interview. Appreciate the insight and the personalization of Chipper.

I had the good fortune of having season tickets in section 118 in 2007 and 2008, right behind third base. Saw Chipper up close and personal every night. He really earned the Gold Glove at 3B in 2008–it was a crying shame that David Wright won it that year. He was really at another level that season in the field.

He was very good with the fans and the opposing teams dugout. He has a good way and is always professional on the field. He gained my absolute respect and admiration as a result of what I observed.

Larry

March 28th, 2011
8:12 pm

Dave,

Just one question…did he hurt anything during the interview?

GovClintonTyree

March 28th, 2011
8:22 pm

Har, har. Bang fist on table.

kral

March 28th, 2011
8:39 pm

GREAT..thanks again Dave for a little more insight into a great Atl.. Brave…little did I know when he blew out a leg would we fans get to enjoy such a wonderful career..Hoping he adds to the memories in 2011

kral

March 28th, 2011
8:40 pm

I’m talking about seeing the first injury of his storied career

Bravesfan54

March 28th, 2011
8:42 pm

Excellent, excellent interview, Mr.Dave. Thank you for sustaining my long, long-held interest in this team at the highest level. (I still have my ‘51 Eddie Mathews and Ebba St. Claire Boston Cards, my ‘54 Chuck Tanner, my ‘55 Aaron card- I love this team, what can I say!)

Ray k.

March 28th, 2011
8:48 pm

tman,
I wish you hadn’t written that about Smoltzy. My image of him is now tarnished.
I always heard Diaz was a real s.o.b. with the fans, too.

Soutern in SoCal

March 28th, 2011
8:54 pm

If Chipper is healthy and productive this year, I can see him playing in ‘12. He’s under contract thru then, and he could be close to 500 homers, and as much as he’s not phased or motivated by those things, or so he says, I bet it would be hard to walk away with a chance to end up 2nd in home runs to his idol, Mickey Mantle. And he’s still one of the most productive 3rd basemen in the game, even if we only get 120-140 games a year out of him…

Ray k.

March 28th, 2011
8:55 pm

During our law school mid terms, which are not graded, we were allowed to write pseudonyms at the top of our tests to maintain anonymity. However, the plan backfired–there were 130 Charlie Sheens. People had to sift through the pile for a half hour.

I spotted my test right away: “Chipper Jones.”

Jeff R

March 28th, 2011
9:05 pm

Nice interview. Thanks, DOB.

Vabravesfan

March 28th, 2011
9:12 pm

Great article. Chipper has been my favorite player for a long time. I remember seeing him as a youngster with Durham playing shortstop. He was as fast as anybody I have ever seen.

joekill

March 28th, 2011
9:20 pm

well done dob and as for chipper he is a class act and my fave brave ever since i was little gotta love ole numba 10 an icon a legend and a future hall of famer

DC Braves Fan

March 28th, 2011
9:27 pm

Terrific interview, DOB. Looking forward to a good year for Chipper, and if it’s the last — and I hope it isn’t — let’s make it a great one.

Who cares?

March 28th, 2011
9:59 pm

Andruw Jones & Barry Bonds? Chipper is daft.

tman

March 28th, 2011
10:14 pm

Ray k. Hey man, I wouldn’t let my experience ruin your opinion of Smoltzy. He might have liked you better…LOL I was just surprised how different 2 of my favorite Braves were face to face, that’s all. I know the interview and blog are about Chipper and I still say he’s cool, besides being a great ballplayer.

Rick

March 28th, 2011
10:18 pm

Anybody who could take Chip Caray’s place or Joe Simpson would not have to talk at all . Just silence would be such a relief from those blowhards . I never listen to them – if you want a treat , listen to Jim Powell on the radio and hear what a real baseball announcer sounds like !

[...] *Update: Sorry I forgot to put the link to the interview you can click here. [...]

urban redneck

March 28th, 2011
10:51 pm

can we pull up this blog from last season and see how many of these chipper lovers were calling him a bum halfway through last season? geeeee-sus.

larry is the last of his generation, and we’ll miss him alot. on that note, can you believe starting next year the team will “belong” to b-mac? i’m getting old……….

kral

March 28th, 2011
11:11 pm

ChippersBiggestFan

March 28th, 2011
11:15 pm

I love you, Chipper! Great stuff DOB. I love Chipper so much, my first son will be named after him.

kral

March 28th, 2011
11:18 pm

I have a problemo..with markie and shultzie they are both now blocking my blogs,,,is DO next I do not known but the two ajc housewives are opening up a brand new can of worms…freedom of speech…just like they enjoy…sorry sportsfans you do not understand the frustration or arrogance..or cowardice

billmaier

March 28th, 2011
11:22 pm

Chipper could do anything he wants and be great at it- if he wants to broadcast it would be great listening to him, cant believe some of the negative braves fans on here. At least from his spring a lot of the tlak has died out about how he couldn’t play and would hurt the team. I for one belive that chipper is on of the greatrest braves ever- right up there with hank, and eddie matthews–i have had the pleaure to see all three play. Good luck chipper i am sure you will have another great year . hit over 300 with plenty hrs and rbis to shut up the critics, it has been a pleasure to watch you all these years, looking forward to this season and you in the playoffs once again. You have always been a class act gave it all to the game, and the ultimate team player. Good look and God bsess .a brave diehard fand since 1957.

Pameee

March 28th, 2011
11:23 pm

Great interview DOB, thanks for all you’ve done this spring.

kral

March 28th, 2011
11:31 pm

Can’t wait for the follow-up,thanks again Dave…sorry about the other blog..and life might be better without the housewives…just hate to give those 2 a free rein..take schultzie interview earlier with CJ..nice interview…turned it sour ….focused on one comment…turned it into a housewives blog…please excuse me fans..I have no other outlet…

Murphy47

March 29th, 2011
12:38 am

Damn…what a stud. Been Braves fan for about 25 years…it will never be the same when he’s gone. Lets enjoy the last 2-3 years of him.

myra

March 29th, 2011
12:45 am

LUV YA CHIPPA!
I wish we had won more championships with u and the Skipper here. But who doesn’t? Everybody wants the ring.
You stayed with us when u didn’t have to and we are grateful. Its so nice to have a player for the whole of their career like the old days.
“and now Chipper Jones at the plate……..”
I’m so there.
See yall Opening Day @TED

A-Ville Ranger

March 29th, 2011
12:54 am

While I stand by my remarks that Chipper should have retired after the last injury. It’s an honor he’ll spend his whole career an Atlanta Brave. He’s our Stan Musial, that is a very rare deal in both quality and quantity.

N8

March 29th, 2011
1:58 am

How can you not like Chipper? Doesn’t mean he was worth 14 million last year, or will be this year or next (if he hangs around). But as a fan of the Braves, you can’t help but like his honesty and willingness to discuss things.

I often wonder how different things would have been for him and the team if he were allowed to run his mouth the way you get the feeling he would have liked to without all the veterans around? Might have been worse, might have been better. Hard to say.

But bottom line is that he’s not only one of the greatest Braves of all time (if not THE greatest everyday Atlanta Brave – hard to say he’s better or more important than Hank). But of al the Braves to play their entire career in Atlanta, he and Murphy are one in the same. Only wish Murphy could have been on as many winning teams as Chipper. Same goes for Smoltz (yeah – I realize Murphy and Smoltz moved on and played elswhere but those seasons don’t really count to me – so minimal compared to their entire body of work.

But coming from a guy that rags on Chipper’s current contract (based on what little Wren has to work with in terms of salary), I’d be pretty silly to not appreciate what Chipper has meant to the city of Atlanta and the Braves fans all over the country.

I’m not afraid to admit that I’ll miss him when he’s gone from the game as a player.

Just truly hope that his contract doesn’t hinder the team and that he doesn’t embarrass himself on the way out the door. That would be a shame. Though I’m also of the belief that a guy can’t tarnish his “legacy” by hanging on too long. No matter how poorly he’d play this year or next, it will NEVER take away from what he did earlier in his career. It just might temporarily make some forget about it until you’ve had time to reflect.

Kind of like Andruw. NOTHING he did at the plate those last couple of years will ever take away from how brilliant he was in CF and a joy to watch.

Chipper is in the same boat. It’s been a privelage as a fan to watch his entire career closely. Here’s to hoping he goes out with a bang. For his sake, the team’s sake and the fans too.

N8

March 29th, 2011
2:00 am

Forgot to say it, but it doesn’t need to be said. Or shouldn’t NEED to be said.

But nice job DOB on the interview. Thanks for sharing it with us.

bowilly

March 29th, 2011
3:25 am

We have been blessed watching Chipper in Braves uniform. I also agree that Chipper would do a better job than Brian Jordan. He can do games at Gwinnet (Triple A announcer) Of course, shame we can’t have Smoltzy full time announcing Braves games.

[...] Atlanta Braves [...]

KB

March 29th, 2011
3:45 am

How can he rank Terry Pendelton higher than McGriff? C’Mon Chipper…

Foghorn Leghorn

March 29th, 2011
4:49 am

Not surprising, another fluff piece on an over the hill, injury prone, past his prime, welfare-playing-time player now known as “The Dipper”.

By the way, “great” Spring Training numbers do not always mean great numbers in the regular season. It wasnt like “The Dipper” had to play 14 games in 14 days to accumulate those numbers. He got to hit against a lot of inferior pitching (as do most players in Spring Training do)..as well as take every couple of days off….and come out early in most games.

Let’s see how his body holds up come summer. I’d be willing to bet a nice wager that he’ll have at least one stint on the DL by the All-Star Break.

Let’s see how his body holds up, even after getting what’s going to be at least one day off a week this season.

When the regular season starts, and he has to face ML pitching (in other words, not career Minor Leaguers or Never Will Bes that he put up big Spring numbers against)…..let’s see if he has truly rebounded (which I suspect he wont). I’d be happy to be wrong…however I just dont see it happening.

Foghorn Leghorn

March 29th, 2011
4:58 am

Sure, I appreciate what “The Dipper” did for the Braves when he used to play like Chipper Jones. However, those days are long gone. Having him bat 3rd in the line-up will only slow down our offense and not get maximum production out of our line-up (especially given the fact that Jason Heyward is by far a more feared hitter…as well as has the speed to put a lot of fear into opposing pitchers).

Being critical of “The Dipper” today…does not mean that one isnt a Braves fan. A number of us TRUE BRAVES FANS are more worried about what the Braves do TODAY….then we do about what happened in the 90’s.

Back in August of 1990…Dale Murphy was batting clean-up for the Braves and playing right field..while David Justice was languishing at 1st base and hitting in the bottom of the order. After the Braves traded Murphy (who was my favorite play growing up)…..Justice was moved to right field (his natural position) and inserted in the clean-up part of the order. He smacked 20 homers over the final 2 months of the season and won Rookie of the Year award….setting the stage for newly hired GM John S. to bring in free agents Pendleton, Bream and Belliard..as well as trade for Otis Nixon to build around David Justice for the 1991 season. We all know what happened that year.

Foghorn Leghorn

March 29th, 2011
5:08 am

The late, great Bill Walsh once said that “it’s better to get rid of a player a year early…than a year late”. He applied this reasoning by trading Joe Montana, Roger Craig and Ronnie Lott (even though all 3 had a couple of decent seasons left). 49er fans ripped management for “dumping” their heroes….players that helped them win 4 Super Bowls.

However, Walsh recognized that the time is ripe to replace those aging veterans when you have capable replacements. I would say that Steve Young, Ricky Waters and Merton Hanks were capable replacements for those players who were a former shell of themselves.

Green Bay did the same thing when they traded Brett Farve to the Jets. Sure, Farve had 2 good years left in him (he had an MVP like year in 2009 for Minnesota). However, it also allowed Aaron Rodgers 2 years to develop as a starting QB…resulting in a Super Bowl Championship this year for the Packers.

While the Braves wont be able to trade The Dipper (no team is that stupid, lol)…they certainly can replace him in the #3 hole with Jason Heyward (who is more than capable of doing the job of hitting 3rd in the batting order).

It seems that dropping Chipper to the #6 or #7 hole of the batting order a year early makes more sense…than waiting to do it a year too late…especially with Heyward around.

Pete's Dragon

March 29th, 2011
5:38 am

Foghorn, stop rambling. Christ. No one’s paying attention you cynical old fool.

Long live Larry Wayne!

Foghorn Leghorn

March 29th, 2011
6:58 am

Pete’s Dragon…..You are free to tell me to “stop rambling”…..just as I’m free to politely decline your “request”.

I put my opinions out there because I want to offer a “fair and balanced” objective way of looking at what will help give the Braves the best chance of winning.

I cannot imagine how having Heyward bat 6th instead of 3rd improves the Braves chances of winning ball games.

Instead, “The Dipper’s” jock sniffers (so-called Braves fans and Atlanta media types included)….place their loyalty to a player that is WAY past his prime, over the best interests of the team when it comes to putting the best line-up that will maximize their chances to win.

It never ceases to amaze me the level that people just cant let certain things go. If many of you had your way back in June of 2009, Tom Glavine would have been called up in early June…instead of Tommy Hanson (who went on to win the Pitcher of the Month award for the month of June). So called Braves fans were ripping Braves management for not giving Glavine what they felt he deserved (another chance to show that even Garth Brooks could tell off on Glavine, lol).

How soon we forget. Remember, it’s better to get rid of a player a year early…then a year late, especially when you have a capable replacement (like Heyward hitting 3rd).

Drop “The Dipper” to 6th.

Foghorn Leghorn

March 29th, 2011
7:12 am

If Derek Lowe’s 2010 September and October wasnt a mirage..then the Braves will have a very formidable rotation. Even with “The Dipper” clogging the 3rd spot in the order (until one of his body parts breaks down to the point where he’ll have to go on the DL…resulting in Heyward moving to the #3 spot of the order)….the Braves should still score runs.

My concerns are defense (we could challenge to have the worst defense in 2011)….as well as middle relief. It should be interesting to see how the co-closers combo of Kimbrel and Venters plays itself out. We could have the makings of our own version of the late 80’s/early 90’s lefty/righty hard throwing Reds combo of Rob Dibble/Randy Myers. I’d be happy with that, lol.

Another problem with having The Dipper bat 3rd is the fact that he will be taken out late in games for a defensive replacement (meaning that Conrad or Hicks would be inserted in the 3rd slot of the order. I’d much rather have Heyward batting 3rd in late game situations….and having Conrad or Hicks hit 6th when they come in for The Dipper as defensive replacement.

Foghorn Leghorn

March 29th, 2011
7:33 am

Boston had the sense to drop David Ortiz to the #6 spot of the order after signing Carl Crawford and trading for Adrian Gonzalez.

The Braves traded for Dan Uggla and saw the emergence of Jason Heyward. Yet The Dipper is still batting #3.

The Red Sox are more concerned with winning. The Braves are more concerned with pampering an injury prone, shell of his former self player.

Winning Now vs. Nostalgic memories. Many so-called Braves fans will choose the Nostalgic memories and hope that “The Dipper” will revert back to Chipper Jones. Pretty sad. Yet not surprising given the mentally of the weak minded and easily manipulated.

Packer Ed

March 29th, 2011
7:33 am

I am the most passionate die hard Milwaukee/Atlanta Brave fan and my favorite player in all of baseball was Todd Van Popel as he did not want to be a Brave so that may have helpd us select Chipper. What a talent and class act Mr. Jones has been and will be. Chipper Jones reminds me so much of what Bart Star was to the Green Bay Packers, abundance of talent on the field and tons of class. Chipper Jones will be the face of the Braves long after he retires.

David O'Brien

March 29th, 2011
7:50 am

Foghorn Leghorn: Chipper took your girlfriend or your lunch money in grade school. One of the two. Which?

JUSTA WIN

March 29th, 2011
7:54 am

CHIPPEE BROADCASTING??? ARE YOU KIDDING …HE TALKS LIKE HE HAS A CAN OF SNUFF IN HIS MOUTH…

ragnar danneskjold

March 29th, 2011
8:10 am

Great job, both interviewer and interviewee. Enjoyable reading.

Joe McNulty

March 29th, 2011
8:28 am

GREAT INTERVIEW! Looking forward to part 2. Chipper has been a great leader for the braves…I can’t wait to see what this brings. GO BRAVES.

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