Alas, we may have seen our last of the great Chipper Jones

Chipper Jones leaves the playing field. For good? (AP photo)

Chipper Jones exits the playing field. For good? (AP photo)

They’ve been the two most frightening words for Braves fans for more than a decade: “Chipper’s hurt.” But not since the spring of 1994, when Chipper was still a kid waiting for his first full season of big-league arrival, has he been hurt this way.

Chipper’s hurt. Torn ACL. Surgery required. It gets no more chilling than that.

Later we will discuss at greater length what this means for the Braves, and obviously it means a lot, and none of it good. But here we must think first of the man: The second-best Atlanta Brave after Hank Aaron, already considering retirement at 38, his knee requiring reconstruction, his distinguished career perhaps at an abrupt end.

Chipper Jones wanted to go out on his terms. Every great ballplayer does. These were not the terms he had in mind. I know there’s a part of him that will want to have the surgery, do the rehab and try again to play. (Tom Glavine did the same, you’ll recall, and it ended badly.) I know there’s also the pragmatic part of Chipper, the part that will say, “That’s it. I’ve had enough.”

It will be intriguing to see what he decides. And it’s sad he has to decide anything. And if the whirling stop-and-throw in Minute Maid Park was indeed the final act of Chipper Jones as a player, at least he can take some tiny bit of solace in this: The final act of a great athlete was in fact a great play.

Cold comfort, I know. But on such a cheerless day, we take what we can find.

359 comments Add your comment

GTHorsie

August 12th, 2010
12:09 pm

Get well, Chipper! Braves need ya.

Peter

August 12th, 2010
12:12 pm

Great play from a great player. I hope its not the end but it very well maybe. Now some one needs to step up and fill the void left by this leader

ATLBravos

August 12th, 2010
12:13 pm

Sad day for all Braves fans.

John

August 12th, 2010
12:14 pm

Who is in the minors that will come up?

markie mark

August 12th, 2010
12:14 pm

Thanks for more memories than I can possibly remember, Chipper….

Sugar Hill

August 12th, 2010
12:14 pm

I feel so bad for Chipper Jones. He really did make many sacrifices over the years for this team, and, it really was not all about the money. Those detractors are wrong. He did everything he could.

Braves95WS

August 12th, 2010
12:14 pm

Mark, do you see the Braves trying to claim someone off the waivers to play 3b now? If not who do you think the Braves call up to fill Jones spot?

F-105 Thunderchief

August 12th, 2010
12:14 pm

I think he will retire. Now, let’s hope this team goes out there and wins one (more title) for the Skippper and Chipper.

Innocent Bystander

August 12th, 2010
12:14 pm

He’ll rehab it and make a comeback next year. He has torn the cover off the ball of late, which should give him hope for next year.

As I recall, an ACL tear isn’t but a 2-4 month full recovery. Even on a Chipper timeline, he’ll be ready by February.

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Will Brinson, Mark Bradley, ajc sports editor, Brett Israel, Aisha Martin and others. Aisha Martin said: RT @MarkBradleyAJC: A sobering day for the #braves: The great Chipper Jones might well have made his last play. http://bit.ly/bUbE1X [...]

74 Dawg

August 12th, 2010
12:16 pm

It’s just a damn shame.

KrishATL

August 12th, 2010
12:16 pm

i can’t remember the last time i was actually this sad, with regards to sports. he defined what the braves stood for almost 20 years. i’m 28 now, and i can tell u without a doubt, he was the reason i started loving baseball as a kid. hope i snap out of this nightmare…
we’ll see what the braves are really made of now, but the road just got a whole lot tougher. gluck to the rest of the braves. and God bless you Chipper…and thank you for everything.

shawn

August 12th, 2010
12:17 pm

Chipper has sacrificed many times for Braves more than Tom Glavine and other braves players. I wish him the best and fast recovery

Mark Bradley

August 12th, 2010
12:17 pm

I’m not sure the Braves have to make a waiver move. Prado could play third base. Omar Infante could stay at second base.

labalt

August 12th, 2010
12:17 pm

great play is an understatement….and having his parents right there to witness it all bring a tear to the eye

@ReanuKeeves

August 12th, 2010
12:18 pm

No way he plays next year. Let’s get him and Bobby another ring, name streets after them both, and have one hell of a parade on them in late October!!!

GO BRAVES!!!!

David

August 12th, 2010
12:18 pm

Prado to Third Base, Infante to start at Second for rest of season, call up Freeman for First and roll to the Playoffs!!!

Blueberry

August 12th, 2010
12:19 pm

I’m sad for Chipper but also proud and appreciative of all that he has done for our Atlanta Braves—whatever he decides, I support him. As for this team, it is NOT done by a long shot! We can use Brooks Conrad at third until Martin returns in a week or so—Infante is probably better at second than third. O’Flaherty will be back in a week or so to shore up the bullpen. I suggest Bobby only use Wagner in every other game like Saito to keep him fresh. Let’s win the World Series for Bobby and Chipper!

Paddy

August 12th, 2010
12:19 pm

Torn ACL at his age you are probably looking at 12 mons.!

Athens Mike

August 12th, 2010
12:19 pm

Just another reason to keep winning games and bring home a championship.

F-105 Thunderchief

August 12th, 2010
12:21 pm

Is Prado back? If not, when?

Kane337

August 12th, 2010
12:21 pm

Man, what a shame. Chipper has been a great player. If he decides to come back I hope the Braves allow him the opportunity.

My guess is when Prado gets back he will play 2nd base and Omar will get the job at 3rd base for the rest of the season.

RAMBLE ON!!!

August 12th, 2010
12:21 pm

He’s done, you can’t come back for an ACL at the age of 38, period.

Get well soon Chipper, you were a great Brave.

Jesus

August 12th, 2010
12:21 pm

I literally just shed a tear. I have been a Braves fan since ‘88 and he has always been and always will be my favorite player. I have no words!!!

Coop

August 12th, 2010
12:22 pm

Damn shame. May the baseball gods look down on this team with favor. They’re not the Yankees or Phillies. They haven’t tried to buy a championship. Don’t let this tragic loss of our hero derail the final magical ride of Bobby Cox and this TEAM.

Just Me

August 12th, 2010
12:22 pm

Move Glaus back to 3rd and bring up Freeman to handle 1st. Keep the bench the way it is. Remember that Glaus IS a 3rd baseman. Move him back over and give Freddy his chance. Hes ready.

Blueberry

August 12th, 2010
12:22 pm

I’m with David—I think it’s time to bring up Freemen, perhaps to platoon with Glaus. Onward and upward!

@CyberCox6

August 12th, 2010
12:23 pm

Boy that’s just tough to swallow, seeing one heck of a legend go down like that. Heard a snap in the dugout but thought it was Leo eating Pop Rocks again. Then I remembered Leo’s been gone for a while. #wheresLeo

mountain_jim

August 12th, 2010
12:24 pm

Very sad news. I was hoping he could keep playing during this special season. A season which just got a lot less special in my view. Thanks for everything Chipper!

He was feeling good and swinging such a strong bat these last few weeks too. :(

CJ

August 12th, 2010
12:25 pm

Now that 47 has been retired, make room for 29, 6, and 10.

Michael Scharff

August 12th, 2010
12:25 pm

Great article, MB.
To Larry Wayne Jones, Jr. – Chipper, if this is it, then this Braves fan salutes you, sir. You are a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and a Braves icon. I’ll never forget you shutting up the Mets fans at Shea by your brilliant offensive barrage.

KPH

August 12th, 2010
12:25 pm

Here is wishing you the best Chipper. My favorite Brave of all time along with Henry Aaron.

I must be the Crazy One

August 12th, 2010
12:25 pm

God bless Hoss.

Tami

August 12th, 2010
12:26 pm

Thanks, MB. You have me crying now. :-( ((

Blackberry

August 12th, 2010
12:26 pm

Enough with the Freddy Freeman talk. Get over it.

mountain_jim

August 12th, 2010
12:26 pm

Glaus will make even more errors at 3rd than he has (or has caused) at first. He can hardly move!

CarrollBrave

August 12th, 2010
12:27 pm

As a kid Chipper was my hero and playing little league ball I wanted to be like him. As I grew up, I’d cuss him for being hurt or not always getting the clutch hit we were all accustomed to. But through it all, I admired him and now that I sense that we will never look out on the diamond and see #10 at third base, it makes me sad. Get well Chipper and good luck in your recovery. Maybe you will play again, maybe not. No matter what, you were a damn good Brave and we were lucky to have you

Tony

August 12th, 2010
12:28 pm

Move Glaus to third and bring up Freddy Freeman?

clay

August 12th, 2010
12:28 pm

Man this sucks. Chipper is my fav. baseball player and he is probably going to go out like this. Man this sucks. Did I already say that?

Angus

August 12th, 2010
12:28 pm

He may prove me wrong, but it’s hard to believe that this isn’t the end.

Thanks for the good times Chipper, best of luck to you.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

August 12th, 2010
12:29 pm

prado to be back on monday or tuesday- may go to gwinnet for a few rehab assignments. still need to bring someone up from the minors for depth or keep diorys.

Appalachia Brave

August 12th, 2010
12:29 pm

Hey Hoss, its been a pleasure watching all these years! Best of Luck in the future. GO BRAVES!

Tmac

August 12th, 2010
12:29 pm

Mark,a sad day for the Braves nation, but the question of how to get Infante in the everyday lineup has just been answered. Makes writing that article a little bit easier.

Still Hopefully

August 12th, 2010
12:30 pm

Love Chipper Jones. Thanks for all the memories and hope to see him back on the field next year.

WonderDawg

August 12th, 2010
12:30 pm

If this is the end, Chipper’s great hitting of late will be comfort to him. Man……he was coming on strong, too.

Come on, Frank, make a move . . .

KnightInATL

August 12th, 2010
12:30 pm

Sadly, I think all Braves fans know (whether they will admit it or not) that this spells the end for Chipper Jones career. I am thankful I was able to enjoy his career. And I plan to make the pilgrimage to Cooperstown for Chipper’s HOF induction ceremony.

richtfan

August 12th, 2010
12:31 pm

the average time it takes to really get back to 100% after an acl is 18 months, and that’s for someone who’s 18-22. it will be longer for someone Chipper’s age.

Waitress

August 12th, 2010
12:31 pm

Does this mean Chipper can’t come to Hooters anymore?

Blueberry

August 12th, 2010
12:31 pm

I agree Glaus shouldn’t be moved to 3rd because of his knees and limited mobility. Platoon him with Freeman at first, and let Conrad play third until martin comes back in a week or so.

Innocent Bystander

August 12th, 2010
12:31 pm

NOOOOO Glaus at third. Anyone who suggests that hasn’t seen an inning of Braves baseball this year. I’d stick Mac at third before I’d play Glaus there.