Braves retire familiar No. 10 of Chipper Jones

alt

Braves fans unveil Chipper Jones' No. 10 during Friday's ceremonies at Turner Field.

ATLANTA (AP) — Chipper Jones still can’t believe how much he’s adored in Atlanta.

A near capacity crowd at Turner Field showered him with cheers and praise on Friday night as the Braves retired his No. 10 jersey.

‘’It still doesn’t seem real,’’ Jones said. ‘’I played baseball. I haven’t cured cancer or anything. It’s almost embarrassing to be getting all this attention and all the accolades. It’s so humbling.’’

Jones, the 1999 NL MVP and an eight-time All-Star, was honored before Atlanta’s game against Arizona. The former third baseman retired after last season having played his entire 19-year career with the Braves.

Wearing a gray suit and a red tie, Jones spoke to the Turner Field crowd before he threw out the ceremonial first pitch and was driven around the field to adoring cheers.

Most seats in the stands were filled as Jones stepped to the microphone while ‘’Crazy Train,’’ the 1980 hit single by Ozzy Osbourne that used to play before his at-bats, boomed through the public address system.

‘’That pregame ceremony was something else,’’ Jones said. ‘’I never could have imagined it. I tried to picture it in my mind for the last week or so, but it exceeded all expectations.’’

Among those joining Jones on stage were former manager Bobby Cox, former owner Ted Turner and former outfielder Dale Murphy, Braves president John Schuerholz, second baseman Dan Uggla, his parents -—Larry and Lynne Jones — and four boys.

‘’I made it a point not to look my mom and dad in the face because I know if I would have I’d have probably lost it,’’ Jones said with a grin. ‘’I take great pride in the fact I made it through that whole thing without shedding a tear.’’

The Braves inducted Jones, the 2008 NL batting champion, into their hall of fame during a luncheon Friday at a downtown hotel. Hank Aaron, baseball’s No. 2 career leader in homers, spoke at the luncheon to congratulate Jones.

Jones’ jersey number joined Warren Spahn, Eddie Mathews, Phil Niekro, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Aaron, Murphy and Cox on the franchise list of retired numbers.

His number was unveiled alongside other stars of the 1990s and 2000s - Maddux, Glavine, Cox and Smoltz.

‘’The hair on the back of your neck stands up,’’ said Jones, who ranks as the career leader among third basemen with 1,623 RBIs.

Glavine, who was working Friday as a broadcaster on the Braves’ television network, remains close friends with Jones.

‘’I think people forget sometimes how athletic he was,’’ said Glavine, a 300-game winner and two-time Cy Young Award winner. ‘’He really should’ve made our team as an outfielder that first spring training (1994) if he didn’t get hurt. He did a lot of things really well.”

‘’To see him play at third base, go to the outfield and come back to third base tells you what kind of an athlete he was. He certainly established himself as one of the great third baseman in baseball history.’’

Jones sometimes considers becoming a coach or manager one day, but still needs more time away from the game.

It sounds as if retirement is treating him well.

‘’The reason I want to take some time away from baseball is that I want to rekindle that flame,’’ he said. ‘’At the end of last year, I was done. I wanted to play opening day this year. That’s the only day that I’ve missed it. I woke up the next morning and was thrilled that I didn’t have to go to the ballpark.’’




More Sports

High School Softball

Northgate opens busy week with back-to-back wins

Northgate's softball team opened a busy week at home by rolling off consecutive wins over Newnan and Drew over consecutive days. The Lady Vi ... Read More


High School Football

Indians' wait nearly over for season opener, debut under Pardue

The countdown to East Coweta's 2014 season has reached two days, which head coach Steve Pardue promptly reminded his team while raising just ... Read More


Cross Country

Northgate teams win JAG Invitational

Northgate cross-country teams opened the season with respective victories at the JAG Invitational in Spalding County on a steaming hot first ... Read More


High School Football

Scrimmage win gets Vikings off to solid start

On a sheet of paper, scribbled at the bottom of a list of goals for Friday’s scrimmage against Veterans, Northgate head football coach ... Read More


Cross Country

Powell fourth at Mercy Invitational

Heritage School senior Ruthie Powell showed she could compete with athletes from several Georgia High School Association schools on Saturday ... Read More

High School Football

Hawks dealt heartbreaker in loss to Flint River

To call this a wild week for The Heritage School’s football program might be an understatement. The Hawks lost their head coach and qu ... Read More