It is a wonderful day to celebrate as Chipper Jones will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Below are some highlights compiled courtesy of 11alive.com
The induction ceremonies begin at 1:30 p.m. on the grounds of the Clark Sports Center, about a one-mile walk from the Hall of Fame.
TV: MLB Network. Streaming coverage on baseballhall.org.
CHIPPER’S EIGHT GREATEST MOMENTS
#8 — 1990 MLB Draft
SKINNY: In the spring of 1990, the Braves (averaged 67.3 victories from 1984-89) were mocked nationally for passing on prep pitcher Todd Van Poppel with the No. 1 overall pick.
Leading into the draft, there were reports of Von Poppel—a schoolboy legend in Texas, reminding some of Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens—nixing Atlanta’s overtures, so he could sign with his hometown team (Rangers) or baseball’s model franchise around that time (Oakland Athletics).
By extension, Jones was viewed as a consolation prize for the Braves, as if they turned down a once-in-a-lifetime arm for some random infielder from Florida.
As history dictates, the pundits were wayyyyyyy off the mark with this assessment.
To be fair, Von Poppel had a respectable 11-year career in the majors (40 wins, 5.58 ERA), but he never lived up to the immense promise from that spring of 1990; and obviously, he never came close to securing a bust in Cooperstown.
#7 — 2001 NLDS vs. Houston
SKINNY: In the opening round of the NL postseason, Jones crushed the game-clinching homer off Astros closer Billy Wagner in Game 1.
With the Braves down 4-3 heading into the eighth inning, Chipper’s line-drive, three-run blast triggered a four-run rally for Atlanta.
The Braves would ride that momentum to a three-game sweep of the luckless Astros. The significance of this: It marks Atlanta’s last postseason-series triumph of the century.
#6 — 2000 All-Star Game in Atlanta
SKINNY: Jones belted the only homer at Turner Field that night (off James Baldwin)—an opposite-field blast (left-center) which tied the game at 1.
For good measure, Chipper (3 for 3) and eventual MVP Derek Jeter were the only 2000 All-Stars to collect three hits.
Of equal importance: Jones also became only the 13th major leaguer in history to homer in his home park during the All-Star Game.
#5 — Chipper’s Last Stand
SKINNY: On Sept. 2, 2012, Jones launched his final home run in the majors—a crazy-good, three-run walkoff shot in the ninth inning (off Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon).
Atlanta trailed 5-3 heading into that final frame … but it would rally for five runs to pull off the seemingly implausible victory.
On a downer note, this might have been Atlanta’s final positive memory of the 2012 campaign.
A few weeks later, the Braves would qualify for the wild-card slot. For that single-game playoff, though, they fell to the Cardinals in Turner Field—one of the most controversial defeats in franchise history.
#4 — Atlanta’s 1995 Postseason Run To Glory
SKINNY: In the first year of Major League Baseball’s wild-card round (National League Division Series), the rookie Jones belted two homers in his first-ever playoff game (Game 1 vs. Rockies at Coors Field).
For the entire postseason, Chipper batted .364 over 14 games and helped the Braves produce a 11-3 record against the Rockies, Reds (NLCS) and Indians (1995 World Series).
Charting the decisive Game 6 of the World Series (Tom Glavine’s masterpiece), Jones and David Justice were the only Braves to collect multiple hits.
With this signature victory at Fulton-County Stadium, the Braves captured the only major-sports title in Atlanta history.
#3 — 2003 NLDS vs. Cubs
SKINNY: Citing the Braves’ incredible run of 15 straight division titles (1991-2005; minus the 1994 strike season), this might have been the club’s most memorable NLDS series—even in defeat.
For Game 4 at Wriglely Field, Jones connected on a pair of two-run homers, covering both sides of the plate. With the 6-4 victory, the Braves staved off elimination on the road and forced a winner-take-all Game 5 at Turner Field.
(Spoiler alert: Chicago would take the series-clincher, 5-1.)
Back to Game 4: Preceding the back-to-back smashes, Chipper was hitting .083 in the Chicago series and struggling mightily; but he rose to the occasion at the optimum time, notching two pressure-packed dingers that will be remembered for decades to come.
As mentioned in the introduction, Jones easily ranks among the top-4 switch-hitters of all time (along with Mickey Mantle, Pete Rose, Eddie Murray), cracking at least 100 homers and batting .300 from both sides.
The Game 4 heroics at Wrigley certainly added to the legend, as well.
#2 — 1999 NL MVP Push
SKINNY: The Braves reeled off eight consecutive victories in the latter half of the final month (Sept. 19-26), stretching their NL East lead from one to seven games in the blink of an eye.
Specifically for this countdown, Atlanta swept the New York Mets during the streak. Charting the three-game series at Turner Field, Chipper enjoyed a power surge like few others, racking up four homers, five runs and seven RBI.
In hindsight, Chipper’s power play against the Mets played an integral role in Jones clinching his first NL MVP trophy. The 1999 tallies were simply immaculate: 45 homers, 110 RBI, 116 runs, 25 steals, .319 batting, .441 OBP, 1.074 OPS.
What’s more, for the entire season, Jones had the following splits versus the Mets: 7 HR, 16 RBI, 14 runs, .400 batting average, 1.510 OPS.
#1 — Chipper’s Three-HR Game
SKINNY: On Aug. 14, 2006, Jones posted the only three-homer game of his decorated career, demolishing the Nationals with back-to-back-to-back jacks (Innings 5, 6, 8).
For good measure, Chipper went 4 for 5 with five RBI in the Braves’ 10-4 rout.
The first homer at old RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. was an opposite-field blast to left-center field.
On a normal day, this would have been a headline-grabber throughout baseball circles.
Instead, it paled in comparison to the next two bombs—with the last moon shot traveling an estimated 475 feet.