The 15 Most Awesome Retirement Gifts Given To Chipper Jones
You know, it might be easy to overlook the career of retiring Braves third baseman Chipper Jones. Throughout his entire 18-year, the man only led a significant statistical category three times—OPS in in 2006, and BA and OBP in 2007. However, when you look at his career numbers, they’re actually kind of mind-blowing: .303/.401/.529, with a career OPS of .930 and 468 home runs—and all from a switch hitter. The only other switch hitters with more HRs are some dudes named Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray, and that career OBP puts him at #56 all-time.
Point is, Chipper Jones was a legendary talent, and so his retirement from the game is a big deal. That’s why, everywhere he went this season, teams paid special tribute to the man and presented him with retirement gifts.
What kinds of gifts are we talking about? Well, some are pretty standard, like autographed pictures and other memorabilia. But others are pretty unique and creative. So today we’re going to count down the 15 best retirement gifts given to first-ballot Hall of Fame third basement Chipper Jones. Check ’em out.
15. Braves Pennant (Cubs)
When Chipper made his last stop at historic Wrigley Field back in May, the team had soon-to-be ex-Cub Ryan Dempter present him with the Braves flag that flew on the standings flagpole above Wrigley Field. With most teams you wouldn’t know in May weather that would be his very last game at Wrigley, or just his last regular season game—you know, because there’s always the chance that you might see him in the playoffs. But with the Cubs? Yeah, everybody knew that was it, even in May.
14. Stan Musial Jersey (Cardinals)
Normally, giving one of your jersey’s to a player on the other team would be kind of weird. It’s like, hey, thanks for giving me some of the merch you had lying around. However, in this case it’s pretty awesome, because the Cardinals gave Chipper an autographed Stan Musial jersey, and that guy just so happens to be the second- or third-greatest living baseball player. (It’s a close call between Musial, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron.)
Oh, and the Cardinals also gave him a photo signed by their entire team, which I guess is nice…unless the Cardinals eliminate the Braves from the playoffs later this week.
13. Third Base (Reds, Yankees, Pirates)
The Cincinnati Reds, New York Yankees, and Pittsburgh Pirates all gave Chipper the third base from their respective stadiums. And in each case, the gift was presented by a notable franchise player—Andrew McCutchen in Pittsburgh, Derek Jeter in New York, and third basemen Scott Rolen in Cincinnati.
Now if somebody would just give the guy a home plate, he could make himself a complete baseball diamond.
12. Bat, Base & Photo (Nationals)
The NL East champion Nationals also gave Jones a third base and photo, but they also gave him a special piece of their franchise history: the bat that Chipper used to hit the first ever home run at National Park in 2008. How thoughtful.
11. Fishing Gear (Marlins)
The Miami Marlins also gave Chipper a thoughtful and appropriate retirement gift: fishing gear. Get it? People go fishing when they retire? The Marlins are fish? Anyway, I’m sure he would rather have had a replica of that crazy sculpture they have out in center field—or did they already trade that off to San Diego for a couple of minor league pitching prospects?
10. Artwork (Mets)
Having spent his entire 18-year career with the Braves, Chipper Jones has a very well-established relationship with the division rival Mets—namely, he and the Braves bashed their heads in forever, and they in turn taunted him with calls of “Laaar-Ryy.” But it was all in good fun, and in September Mets CEO Jeff Wilpon presented Larry with a piece of custom artwork by Charles Fazzino.
9. Painting (Phillies)
Another team that Chipper and the Braves beat up on over the years is the Philadelphia Phillies. And they, too, decided the to honor the legendary third baseman with a painting. However, this one, by Dick Perez, is considerably more traditional that the one given to him by the Mets—it’s just a recreation of one of his many at-bats in Philly.
8. The #10 (Red Sox)
Now here’s an awesome gift. When the Braves traveled to Boston for an interleague series earlier this season, the Red Sox gave Chipper of piece of the historic Green Monster scoreboard—specifically, the #10.
I don’t know about you, but that’s much cooler than the flag from Wrigley.
7. Pool Table & Hawaiian Vacay (Braves)
The Braves certainly were not stingy with their gifts to the second-best player who ever played for them. (The first would be Hank Aaron, who obviously is pictured here.) They just sit at #7 because they’re not as unique. For starters, the Braves players gave Chipper a pool table. Then, the organization gave him a vacation to Hawaii, plus a whole weekend at the ballpark dedicated to old #10.
6. Cowboy Hat (Astros)
This one probably sounds stupid, but it’s actually quite appropriate. You see, Chipper is a good old southern boy, and he owns a ranch in Texas. So a cowboy hat is actually a very good gift.
It’s probably the only thing the Astros got right all year.
5. Hunting Bow Camera (Todd Helton)
I don’t know what the Rockies organization did, but first baseman and team graybeard Todd Helton personally gave Chipper Jones a camera for his crossbow. Hopefully he didn’t already have one.
4. Surfboard (Padres)
The San Diego Padres gave Chipper one of the coolest gifts ever: a commemorative surfboard, presented by former all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman. Not only is it something unique that represents San Diego culture, but there’s also a great pun in there: Hang 10 for #10.
3. “Chipper Jones Day” (State of Georgia)
You want to know how beloved Chipper Jones is in the State of Georgia? Well, at Turner Field last weekend governor Nathan Deal officially declared September 28 “Chipper Jones Day.”
Still, the greatest gift given Jones on “his” day was the love and admiration of Braves fans. And nothing captures that love and admiration better than the above photo.
2. Corn Maze (Some Georgia Farmer)
A couple of Georgia corn famers named Misty and Lamar Duren topped almost every team in baseball earlier this summer when they unveiled their Chipper Jones corn maze. The longtime Braves fanatics had been thinking about turning 7 acres of their farm into a maze anyway, so when Jones announced his retirement they saw the perfect opportunity to pay tribute to their favorite player.
Now that’s an awesome retirement gift. How many MLB players can say they had their face carved out of a corn field? (I’m guessing zero.)
1. Year’s Supply of Sausages (Brewers)
The only thing that could be a corn maze in the shape of Chipper’s head? A year’s supply of Klement’s sausages courtesy of the Milwaukee Brewers. Oh, and a fancy new grill to cook them on.
If that’s not the perfect gift for a man who can now let himself go, I don’t know what is.