ATLANTA -- When Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter struggled during the early days of his professional career, he kept himself focused by remembering that Chipper Jones had done the same a few years earlier. Approximately 20 years later, Jeter still has the utmost respect for the Braves' third baseman.
"Chipper, what can you say? He's a Hall of Famer," Jeter said. "He's someone who is going to go down as one of the greatest players in the history of the game. He's been as good as anybody in baseball, especially since I got here to this level."
With Jones planning to retire at the end of this season, Jeter took time before Tuesday night's game at Turner Field to talk about the third baseman. Barring a meeting between the Braves and Yankees in the World Series for the third time during the careers of Jones and Jeter, the last time they will compete against each other will be when the Braves visit Yankee Stadium for a three-game series next week.
"When you watch him play, he just looks like he should be playing baseball," Jeter said. "I don't know how to explain it; he just looks like a baseball player. The way he carries himself and the way he runs and the way he swings, everything about him just defines a baseball player in my mind."
Jones admits he was somewhat jealous of Jeter when the Yankees won three World Series titles, two at the expense of the Braves, during the late 1990s. But once he had the chance to play with Jeter during the 2006 and '09 World Baseball Classics, Jones came to see the Yankees' captain in a different light.
"I've grown to respect him a lot over the past 10-15 years, not just for the player he is, but for the person he is," Jones said. "He's humble beyond belief. This guy has the world by the tail. He's the captain of the Yankees. He's won a thousand championships. He's played in the World Series seemingly every year. He's got every right to have his head in the clouds, and he doesn't."