LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- Less than a year after concluding his storied career with the Braves, Chipper Jones will experience the thrill of being immortalized with the franchise's other legendary figures.
The Braves will give fans another opportunity to celebrate Jones' contributions when they retire his No. 10 jersey and induct him into their Hall of Fame on June 28.
Thx to the Braves for giving me the honor of retiring my number and induction into the Braves hall of fame. Mom and dad made it happen. XO- Chipper Jones (@RealCJ10) February 20, 2013
"You always dream about that kind of stuff," Jones said. "When it actually comes true, there is just this wave that comes over you of disbelief. There's kind of a reflection of, 'Where has it all gone?' It all happened so quick. It was 19 years, and it seems like now it went by in a flash."
Jones will be inducted into the Hall of Fame during an afternoon ceremony at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. His No. 10 jersey will be retired during a pregame ceremony that will be staged before that evening's game against the D-backs.
"Chipper was a Brave from the beginning to the end of his career and his legacy will forever live in our record books," Braves president John Schuerholz said. "There is no greater honor that we can bestow upon him than to induct him into our Hall of Fame and retire his iconic number 10."
In fitting fashion, Jones' number will be the 10th retired by the Braves. The others are Hank Aaron (44), Eddie Mathews (41), Dale Murphy (3), Phil Niekro (35), Warren Spahn (21), Greg Maddux (31), Tom Glavine (47), Bobby Cox (6) and John Smoltz (29).
"It's a tremendous honor," Jones said. "There are a lot of great names and a lot of great numbers up there on that façade. I'd be lying if I said I didn't one day dream of getting number 10 up there. Then this morning it comes to fruition. It's a very proud day for myself and my family."
Jones has spent the past few days serving as a guest Spring Training instructor. The experience has enabled him a chance to spend time with former teammates and longtime friends, some of whom he has known since the Braves selected him with the first overall selection in the 1990 First-Year Player Draft.
|"I guess what we all want to do is leave our mark. This is certainly a good indication that you left your mark."|
|-- Chipper Jones|
Given that he was just four months removed from beginning his retirement, Jones was initially hesitant to come to Spring Training and take some of the attention away from the current players. He was also concerned that he might start to miss playing once he got back on the field and watched the workouts.
"I thought this week would be hard," Jones said. "But I stand out there when they're taking ground balls and I don't really miss it. I'm standing behind the cage watching them face live pitching and I see somebody hit the ball off the end of the bat. I know how that feels. Your fingers just completely go numb, and I don't miss that. When they're running and they're huffing and puffing and I'm sitting over there with a grin, I don't miss it."
In other words, Jones has not suddenly felt the urge to come out of retirement.
"I'm OK with the way things turned out and I'm OK with them being over," Jones said. "I don't have any visions of grandeur of coming back in June, July, August or September. Honestly, I've put the cap on it and closed it tight. It's not opening back up."
With every indication that his playing career is complete, Jones can now look forward to gaining the game's greatest honor of being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He will be eligible for induction in 2018, and he certainly has the credentials to be a first-ballot inductee.
Jones joins Stan Musial, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams and Lou Gehrig as the only players in Major League history to record at least 2,500 hits, 1,500 walks, 1,500 runs, 500 doubles, 450 home runs and 1,500 RBIs while hitting .300 with a .400 on-base percentage and .500 slugging percentage.
Jones spent the past two decades establishing himself as one of the greatest switch-hitters in baseball history. Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray are the only switch-hitters who totaled more home runs than Jones (468). Mantle and Lance Berkman are the only switch-hitters who compiled a better OPS than Jones (.930).
"My motto in life is don't worry about things you can't control," Jones said. "What I can control is the resume I put up, and it's over."
Jones helped the Braves win the World Series during his rookie season in 1995. His third and last trip to the Fall Classic occurred during his 1999 National League MVP Award-winning season.
Along with winning the NL MVP Award in 1999, Jones also collected a batting title in 2008, at the age of 36. The eight-time All-Star won two Silver Slugger Awards. He ranks first in 11 different statistical categories in Atlanta history (since 1966), and second in seven categories in franchise history.
"I guess what we all want to do is leave our mark," Jones said. "This is certainly a good indication that you left your mark."
Tickets will be available for the June 28 game beginning on Feb. 25 on braves.com.
Individual tickets for the Hall of Fame luncheon are now available at braves.com/tickets. For tables of 10 or more, please call 404-614-2310.