Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Chipper Cherishes Final Days on Only Team He Has Known

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Chipper Cherishes Final Days on Only Team He Has Known

Article excerpt

ATLANTA -- With one last trip to the postseason assured -- albeit maybe for just nine innings -- Chipper Jones is relishing the final days of his last season.

Atlanta, which clinched a wild-card spot on Tuesday night, is still chasing the Nationals in the NL East. That's not all that motivates the 40-year-old Jones to keep playing every day.

Jones, who plans to retire after the season, normally rests his aching knees every few days. But not these days.

"I just feel bad sitting out," Jones said. "A lot of people are coming from all over the country to watch me play, to say goodbye, and I'm going to be out there."

Jones, hitting .295 with 14 homers and 62 RBIs, remains a key part of Atlanta's lineup. He hit cleanup Thursday night against the Marlins.

The Braves honored Jones before Friday night's game against the Mets.

Commissioner Bud Selig said Jones has accomplished the rare feat of playing his full career with one team.

"Maybe it's the generation I was brought up in, but here's a player who was here 19 years, a great player, great on the field, but he played here as Robin Yount did in Milwaukee for me or George Brett in Kansas City and Derek Jeter in New York," Selig said when he visited Atlanta last month.

"It means so much. You think of Chipper Jones, you think of the Atlanta Braves and I can see how much it means. How much has it meant to baseball? More than I think people can count. It means a great deal."

Atlanta's Eric Hinske, who sits beside Jones in the clubhouse, said he knows it hasn't been easy for the third baseman to make it through the season.

"He hurts. His body hurts a lot, so it's no surprise to me that he doesn't want to continue to do it," Hinske said Thursday. "Every day when he walks in, he does not look like he's in good shape. But when he gets himself fired up and ready to go, he still can perform on the field. …

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