Chipper Jones--The Last of an Era
The loudspeaker begins to blare "Crazy Train" by Ozzy Osbourne.
"Stepping to the plate, Number 10, Chipper Jones."
After this year, Braves and MLB fans alike will never hear that again. They will never see Chipper belt one into the left field seats or field a grounder and throw a runner out at first. Most importantly, fans will never visibly see the Braves golden era on the diamond ever again.
From 1995 to 2005, the Atlanta Braves won 10 straight NL East titles. In that time period, they won 3 pennants and won the '95 World Series. They were the definition of success, and the National League was subject to their ruling.
One thing to note about the Braves is their massive media market. Spanning from Mississippi up through southern Virginia, the Braves are the only team that a MLB fan is allowed to pull for in the area. Growing up, I did not know a single person that was not a Braves fan. And in the golden years, the Brave's following arguably rivaled that of the Yankees and Red Sox.
There was a mystique about those Braves teams. I will still argue that the Maddux-Millwood-Glavine-Smoltz lineup was the best pitching rotation in the entire history of the MLB. Yes, even John Rocker had his affectionate qualities.
I think the thing that set the Braves golden years apart from the rest is that for the most part, the lineups did not change drastically. The same players played the same positions for years at a time. It allowed for fans to connect with players, choose their favorites, and pull for them every night.
Out of all of the stars that the Atlanta Braves had during this era, the one that stands leagues above the rest is none other than Chipper Jones. He was the first baseball card that I ever owned. I wore number 10 all throughout little league, and I even named my first dog after the man. It is safe to say that Chipper Jones will forever be number one in my mind as my favorite baseball player ever.Continued on the next page