In case you haven't seen it yet, Chipper Jones is on this week's CL cover. You can read the full 22-person oral history here, which goes into detail about the life and times of the Braves legend as his career comes to an end. In putting together that story, it was safe to say that there was an abundance of content that we simply couldn't fit into the oral history. Many of these individuals spoke about other parts of Jones' story — like his love for hunting or his relationship with the media. We wanted to share those as well, so here are 10 additional quotes from that didn't quite make it to print.
B.B. Abbott on Jones as a high school baseball player:
I think he learned how to act more mature. He learned how to play the game the right way before people of his age group. Not to mention that his dad was a tremendous baseball guy. He really allowed him to see how he should act on the field — in between the lines. His mom was a professional equestrian. I think from a mental standpoint, she brought that toughness to him that he needed. As an eighth or ninth grader playing with some seniors, you can imagine some of the talent he had on the athletic field. But by the time he got to be in the 10th, 11th, and obviously the 12th grade, you saw him really mature as a person and become more of the person that he is today. Especially his senior year, he really came of age. For the first time he was "the guy." He was "the guy" on the field.
Jim Powell on Jones' hitting talents:
I do think if he had tried to hit 700 home runs, he probably could’ve approached [it]. His batting average would’ve suffered. If he decided he would’ve gotten 3000 hits, I have no doubt he would’ve gotten them. Here is at 40 years old, and people want to throw fastballs by him because he’s so old he can’t possibly catch up to them. His brain has become — his experience and his baseball intelligence have kept his bat from looking slow. Whatever he decides he’s going to do on the baseball field, he just does.
If he decided he wanted to play until he was 45, I bet you he could find a way to be productive, but the fact that he’s chosen to go out on top the way he has... . we always say that about every athlete. When Joe Montana is out there, you say “why is he out there? Why didn’t he just walk away?” That’s easier said than done, there’s a reason why nobody walks away on top. It’s hard to walk away when you can still play such a great game that you’ve dedicated your life too. He’s done that too, a Hall of Famer in that regard too. He’s one of the few guys that’s announced before the season so the fan could really enjoy it. He’s walking away from the game when he can still play and still on top. That’s just another part of his legend.
Randy Wolf on pitching against Jones:
I developed a slower curveball and then I was able to have a little bit of success of him with that pitch. Then he made the adjustment with that pitch. So I started throwing a slider... then he made the adjustment. Batting right handed, he’s pretty good at hitting the ball away so I started pitching him in more. Then he’d kind of make the adjustment off of that. It was a constant thing where I’d have to make an adjustment because if I were to stay away, he would have good extension. Especially right handed, he’s got really good power to the opposite center field gap. If you leave the ball up, he’s great at hitting that pitch.
For me, he was a guy where if I was in a situation where he could hurt me, I’d definitely try go to after him. He was able to make adjustments off me very quickly. When I found something I thought I could go to, he would make the adjustment there. It’s definitely a constant adjustment for me — how was he swinging and how could I be, in any way, successful against him.
I know when I was with the Dodgers in ’09, I struck him out on a slider and it was a good one. Next time up, I got not even to the same count where I [thought] I’d be setting a trend — threw him a good slider and he hammered it foul. I think I ended up walking him, and in his third at bat he either hit a home run or a line drive to right center... he was looking for a pitch out on the plate where I’d make a mistake and I did and he didn’t miss it. That’s kind of what he always does.
Tom Glavine on observing Jones as a leader upon returning to the Braves in 2008:
[Chipper was] more grown up, obviously. Probably more of that leadership figure in the clubhouse than when I left [in 2003]. That’s not to say that he wasn’t before, he just didn’t have to. There was enough other guys around that he didn’t have to. Now that he does, I still maintain that it’s not something that he loves. He knows it’s part of the deal and he does it as much as he has to. I don’t think he was overly upset about deferring it to other guys for a portion of his career. Having said that now, he’s the guy. It’s been his team, he’s been the face of the organization. He’s the go-to guy in terms of when something needs to be said. Even with that, I think he prefers not to say much. He just wants to go out and play and leads by example, be on the field everyday. Again having said that, if he feels like he’s got to sit someone down or sit the team down, it’s certainly something he’s not afraid to and it’s a role that he’s grown into.
Frank Wren on giving Jones a lucrative contract extension heading into the 2009 season:
He was a guy just coming off a winning a batting title, hitting in the .360’s, so you know he still had a lot in the tank. I think it was a combination of a lot of things — it was understanding the talent that he had left and the amount of ability he had left in the tank as well as what he mean to this franchise and to this team. There were so many factors involved, and the other thing that Chipper made very clear when we were doing these negotiations — he wanted this to be his last contract and to make sure he only stayed with one team: the Atlanta Braves.
I think, quite frankly, we made it almost impossible for him to even consider it because we kept doing the contracts early enough. We had a mutual interest for him to stay, and he wanted to stay. It worked out great for both sides. There’s no doubt, though, if we would have let [a contract] get into the last year and he entertained other offers, I’m sure he could’ve made more money elsewhere.
Gordon Beckham on Jones' personal influence on younger players:
I remember I actually went to the field as a 12-year-old to do some sort of kids' day at the park, where Leo Mazzone was teaching me how to throw a curveball or something. It was just me and Leo and I remember walking out there with my uniform on and all of the players and coaches that walked out were like, "Looks like a little Chipper." That always rings in my head when I think about Chipper Jones because that's what they called me, Little Chip. Just walking out there for like 10 minutes, doing a little kids' thing, you know, a kids' teaching thing with Leo Mazzone...Obviously he's had a great career, but just growing up in Atlanta there's not really anything more Atlanta than Chipper Jones and baseball and the Braves. Chipper and Andruw [Jones], those two guys were kind of the big deal. It was always fun to watch.
You grow up and you watch these players and the Braves were so good in that time period that there are more kids going out to the games and Chipper was a big part of that. So I think that you have more kids who are growing up an atmosphere where winning is more normal, almost. It's like, I remember going, "Oh the Braves won the pennant again? That's not really a surprise." I don't know if that's the reason I started playing baseball, because of the Braves, but I definitely think Chipper, being the best player on that team, had a lot to do with it.
A lot of kids see that and they're like, "Oh, I want to be like Chipper Jones when I get older. I want to go play for the Braves. I want to go play in a World Series, win a World Series, win division titles." That kind of drives little kids to want to go play baseball. So, you know, probably whether they know it or not, a lot of guys like me that grew up watching Chipper Jones — Chipper is probably a big reason why kids became interested in baseball and wanted to be good at baseball. It's because of players like him and the city you grew up in. That's probably par for the course anywhere, but definitely in Atlanta with him being the figurehead.
David O'Brien on Jones' relationship with the media:
He’s honest and he’s the most candid athlete I’ve ever covered and I think that, at this point in his career, this is why we’re going to miss him so much. He’s an incredible source for us and a great quote because he’s that rare person, athlete — whatever — that’s so comfortable in his station and career with what he’s done that he’s both candid and he has knowledge, insight, he’s really smart, and he’s willing to say [things] without throwing guys under the bus, especially people he respects. He’s willing to say things that other guys aren’t, that other guys tip-toe around or are scared of [due] the ramifications. He’s not.
It’s funny because some other guys...[people] assume are real smart because they throw in a fifty-dollar word once in a while, even if it’s misused. Some guys’ quotes we’ll have to clean up a bit or use ellipses, you know, because they don’t finish their sentence and go on to a next one and you have to kind of connect the [dots]. With Chipper, you don’t, you don’t have to do anything to his quotes, like Tom Glavine. He would speak and you’d have to transcribe it, and there it is. Chipper is just really smart and I don’t want to sound like I’m fawning over the guy, but you come to respect that when you deal with a guy every day.
Chip Caray on Jones off the field:
We all get wrapped up in looking at these players as numbers who make salaries and hit the baseball. This is what they do, but it’s not who they are. I think who Chipper Jones is far supersedes the back of his bubblegum card. The moments that we had in Philadelphia or Miami on our travels the last couple of years, where we’d sit down and talk about our kids and our families and what we do in the offseason, to me, are far more interesting to talk about that “wow, he went three for five last night.”
Ryan Langerhans on Buck Commander and hunting with Jones:
So many times in baseball you bury yourself away at the end of the year and then you reunite with everybody in spring training... everybody goes their separate ways at the end of the season and then you reunite in spring training. But through our love of hunting, we started to want to do stuff together, to hang out together during the offseason, do some hunting. But yeah, getting a chance to go down there with Chipper, to his ranch, Adam [LaRoche] and our dads would jump down there... it'd just be a good time to get to know each other better and become better friends.
That was before Buck Commander even got started; it was kind of a once-a-year deal. Once we got together with Willie Robertson. He actually approached Adam about starting something like Buck Commander we all jumped at the idea. It sounded like a fun time. It got to where, instead of just once a year, we started taking multiple trips together and we were just hanging out....We were just getting to know each other better. One thing that's so great about hunting in general is the time you get to spend [time] together and forge relationships.
John Smoltz on Jones’ golf game:
I think the biggest thing is off the field we had some fun golf days. On a rare occasion, he had a chance to play golf because it had to be an off day because you couldn’t play the day of a game. There were some good off days that we enjoyed playing golf...Chipper could hit it farther than anyone I’ve ever seen, he just couldn’t keep it on the planet a lot. When he had the timing right, it was as majestic as any golf ball I’ve ever seen hit in a long time.
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