Braves icon Chipper Jones became a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer when the retired third baseman was named on 97.2 percent of the ballots, one of the highest percentages in history, in his initial year of eligibility.
With Jones as a regular in their lineup, the Braves won 11 consecutive division titles from 1995-2005, three NL pennants and that lone World Series championship.
Jones is the sixth Atlanta Brave from the team’s greatest era to be elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in a five-year span, joining pitchers John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux; manager Bobby Cox, and longtime general manager John Schuerholz.
As an ambassador of Mizuno throughout his 19-year career with Atlanta, we sat down to ask him a few questions about this exciting time in his life.
Can you describe the feeling when you got that official call?
Jones: It was chilling and surreal. I felt unbelievably lucky.
Among the many accomplishments and memories from throughout your career, where does this induction rank?
Jones: It is certainly the crowning achievement across a lifetime of memories for me.
Who were the top 2-3 most influential people to your career successes, and are there any specifics you’d like to share about any of them?
Jones: My mom and dad, as well as Bobby Cox. They all taught me how to be a man on and off the field.
What advice would you have for a young player who strives to make it to the big leagues someday?
Jones: Keep your hunger and passion for the game fresh and do not burn yourself out on the game. Work hard in the classroom and on the field – they go hand in hand and reflect each other.
What about Mizuno made you choose to be such a loyal ambassador throughout the entirety of your career?
Jones: First and foremost, it was the quality of the equipment. A close second was the people behind the brand; almost a family-like environment.
Besides Atlanta (and what seemed like your second home ballpark in New York considering your success against the Mets), is there one stadium that sticks out as a favorite throughout your career?
Jones: Every hitter loves Coors Field. Shea was a favorite, obviously. Loved the baseball history that oozed from places like Wrigley, Fenway, Dodger Stadium and Yankee Stadium.
Are there ways you would like to see baseball evolve in the future to keep the game and its participation strong?
Jones: I am an old school baseball guy. I honestly wish we would slow down some of the technology and look for ways to engage our young people to love to play and watch the game.
Who do you think is the best player in the big leagues right now?
Jones: Mike Trout is hard to argue against. He does it all.
How special is it to go into the HOF with Bobby Cox and the trio of incredible arms you got to play behind for so many years?
Jones: To go in with my manager, who drafted me, and guys like Glav, Smoltzy, and Doggie, who helped to groom me as a young player and took us to so many playoffs, is simply indescribable. Let’s not forget John Schuerholz who put it all together – an incredible baseball man.
Have any of those guys given you any advice about the big day in Cooperstown?
Jones: Take whatever time I need, it is my day…hahaha!
Meet Chipper Jones at the Mizuno Experience Center
The Class of 2018 will be inducted on July 29, 2018 in Cooperstown, N.Y. To celebrate this momentous occasion with his fans, Mizuno will be hosting an exclusive VIP opportunity to meet Chipper Jones on Thursday, August 16th from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at The Mizuno Experience Center located in The Battery Atlanta.
You can be a part of the exclusive experience and purchase your Chipper Jones VIP tickets here. Each VIP ticket includes one photo with Chipper, one autograph, and the Limited Edition Chipper Jones Commemorative Induction baseball glove.
General admission will be first come, first serve and free for fans without a ticket. However, access for general admission is not guaranteed and only time permitting.
Published: July 2018