Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones announced today that he has made the decision to retire at the end of the upcoming 2012 Major League Baseball season. The Braves and Jones have expressed interest in rejoining the organization in a yet-to-be-determined capacity after 2012.
The No. 1 selection in the 1990 Major League Draft, Jones has played his entire career in the Braves organization. He currently leads all active players with 18 years of service with the same Club (Derek Jeter, 17-NYY; Mariano Rivera, 17-NYY; Todd Helton, 15-COL).
Since the Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966, Jones ranks as the franchise leader in nearly every offensive category. He owns a .304 career batting average, with 454 home runs, 526 doubles and 1,561 RBIs in 2,387 games. Jones and Anaheim Angels first baseman Albert Pujols are the only two active players to hit at least 400 career homers and still have more walks than strikeouts (Jones has 1,455 walks and 1,358 strikeouts).
Jones finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 1995 and went on to earn the league’s Most Valuable Player Award in 1999. He has been named to seven N.L. All-Star teams and has been voted into the Game as a starter four times, most recently in 2008. He played for the United States team in the first two editions of the World Baseball Classic in 2006 and 2009.
He won his first career batting title in 2008, with a .364 average. It marked the second-highest single-season average ever for a switch hitter. Mickey Mantle hit .365 for the New York Yankees in 1957.
Jones is the only switch hitter in Major League history to post a .300 career average with more than 300 homers, and his career batting average ranks second all-time among switch hitters. Hall-of-Famer Frankie Frisch batted .316. Jones’ home run total ranks third among all switch hitters, behind Hall-of-Famers Mantle (536) and Eddie Murray (504).