ATLANTA -- Braves assistant clubhouse and team travel manager Chris Van Zant is trying to collect all of Chipper Jones' home run balls during the future Hall of Famer's farewell season. The one Jones hit on Wednesday was one Van Zant had to get.
Thanks to a little extra negotiating with the fan who got the ball, Van Zant was able to retrieve the memorable keepsake.
The game-winning blast in the 11th inning was Jones' eighth career walk-off homer, in addition to being the 500th of his Major and Minor League career during the regular season.
"I just go out and play," Jones said. "But to have Chris doing this will mean a lot to me down the road. It was a special moment. Not much beats a walk-off homer, and I think that was the wildest game I've ever been in."
After having a potential homer go just foul, Jones connected on a 3-2 pitch and smashed a long drive to right-center field with a man on to give the Braves a dramatic 15-13 victory over the Phillies.
Van Zant started to collect home run balls for Jones last season and has all of them except one of Jones' four roundtrippers this year.
"I appreciate the fans who are willing to cooperate," said Van Zant, who tries to work out a trade. "They realize that the moment means more to Chipper than it does to them."
Despite the dramatic homer, Jones wasn't in the starting lineup as scheduled on Thursday for the series finale with the Phillies. Jones continues to take breaks to rest his troublesome knee.
"It's been fun," said Jones of his final season, which includes a homer in his first game and another on his 40th birthday, in addition to his first walk-off long ball in five years. "I wish my knee would allow me to be in there more. But it's been good to make a splash when I do play."