MIAMI -- Few stops on Chipper Jones' farewell tour have meant as much to him as the ones in National League East cities.
Earlier this month, Jones bid a final farewell to Citi Field, and in August, he made his last regular-season trip to Nationals Park. On Monday, Jones kicked off his final trip to Miami to face the Marlins.
"It's starting to hit home now," Jones said. "I know I've had a lot of last trips into cities this year, but the ones in the [NL] East are that much more special because of the history with the Mets, the Marlins, the Nationals and the Phillies. ... It's starting to get to me a bit."
Jones' history with the Marlins extends back to 1993, when he made his Major League debut and the Marlins started their inaugural season as an expansion franchise. Since then, the two sides have had their share of encounters -- 242 games, the most by any player against the Marlins.
Jones has hit .299 with 40 home runs and 165 RBIs in those games. The 40 homers are the most all-time against the Marlins. He also ranks first in RBIs, runs scored (151), doubles (47) and hits (256) against them. He needs to drive in three more runs against Miami to tie Dale Murphy's Atlanta record for most career RBIs against one opponent.
Of the 40 round-trippers, Jones said the one that stands out to him the most came on June 5, 2008, when he launched the 400th of his career off Marlins righty Ricky Nolasco at Turner Field. His fondest memory against the Marlins in South Florida, however, was in 1997 during the National League Championship Series, when Jones recalls playing in front of "75,000-80,000" fans at Sun Life Stadium -- then known as Pro Player Stadium.
Those attendance figures were actually between 51,982 and 54,890 -- numbers still higher than the capacity of every big league park outside of Dodger Stadium.
"We had some epic battles down here," Jones said. "The years that the Marlins ended up winning the World Series, those were some pretty good teams. We had some great battles with them along the way.
"The '97 playoffs, I'll never forget that. Seeing [Sun Life Stadium] packed for a baseball game ... that's a memory. You don't get to play in front of that many people at a sporting event."