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Chipper honored with Man of the Year Award

Chipper honored with Man of the Year Award

Chipper honored with Man of the Year Award

ATLANTA -- Exactly one month after playing the final game of his storied career, Chipper Jones proudly accepted an award that proved his peers had the utmost respect for him both as a player and a man.

Jones was named the Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award as the Players Choice Awards were broadcast by MLB Network on Monday night. This prestigious honor is presented annually to the player who inspires others through his on-field performances and contributions to his community.

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"I'm honored to accept this award," Jones said. "I know it's not only for what you do on the field, but more importantly what you do off the field and the lives you affect off the field. You have a tremendous list of players who have won this award in the past and I am happy to be alongside them."

The MLB Players Trust will donate $50,000 to the charities of Jones's choice. The benefactors will be the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Rally Foundation, Pediatric Cancer Foundation, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and The Miracle League.

Jones began supporting the fight against Cystic Fibrosis after meeting 11-year-old Matthew Bowles during the annual Buckmasters National Deer Classic in Selma, Ala., in 1996.

Through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Bowles gained the chance to meet Jones, who was 23 years old and coming off his celebrated rookie season.

With his passion, spirit and knowledge of hunting, Bowles made a lasting impression on Jones. A few weeks later, the young boy from Brunswick, Ga., lost his battle against cystic fibrosis.

"I was just looking for something to get behind back then," Jones said. "When I met Matthew, I knew what I wanted to do. He was just a special kid."

Over the past 11 years, the Chipper Jones Family Foundation has provided more than $2 million to a number of charitable endeavors. Along with aiding the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, he has supported Camp Twin Lakes, the Boys & Girls Club of Georgia and Florida, Stetson University and Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.

Jones' primary fundraiser has been his annual golf tournament, which he held again on Monday at Atlanta National Golf Club. This year's event raised more than $50,000.

During Sunday night's dinner and live auction, Jones was startled when he was reintroduced to Matthew's mother, Linda Caldwell.

Jones believes this was the first time he had seen her in at least 15 years.

"You could have knocked me over with a feather," Jones said. "It just brought back a lot of memories. I was glad to see her."

There is still a genuine sense of love and admiration when Jones speaks about the young Bowles boy who helped his idol kill a 10-point deer and become even more motivated to help those in need.

"You don't give your time and money to win awards," Jones said. "But it's certainly nice to be recognized for it. I don't need all of the hoopla surrounding all that the Chipper Jones Family Foundation has helped. But it's nice to know it has not gone unnoticed."

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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