Atlanta sports icons depart

Chipper Jones announced his retirement Thursday afternoon (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

I remember the only time I spoke to Chipper Jones like it was yesterday.

Well, it was only two summers ago. I was privileged to occasionally cover an Atlanta Braves game for my old employer, 790 The Zone. I’d get to the stadium an hour early, set up, socialize with the few people I knew in the press box, grab some food and then take in a ballgame. When the game was over, I went to the locker room to talk to a couple of players.

Before Chipper Jones tore his ACL and had to miss a large chunk of the 2010 season, I got to hear him talk baseball in one of those postgame visits from the media. It was everything you’d think it would be. It was candid. It was honest. And it was chock full of baseball knowledge.

The Braves, and Braves fans all over the planet, are definitely going to miss Chipper Jones.

Jones announced today, after more than 20 years in the Braves’ organization, that the upcoming season will be his last. He’ll leave the Braves better than they were when he arrived — he was a major piece in the most successful Braves teams of all-time. He instilled a culture of winning with a club that was so darn famous for losing.

Hopefully, he won’t be gone for long. I sincerely hope there’s a coaching role in his future, because he knows more about the game than most coaches. I fully believe that, and I fully believe that if he isn’t a first-ballot Hall of Famer in 2017, there’s something very wrong with the voting process.

AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Even sadder news than Chipper’s retirement came earlier in the week when sportswriting legend Furman Bisher passed away at the age of 93. Having lived through generations of sports, Bisher interviewed everyone from Ty Cobb to “Shoeless” Joe Jackson to Hank Aaron, and I strongly encourage you to read this story by Jeff Schultz when you are done reading this.

I also remember the only time I saw Bisher at a sporting event, but unlike Chipper, I was way too nervous to walk up and speak to Furman (it also wasn’t my job to interview Furman, whereas I needed to talk to Chipper to get quotes for my job).

It was like a rock star had just walked into the Georgia Tech press box during that afternoon in the fall of 2010. Furman’s here. People surrounded him immediately to say hello again, which was another reason why I didn’t approach him. People wanted to see their old friend, and it sounds like he had plenty of them.

Bisher stopped writing in 2009 — I’d say he earned his retirement, at the age of 91. And if you ever get the chance, go buy one of his books. In 93 years, the man saw a lot of sporting events and had so much knowledge about the history of sports.

Atlanta is a city with very few sports heavyweights. It isn’t easy to see the finest sports writer in the town’s history pass away, and it isn’t easy to see arguably the best Brave since Hank Aaron walk away from the game.

Luckily, for us, the legacies of Chipper Jones and Furman Bisher will be around forever.

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Author:Sean Breslin Thanks for taking the time to read my blog! I’m an Atlanta native since near-birth, so I will blog a lot about Atlanta sports and food, as well as weather and news topics. Be sure to follow me on Twitter as well: .


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14 Comments on “Atlanta sports icons depart”

  1. March 22, 2012 at 8:42 pm #

    Chipper Jones is a class act! I guess after 23 years in baseball he’s listening to his body. His farewell from MLB this year will be very touching at all the stadiums he plays in and rightly so. He leaves the game with the highest career OPS of any 3B in MLB history. Next stop the Hall!
    Nice read Sean-

    • Sean Breslin
      March 22, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

      Thank you very much…I’m glad he has a year to be recognized at every stop, a la Bobby Cox.

  2. March 22, 2012 at 9:31 pm #

    Nice write up, Sean. I got to see him play on Tuesday vs the Tigers — no hits but he looked as usual in the batters box — smooth and relaxed making good contact with the ball. He challenged Verlander well at every at-bat. I will definitely make a point to see several games this year at the Ted; it will be really sad to not hear that Ozzy Osbourne intro music as Chipper walks up to the plate. :-(

    • Sean Breslin
      March 22, 2012 at 9:50 pm #

      They should retire “Crazy Train” when they retire his number!

  3. March 23, 2012 at 2:26 am #

    I’m sad to be seeing Chipper go,too. I remember he was playing when I was still in elementary school! I am getting Giants tickets this year and I’d love for them to be against the Braves so I can see Chipper one more time. I did see him hit a home run at AT&T Park back in 2007.

    • Sean Breslin
      March 23, 2012 at 7:42 am #

      I think he will be very well-received on the road this year. Hell, even the Mets fans might give him some love, but I doubt it. If David Wright plays 20 years in a Mets uniform, I probably still wouldn’t find it in my heart to cheer him, even though he seems like a good guy, and he plays ball the right way.

  4. Nick Poust
    March 23, 2012 at 2:33 am #

    Nice article, Sean. I’ve followed him as long as I can remember, and he was my favorite player as a kid. I saw him play San Fran years ago. It was amazing.

    • Sean Breslin
      March 23, 2012 at 7:37 am #

      I think it’s funny that two people have commented on their memories of Chipper playing in San Francisco, when we haven’t played there that much in his career. His rookie season was the first year after realignment, when we were no longer in the same division as the Giants.

      Crazy how we were somehow in the same division as them for so long.

  5. March 23, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    yeah, I think Chipper is smart to retire now – he’s getting old, and isn’t as great as he used to be – he just doesn’t want to go out on a sour note, but even so, it’s sad he has to retire – it’s always sad to see such a great player leave.

    • Sean Breslin
      March 23, 2012 at 10:31 am #

      It’s something we knew would happen sooner rather than later, but it still sucks.

      Thanks for reading and leaving a comment!

  6. March 23, 2012 at 11:40 pm #

    Nice post, baseball will definitely miss Chipper after this year. He’s one of the best switch-hitters of all time. Also, I’ll remember him for the many times he beat up the Mets.

    • Sean Breslin
      March 24, 2012 at 9:13 am #

      No doubt, one of his greatest legacies will be the way he owned the Mets.

  7. March 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

    I know he hasn’t been in Atlanta for a while now, but it looks like Stan Kasten is about to become an Angelino.

    • Sean Breslin
      March 30, 2012 at 8:02 pm #

      Yep yep, looks like he made some serious bucks off the Atlanta teams of the 90s!

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