Atlanta Braves fans everywhere are in a sudden state of shock.

Chipper Jones, the face of the Atlanta Braves franchise and the last link to “The team of the 90’s,” will miss the rest of the 2010 season and has possibly played his last game as an Atlanta Brave.

When people think about the Atlanta Braves, the first name that comes to mind is Chipper Jones and the second name that comes to mind is Bobby Cox. It now seems like the Atlanta Braves will be without both at the conclusion of the 2010 season.

Jones hinted at the possibility of retirement in June. Since then, he batted .307 with seven home runs and fans became optimistic that Chipper would be returning for one more season.

That optimism has disappeared and been replaced by the realization that one of the best Braves to ever live, a first-ballot hall of famer, may never step up the plate again.

Chipper Jones will always be remembered as one of the best players to ever play the game. He ranks third in home runs by a switch hitter, right behind hall of famers Eddie Murray and Mickey Mantle.

Chipper’s .306 career batting average is higher than some of the best players in history (Pete Rose, Willie Mays, Hank Aaron…) Chipper is a five-time All Star, the 1999 NL MVP, a batting champion, and a world champion.

To say that Chipper Jones belongs in Cooperstown is an understatement.

Chipper’s accomplishments and records go on forever, but Chipper Jones is more than a line of stats or a name in the record books.

Chipper is a leader. He is a role model. He is a presence. When “Crazy Train” starts playing at Turner Field, we all stand and cheer and when Chipper Jones speaks, we all sit down and listen.

The most likely replacements for Chipper at third base will be clutch Brooks Conrad and the All Star Omar Infante. Plus, don’t be surprised if the Braves call up minor league slugger, Freddie Freeman to share time with Troy Glaus at first base and give Eric Hinske some time at third.

The Braves will still be able to contend with the three utility men playing third, but there is just no replacing the legendary Chipper Jones.

If indeed Chipper does call it quits, next season will be the Braves’ first season without their beloved third baseman in 17 years.

This is more than losing a team leader. This is the loss of the last link of one of the greatest dynasties in the history of baseball and it could not have happened more suddenly.

Braves fans everywhere are wishing that this incredible play never happened.

Although this injury will undoubtedly be a huge blow for the Atlanta Braves and their chances for the postseason, it will also motivate the team even more.

The rest of the season is not only for Bobby Cox, but now the Braves will be encouraged to win for the skipper and for the Chipper.


This article is also featured on Sports Haze.

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