At the end of last season, Atlanta Braves 3B Chipper Jones said he would retire from baseball if his play did not improve this season.

“If I back up this year with the same kind of year next year, I don’t want to play the game. The game is not fun to me when I’m not playing up to my standards.”

Jones has definitely seen better days…

He has played in 35 of the Braves’ 42 games this season, and his numbers are nowhere close to what he’s used to.

Jones is batting a career worst .225 (.081 below his career average). He’s on pace to hit fewer than 10 home runs, score fewer than 60 runs, and drive in fewer than 40 base runners.

Even if Jones manages to turn things around, it is going to be hard for him to hit his customary .300, hit 20 or more home runs, score 100 plus runs, and drive in at least 100 runs.

That being the case, I have a feeling this is his last Major League season.

The good news is that the Braves are 8-2 in their last ten games and have won four straight. They are also tied for second in the NL East despite Jones’ early struggles at the plate.

If they can get him going, they have a solid chance of catching the Phillies for the division lead. In the meantime, Troy Glaus has found his swing and rookie outfielder Jason Heyward is putting up monster numbers.

With Jones’ struggles over the past two seasons, it is easy to forget just how good he was.

In his prime, he was as tough an out as there was in the Majors. He recorded eight straight seasons from 1996 to 2003 of at least 100 RBI. In seven of those seasons he also scored at least 100 runs (90 in 2002). He had at least 20 homeruns in each of those seasons as well.

For his career, Jones has 428 homeruns, 2,431 hits, 1,473 runs, 1,372 walks, and a .306 batting average.

By the end of this season, He has a chance to reach 450 homeruns, notch at least 2,500 hits, score 1,500 runs, and draw 1,400 walks.

He’s a two-time Silver Slugger Award Winner, six-time All-Star, and was the 1999 NL MVP. On top of that, he won a World Series Championship with the Braves in 1995.

Chipper Jones’ career has been about more than the numbers. He has done it the right way. He played through the middle of the Steroid Era and name has never been mentioned in connection to steroid use. For 15 seasons, he’s been the face of the Braves franchise, a team player, and the ultimate professional.

If this is Chipper Jones’ final season of his career, it’s one he can be proud of—even if he doesn’t put up Chipper-like numbers this season.

He’s still one of the best third-basemen to ever play the game and is well on his way to Canton.

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