Chipper Jones’ upcoming retirement has provoked various levels of emotional response from Atlanta Braves fans.
The veteran third baseman has played 19 MLB seasons, all in Atlanta, developing the type of affinity from the home crowd that only comes with time and greatness.
He cried at his final regular-season game Sunday at Turner Field. His parents cried. Television cameras caught fans doing the same.
But perhaps no other fan invested more into Jones’ final regular season home appearance than the one stationed along the first-base line, one holding up a multicolored sign about cancer.
In a photo circulating on social media sites, the Braves fan of growing popularity proudly displays a sign proclaiming, “I SKIPPED CHEMO TO SEE CHIPPER.” A Braves tomahawk underlines the name synonymous with Atlanta baseball; cancer awareness ribbons offer perspective over the word “CHEMO.”
Chemotherapy is a harsh form of treatment, and skipping it in tribute to one’s favorite player is quite a sign of devotion. More than 150,000 fans came to see Jones’ last regular-season home series, but it is hard to imagine anyone putting more on the line for the experience.
Jones has a strong case for a spot in the Hall of Fame after a career that has included seven All-Star appearances, 468 home runs, 1,623 RBI and one World Series ring. He will have a shot at a second world championship this season, as the Braves have secured an NL wild-card berth. It will be Jones’ first postseason appearance since 2005.
Chipper surely will have at least one inspirational fan tuning in.