Originally posted on Fox Sports Midwest  |  Last updated 5/13/12
ST. LOUIS - The signed Chipper Jones jersey hangs in Mitchell Boggs' house. The childhood memories will stay with the Cardinals reliever forever. Jones made his final regular season appearance in St. Louis this weekend before he retires at the end of the season. And lifelong Braves fans such as Boggs will be sad to see him go. "I was a huge Chipper fan growing up," Boggs said. "He was my favorite player. He broke in when I was 11 years old and they won the World Series in his first year I think in 1995. As far as the Braves go, he's the guy. "To see this is going to be his last year, I know a lot of Braves fans are really going to enjoy it this year. I'm sure they will hate it that he's gone, but everyone just respects everything he's done and how good he's been for such a long time." The Cardinals honored Jones during a pregame ceremony before Sunday's series finale against the Braves, with general manager John Mozeliak, former Braves minor leaguer and Georgia native Adam Wainwright and former Braves teammate Rafael Furcal taking part. Jones was given a framed photo of himself swinging at Busch Stadium, autographed by Furcal, Wainwright, former manager Tony La Russa and others. The Cardinals also presented Jones with an autographed Stan Musial jersey. The future Hall of Famer received a lengthy standing ovation, as he did before his first at-bat Friday night in the series opener. He stepped out of the batters box Friday and tipped his helmet to the crowd, appearing to be overtaken by the moment. "I always enjoyed coming here," Jones said. "The fan base here in St. Louis is a part of that. You can have an opposing player hit three home runs against the Cardinals and the Cardinals fans would give him an ovation for a job well done. "It's nice to play in a city where good baseball is appreciated. It rubs off on the Cardinals team and other teams enjoy coming in here to play, No. 1 because they know they are going to play a really good ballclub in the Cardinals and No. 2, they get to entertain some really intelligent fans." Players joked with Jones that the No. 10 carved into the center field grass at Busch Stadium was in tribute to him, and not former manager Tony La Russa who had his number retired Friday night. The 40-year-old Jones, who was not in the starting lineup Sunday, entered the game hitting .302 with five home runs and 22 RBI. One of the best switch-hitters of all time, Jones will no doubt be a first-ballot Hall of Famer when he appears on the ballots five years from now. He's third all-time among switch-hitters with 459 home runs, behind only Mickey Mantle and Eddie Murray, and only Murray has more RBI than Jones' 1,583. The 19-year veteran won the National League MVP award in 1999 and was named to seven All-Star teams. He's got more than 2,600 hits and is approaching 1,600 runs scored. But unless the two teams meet in the playoffs, Jones' appearance Sunday will be his last in St. Louis as an active player much to the disappointment of those in the opposing dugout. "I was a huge fan of his," said starter Adam Wainwright, who grew up near Atlanta. "My granddaddy's dog was named Chipper after Chipper Jones. If you grew up in Georgia, you were a huge Braves fan. That's Braves country down there, and I was the biggest Braves fan in Georgia. I wore my pants up for like five or six years growing up because of Chipper. Everybody did." Said Boggs: "When you're 11, 12, 13 years old, the guy that was hitting home runs out of the park every night was the guy everybody loved. He certainly captured my age group right off the bat. We loved him."
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