With his 40th birthday approaching, Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones announced Thursday he will retire after the season.
Jones, who has spent his entire 18-year career with the Braves, battled a rash of injuries the past several seasons and actually decided to retire in 2010, only to change his mind.
This time, he means it.
The team issued a statement before its spring training game in Kissimmee, Fla., to announce this would be Jones' final season. No matter what happens, the 1999 NL MVP will go down as one of the game's greatest switch-hitters, a strong candidate for Cooperstown with his .304 career average, 454 homers and 1,561 RBI.
Former Braves manager Bobby Cox said Jones should go into the Hall of Fame on his first ballot.
''No doubt,'' Cox said. ''A switch-hitter who has played on winners and done everything he's done.''
During the early days of spring training, Jones marveled that he was still with the Braves with his milestone birthday coming up in April.