09/18/12 10:03 PM ET
Chipper needs to find place for his farewell stuff
Unique gifts from MLB teams include surfboard, Fenway Park scoreboard numbers
By Terence Moore / MLB.com
"I'll tell you what. I'm going to need a lot of room, and I just bought a new house," Jones said, grinning, while relaxing at his locker in the Atlanta Braves' clubhouse at Turner Field.
Needless to say, it's a big house. It has to be. In addition to that surfboard, the future Hall of Fame third baseman continues to collect enough stuff on his tour to keep the eBay folks busy.
That is, if Jones chose to do so.
He shook his head, saying, "I'm going to save everything, because it means a lot to me that those teams, those towns and those players were moved to honor me in a way they felt was appropriate. It means the world to me that I earned their respect. I'm going to do everything I can to put everything I got from them on display in my house."
Even that surfboard.
Let's return to late August, when the Braves visited San Diego for the last time this season. Unless Jones changes his mind about retiring after 19 seasons in the Majors (all with the Braves), it also was his last time at Petco Park as a player.
The Padres sent Trevor Hoffman to meet Jones on the field with that surfboard. Then, the former top closer delivered a spirited reading of the words to the Beach Boys' song "Surf's Up."
Afterward, a clearly bemused Jones carried the surfboard into the visitors' dugout, where his teammates didn't know whether to applaud, laugh or rub their eyes.
Most just stared.
That's happened often during Jones' tour that has featured the predictable, the clever and the unique.
"I already had a substantial collection of baseball items before this year started -- you know, the bases, the banners, the bats -- and now it's probably going to spill over into a couple of rooms," Jones said. "There is the basement that has a lot of wall space. Then there's another room that the previous owner used as an office, and that will go as display cases for baseballs, bats. Whatever.
"MVP Awards. Silver Sluggers. Things like that. It's a lot of stuff."
More stuff is on the way for Jones to combine with his stuff of the past.
As for the predictable, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Arizona Diamondbacks, the San Francisco Giants and the Tampa Bay Rays saluted Jones with highlights of his career on their video screens.
As for the clever, well, it's multiple. The Boston Red Sox moved toward the top of the list in this category after they gave Jones a piece of their famous scoreboard that dominates the base of the Green Monster in left field. It's a manually operated scoreboard, which features somebody giving information about the Red Sox game and those in progress through placards with numbers.
Since Jones wears No. 10, he received one of the placards with a "1" and another one with a "0."
The Chicago Cubs have a classic ballpark of their own, and they also have several traditions. Among them is to fly the flags of every National League team on Wrigley Field's huge scoreboard in center field.
The Cubs presented Jones with the Braves flag.
Elsewhere, while both the Cincinnati Reds and the New York Yankees ended Jones' last game at their places by giving him third base -- you know, since he is a third baseman -- the Yankees went a step further. They put third base in a frame, and they delivered it to Jones on the field through team captain Derek Jeter and former Braves All-Star Andruw Jones, who now plays for the Yankees.
Come to think of it, the Reds actually hugged Jones as tightly as the Yankees. In addition to giving that third-base gift to the visiting player, the Reds had all three bases carrying the words, "Celebrating the Career of #10 Chipper Jones." The Reds and the Braves also will keep a copy of the other two bases in their respective halls of fame.
Now to the unique, and that 10-gallon hat that Jones received in Houston from former Astros standout Craig Biggio. Later in the year, Rockies slugger Todd Helton honored Jones in Colorado by giving his old hunting partner a little camera that could be mounted on a bow.
The Washington Nationals had several gifts for Jones.
First, they gave Jones third base. Then they reached inside of their team museum to give Jones the bat that he used to hit the first home run at Nationals Park on March 30, 2008. After that, they gave Jones a framed picture of himself with Nationals players Adam LaRoche and Mark DeRosa, both former teammates of Jones on the Braves.
And how's this for unique? During a pregame ceremony in St. Louis, the Cardinals gave Jones a framed picture of himself swinging at Busch Stadium. He also received a jersey that was autographed by Stan Musial. And, as was the case with the Nationals, the Cardinals' presentation involved members of their team who played with Jones on the Braves -- Adam Wainwright and Rafael Furcal.
"I don't want to slight anybody, because I cherish all of the gifts, but being a student of the game, I loved the Stan Musial jersey, because Stan was the man," Jones said. "And it's coming from the best baseball city in America -- I think -- St. Louis. That was pretty cool."
So was the 3-D painting Jones got from the Mets to commemorate, not only his career, but all of his years as a Mets killer.
Then came Jones' most unique gift of all: The Milwaukee Brewers gave the prolific bratwurst eater one of those Weber gas grills and a year's supply of Klement's sausages.
What about the Wisconsin cheese?
Nevertheless, Jones was appreciative. Of the grill, the brats, the 3-D picture, the 10-gallon hat ... of everything.
Terence Moore is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.