PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. -- Perhaps more than any team in baseball, the Mets hold respect for all that Chipper Jones has accomplished over a soon-to-be-complete 19-year career with the Braves.
On Thursday, Jones announced his plans to retire after this season, and the Mets will certainly not miss him much. When Jones steps off the field for the final time, he will end his career as one of the foremost Mets killers in franchise history.
"He's been one of those guys where I always looked across and tried to take away some of the things from his game and apply it to mine," said third baseman David Wright, who has played in the same division as Jones for the last eight seasons. "He's just been so consistent, so good for so long, and been part of a lot of great teams. It's going to be a little odd looking across there and not seeing Chipper in uniform, that's for sure."
Over his first 18 seasons, Jones hit 48 of his 454 career home runs against the Mets -- more than against any other team. Mets manager Terry Collins joked on Thursday that he would not allow Jones to beat him late in games in this, his final season.
Jones has also caught the attention of the New York media on more than one occasion, criticizing Wright in particular after the latter won a Gold Glove at third base in 2007.
"He's never shied away from speaking his mind, which is one of the reasons that you've got to like him and respect him," Wright said. "He's entertaining. He's just as entertaining on the baseball field. It always seems like he's got something funny to say. I'm going to miss that. He's so good at this game. He's been so good at this game, a Hall of Famer. And he still has a tremendous sense of humor."