This is a strange time for Southern sports fans of my generation, perhaps the strangest of times. A few years ago, longtime Braves announcer Skip Caray passed away. Two seasons ago, Bobby Cox walked out of the Braves dugout for the final time. Last year we lost Larry Munson, the voice of University of Georgia sports for four decades, as well as Ernie Johnson, Sr., who played for the Boston and Milwaukee Braves and called games in Atlanta. Last week, legendary Atlanta sportswriter Furman Bisher died at 93 years old. And a few days later, last Thursday, Chipper Jones let us know this would be his last season playing baseball. I find myself terribly sad to see him leaving, as Chipper joins this army of the voices and the heroes of my youth exiting from my life, one after another.
For many years, my favorite Brave was Andruw Jones. I loved Andruw because he was a terrific ballplayer, but also because everyone else loved Chipper Jones more. I’ve always had a natural affinity for the underdog and the overlooked, but as Andruw declined and Chipper continued producing, the more I realized I was overlooking Chipper for no good reason.