COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (AP) – Chipper Jones has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Pressure was an afterthought for Jones during his career, except perhaps at the beginning in 1990 when he struggled in Class A ball. He managed to keep his emotions in check on Sunday as he gazed down at his wife Taylor. She’s due to give birth to a son that will named Cooper and the due date is Monday.
“She changed my life forever,” Jones said as his wife brushed away tears. “It took me 40 years and some major imperfections in me along the way to find my true profession. Now we’ve taken our two families and blended them together. It has given me what I’ve been searching for my entire life – true happiness.”
Jones fought back his emotions in a speech that took the crowd through his entire career, starting in his rookie season when he helped lead the Atlanta Braves to the 1995 World Series title in his rookie season.
Jones was one of the greatest switch-hitters in baseball history, in the mold of his dad’s favorite player, Mickey Mantle. He finished with a .303 batting average and had 549 doubles, 468 home runs, and 1,623 RBIs, credentials that earned him election on the first try.
Jones also heaped praise on his mom and dad.
“You’re the reason I’m on this stage,” Jones said.
He ended his speech by thanking the Atlanta fans.
“You stuck by me. You’re the reason I never want to play anywhere else. I love you guys. Thank you.”