Chipper Jones takes the podium as his #10 jersey is retired by the Durham Bulls before the game on Tuesday, August 20, 2013.
The news media and Durham Bulls fans came out in force to see Chipper Jones’ #10 jersey retired at the DBAP on Tuesday, August 20, 2013. The Bulls bested the Charlotte Knights 5-4, putting the perfect cap on a great evening.
Jones is only the fourth Bull to have his jersey retired.
Several CBC reporters were on hand to see the big event. WRALSportsFan.com’s Aaron Schoonmaker posted this story after the big event:
Chipper ‘honored’ as Bulls retire No. 10
|by WRAL.com’s Aaron Schoonmaker
Chipper Jones played just 70 games in a Durham Bulls uniform but he insists that his time with the storied franchise was unforgettable. In front of a standing-room only crowd at Durham Bulls Athletic Park Tuesday night, Jones had his No. 10 retired so nobody else will forget.
Jones became just the fourth person to have his jersey retired in the 111-year history of the Durham Bulls, joining movie character Crash Davis (8), hall-of-famer Joe Morgan (18) and manager Bill Evers (20).
“I didn’t spend a lot of time here in Durham but this was the one place you didn’t want to get promoted from,” Jones said. “When I got called up to Double-A, it was kind of a bittersweet day. This was a special place to play.”
Jones, a first-round draft pick of the Braves in 1990, made his way to the High-A level Bulls in 1992. He didn’t put up his best numbers while in Durham, but the Braves knew he was on the fast-track to bigger things.
“I couldn’t believe it to be honest with you, I think I only hit like .270 or something (in Durham),” Jones joked. “I did hit the Bull for a steak dinner one time off of Alan Embree.”
Jones actually hit .277 with 4 home runs and 31 RBI in 264 at-bats as a Bull. As part of Tuesday’s ceremony, Jones was given a piece of the original fixture that won him that dinner – the section that reads “Bull.”
“For the Bulls to retire my No. 10 here, I’m very honored,” Jones said. “I know that it is as much about what I did after I left here more so than when I was here.”
Jones graduated from the lower levels to hit 468 home runs and 1,623 RBI in 2,499 games in the Big Leagues. He also boasted a career .957 fielding percentage and had the fewest errors of any National League third baseman in 2009. He had his No. 10 retired by the Atlanta Braves on June 28.
Chipper Jones throws out the first pitch at the Durham Bulls game after having his jersey retired.
Bulls General Manager Mike Birling (right) presents Chipper Jones, with the word Bull which is from the original “Hit Bull Win Steak” sign during a retirement ceremony for Durham Bulls jersey #10 which Jones wore in 1992 while with the team.
Tuesday marked the first time since his 1992 promotion that Jones has been back to Durham. He had never seen the new ballpark but shared stories with assembled media and guests about memories at the old park and his time hanging out with the Duke basketball players.
“It was traditional baseball,” Jones said of the Bulls franchise in 1992 that played at the old Durham Athletic Park. “We didn’t have our names on our uniforms. You could feel a sense of history and pride. I looked forward to Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights because the place was packed.”
Jones, who played in five cities over four years in the minor leagues before being called up to the Braves, said that the Bull City is the place that meant the most. He then opened his on-field speech by saying, “what’s up Braves Country?”
“I’m disappointed that the Braves and the Durham Bulls don’t have an affiliation anymore because I can’t think a better minor league affiliate that I would want to have my name tied to,” Jones said. “Of all the places I have played along the way, I can remember just about every day I was here; it was truly an honor to come to the ball park. I’m glad I got a chance to come back after 21 years.”
Thanks to WRAL.com’s Aaron Schoonmaker for this capcom story & to WRAL.com for these capcom photos.