Former longtime Atlanta Braves former third baseman Chipper Jones, left, poses with general manager Frank Wren during a jersey retirement ceremony before their game Friday against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Turner Field.
ATLANTA — Atlanta Braves fans got to hear Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” one last time over the loudspeaker at Turner Field on Friday night.
And it never sounded sweeter.
Chipper Jones’ famed walk-up song blasted as the former Braves third baseman returned home to have his No. 10 jersey retired in front of a sold-out crowd before the start of the team’s three-game series against Arizona.
Jones was dressed in a gray suit and red tie, and he stuck around to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. He was joined by former manager Bobby Cox, owner Ted Turner, president John Shuerholz and his two sons.
“It still doesn’t seem real,” Jones told the crowd. “It’s humbling.”
Jones is an eight-time All-Star and 1999 NL MVP who spent all 19 years of his career with the Braves.
He thanked many Friday during the ceremony, but none more than Todd Van Poppel.
Wait ... who?
Van Poppel, who was once seen as a can’t-miss first-round pick in Jones’ 1990 draft class, told the franchise he would refuse to sign with them if it picked him. So the Braves went in another direction, instead taking a young Florida prospect named Larry Wayne Jones Jr. Atlanta fans, of course, just him as Chipper. (NOTE: The hard-throwing Van Poppel was a bust in the majors, posting a career record of 40-52 with a 5.58 ERA)
The retirement of Jones’ jersey means he’ll join the likes of other former Braves to have theirs hung at the stadium: Warren Spahn, Eddie Mathews, Phil Niekro, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Hank Aaron, Dale Murphy and Bobby Cox.
One day earlier, Atlanta inducted Jones’ jersey into the franchise’s Hall of Fame during a luncheon.
Jones said he almost felt embarrassed so much of a fuss was being made about him this weekend.
“I played baseball. It’s not like I cured cancer or anything,” he said. “I’m a little sheepish. I’m almost embarrassed, because I don’t believe I deserve all of this. I really don’t. I play baseball. I do one thing better than most of you all here.
“To get all of these accolades and to get all of this attention and to have all of this happen is really awe-inspiring to me.”
Jones is Atlanta’s career leader among third basemen with 1,623 RBI.