Mets fans have given Chipper Jones a hard time over the years — Laaaaary, Laaaaary — but, of course, he's given the Mets a hard time over the years: In 239 career games against the Mets, Jones has hit .314 with an OPS of .963. His 49 career homers against the Mets are tied for the most he's hit against any opponent. And during his one playoff series against the Mets (the 1999 NLCS), he had an on-base percentage of over .500. Jones is retiring at the end of the year, and this weekend, he'll play his final series in Flushing. You may recall that, a few months back, there was a report that the Mets would pay tribute to Jones in some way when he played his final road game against the team. That decision spoke to the unique relationship Jones has with the organization and its fans: Said Jones to the Times this week, with regards to what he hears from Mets fans on Twitter: "They tell me, 'I admire you — you killed my Mets over the years and I hate you for it, but I respect you anyway.'"
No less than David Wright feels that way, in fact. Here's the Mets third baseman, via the Post: "I am glad he is leaving, because he kills us. But I think he will be missed, just because it’s funny thinking of the Atlanta Braves without Chipper — they kind of go hand-in-hand."
The Times' piece on Jones today also gets into his special connection to the now-demolished Shea Stadium:
Jones allowed that “if I was a New York Mets fan, I don’t know how I’d feel about me.” Still, he named his 8-year-old son Shea, although he insists it wasn’t merely a tip of the cap to one of his favored hitting grounds.
“I just love the name; my wife did, too. A lot of people think I was doing it just to get at the Mets fans, but that’s not the case. My dad named me Larry, for Pete’s sake — give me something I can work with, you know? I could’ve played in the American League my whole career, and I still would have named him Shea.”
Yet Jones is very much aware of the special role that Shea Stadium played in his career, and he purchased two seats from the park at auction as it was being torn down.
So, good-bye, Larry, and congrats on a Hall of Fame career. Now, once more, for old time's sake: