Why Chipper Jones is the ultimate Phillies Villain

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All week at NBC Sports Philadelphia, we're debating the biggest villains in Philly sports history. Today, we look at the Phillies.

Everything about Chipper Jones screamed Phillies villain.

The southern drawl. An adult going by the name Chipper.

The opportunity to taunt him with his given name. 
    
LAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

It all added up nicely.

Oh, and he crushed the Phillies over the years. Nationally, Jones’ prodigious numbers against the Mets are often cited in support of his greatness. He even named one of his children Shea as an homage to the success he had at the Mets’ longtime home. I’d suppose Shea is a better name than Vet or Citizen for a child, but Chipper’s stats against the Phillies were actually better than what he posted against the Mets.

Chipper hit an unfathomable .331 batting average, 1.036 OPS, 49 HR, 152 RBI in 245 games against the local nine.

The only thing that Jones lacks for being a true Phillies villain is that he never really provided that singular gut-wrenching, soul-sucking moment against the Phils in a significant spot. There’s no one moment we can all point to where Chipper broke our hearts.

And that’s kind of the point.

Jones served as the physical embodiment of the gap that separated the also-ran Phillies from the perennial division champion Braves from the mid-90s through the mid-’00s.

It was bad enough Atlanta possessed the greatest rotation ever with Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. Then they added this sweet-swinging third baseman who would eventually become the best switch-hitter since Mickey Mantle.

Even when the Phillies appeared to have their all-star answer at the hot corner in Scott Rolen, it was clear he was not going to possess the same offensive upside. Then, Rolen saw what we all saw: the gap on and off the field between the Phils and Braves. So Rolen manufactured his exit while Jones continued to destroy the likes of Joe Roa and Hector Mercado.

It just didn’t seem fair. The Braves went from not even being in the Phillies’ division as late as 1993 to serving as the impenetrable barrier between the Phils and legitimate contention. 

Then, as the Phillies finally amassed enough talent to run with the big boys, Jones and the Braves did not even possess the common decency to play legitimate foils. No, they ducked the Phillies of 2007-11 by devolving into mediocrity, never posing a true danger to the Phils’ division title hopes. Couldn’t even give us the satisfaction, could you Chipper?

That’s not to say Jones lost all that much in his game. He remained a threat through his final season in 2012. In fact, the last of his 468 career home runs came in September of that year. It was a three-run walk-off home run against the Phillies’ all-time saves leader, Jonathan Papelbon. 

It has now been eight years since Chipper Jones took the field in Philadelphia. But it’s likely that for Phillies fans from ages 25 to 45, his name remains the first they think of when it comes to opposing NL East players.

LAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRYYYYYYYYYYYYY!

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