The Chipper Jones that Jeff Conine remembered from the early days was “very confident and a little brash.” Over time, though, Conine’s opinion changed to one of professional admiration.
“My respect for him grew immensely over the years, and I consider him one of the all-time greats that I’ve played against,” Conine said.
Jones, whose major-league debut in 1993 coincided with the Marlins’ inaugural season, will pay his final visit to South Florida when the Atlanta Braves arrive Monday for a three-game series. Jones, 40, announced in spring training that this season will be his last.
No player has played more games — or hit more home runs — against the Marlins. Jones has hit 40 homers in his 242 games against the Marlins.
“I hated to see him come up to the plate with the game on the line because he beat us a lot,” said Conine, an original Marlin.
The Marlins plan to honor Jones in a tribute before Wednesday night’s game.
Conine said he would consider managing one day, but not until his children are grown.
“This is their time,” said Conine, who spent a lot of time away from home when he was still playing.
The youngest of Conine’s three children is 12.
Whether he would consider first managing in the minors to earn his stripes, Conine said it would be a tough decision.
Barring any scoring changes from Saturday’s games around the majors, shortstop Jose Reyes’ fielding error in the seventh inning will go down unofficially as the 500,000 error in major-league history.
“I don’t want to make history that way,” Reyes said, laughing.
The folks at baseballreference.com came up with the stat and began a countdown, but acknowledged the number is probably not perfectly accurate.
“Are we 100 percent certain this will actually be the true, honest-to-god real 500,000th error since 1867?” according to the website. “No, it undoubtedly isn’t as there are lot of accounting discrepancies in the ‘official’ record, especially in the fielding stats.
“But it’s a fun milestone, so we’re going to track it.”
Said Reyes: “It’s OK. They track everything.”
Unaware that history had been made, Reyes never thought to save the ball.
• Monday: Marlins LHP Wade LeBlanc (2-4, 2.95 ERA) vs. Atlanta Braves RHP Tim Hudson (14-6, 3.66), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
Tuesday: Marlins RHP Nathan Eovaldi (4-12, 4.71) vs. Braves LHP Paul Maholm (12-10, 3.90), 7:10 p.m., Marlins Park.
• Scouting report: The Braves have dominated the Marlins so far this season, winning nine of their 12 meetings.
Hudson has gone 13-4 with a 2.81 ERA in 24 career starts against the Marlins. Hudson won both of his starts this season against Miami.