Old man Chipper Jones just keeps amazing me. He’s hitting over .300 at the age of 40, and just recently went 5-5 against the Cubs, the same day he was named to the All-Star team. Chipper was originally one of the final five players which the fans could vote on for the team. Chipper had a slight lead on Bryce Harper, who led David Freese, Aaron Hill, and the Braves’ Michael Bourn. Dodger outfielder Matt Kemp pulled out of the game, opening up a spot for Chipper. Former Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa named Chipper his replacement, but LaRussa still rubs me the wrong way. I never liked him, and the fact that he snubbed so many players this season just infuriated me even more. Players like Martin Prado, Michael Bourn, Tommy Hanson, Brandon Phillips, and Johnny Cueto were left off.
Back to Chipper. He has played in every stadium in the major leagues, with the exception of Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City, where this year’s All-Star Game is being played. As of Monday night, Chipper was just one RBI behind Mike Schmidt and two RBI behind George Brett for the most RBI all-time by a third baseman. It would have been nice if Chipper had been able to pass the former Royal Brett before the All-Star game, a game where Brett is almost certain to be since it’s in Kansas City, where he played and had a Hall of Fame career. But there’s little doubt, barring a season-ending injury, that Chipper will get at least four more RBI and become the new RBI leader for third basemen.
On a local level, it’s been nearly 26 years since R.E. Lee Rebel quarterback Chris Teal found wide receiver David Gilbert on a 48 yard Hail Mary touchdown as time expired, to beat the Upson High Yellow Jackets in 1986. I was only six years old at the time, but I remember sitting in the stands with my dad, a former R.E. Lee graduate, as my sister, a graduate of Upson High, cheered for the Yellow Jackets as a member of the Yellow Jacket cheerleading squad. When Gilbert caught the pass and dove into the end zone, my dad jumped up and down celebrating, as my sister cried with the others from Upson High. Needless to say, the car ride home was a little uncomfortable.
26 years later, Teal is the Head Coach for the Poplarville High School football team in Poplarville, MS. David Gilbert now lives in Pike County, but you can find him in Thomaston during the week. Gilbert owns IBC Benefits, a life and health insurance company here in town. The two have always been close throughout the years, being part of local history and folklore as the story of the game is told from generation to generation. Now the two are even closer. David married April Teal, Chris’s cousin, and the two are in touch quite frequently.
The fourth of July has come and gone, and now the Upson-Lee Knights are getting ready to take on the last part of their summer workouts in stride. The Knights have already participated in a couple of passing games at Peach County, and now they will get ready to participate in a passing game against Westside-Macon. The Knights will be able to start practicing on July 25, but will practice in shorts and helmets only until August 1, when the team will be able to practice in full pads.
Also, coming up in a few weeks will be the Upson-Lee football team’s annual golf tournament fundraiser. The Knights Kick-Off Classic will take place from July 27-29. The tournament will be played in a shamble format ( best drive, play own ball from there) at Raintree Golf Club in Thomaston. The tournament will be a two-day tournament on July 28-29, with a catered dinner on Friday night. Keep reading The Times for more info on the golf tournament in the coming days.