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Chipper's last blast wins GIBBY for Walk-Off of Year

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Chipper Jones believes the final home run of his legendary career also might have been his most euphoric. The baseball world appears to believe that it produced one of the greatest memories of the 2012 season.

Jones' thrilling home run that capped a dramatic ninth-inning comeback against the Phillies on Sept. 2 was recognized as the Walk-Off of the Year when the Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards (GIBBYS) were announced on Tuesday afternoon.

Jones' three-run home run off Phillies All-Star closer Jonathan Papelbon capped a five-run ninth-inning rally and gave the Braves an 8-7 win at Turner Field.

"Nothing beats that," Jones said. "That's as good as it gets for a baseball player, to walk off the field -- especially in that situation, where we were really down and out."

Major League Baseball's A-listers won 2012 GIBBYs trophies -- the ultimate honors of baseball's awards season -- based on votes by media, front-office personnel, MLB alumni, fans at MLB.com and the Society for American Baseball Research.

This year's GIBBY Awards featured nominees in 21 categories. Individual honors went to the MLB MVP, in addition to the year's best starting pitcher, hitter, closer, setup man, rookie, breakout hitter, breakout pitcher, comeback player, defensive player, manager and postseason performer.

GIBBY trophies were also awarded for the year's top play, storyline, hitting performance, pitching performance, oddity, Cut4 topic and postseason moment, from MLB.com's Must C highlight reels.

Jones' award-winning shot over the right-center-field wall simply added to the many special moments the switch-hitter created after announcing his plans to retire at the end of the season. There was the home run he hit on his 40th birthday and the other walk-off shot he hit against the Phillies on May 2.

But none of these home runs stirred the emotions like the 1-1 fastball that Jones drilled on Sept. 2.

Papelbon missed with a first-pitch fastball to Jones, who fouled off a fastball on the second pitch. This led the third baseman to assume the hard-throwing right-hander would come back with more heat, instead of flirting with the possibility of getting beat with his slider or splitter.

As has been the case so often in his career, Jones correctly predicted Papelbon's next move.

"He threw him another fastball right there, and it was exactly the same spot and he didn't miss it," teammate Martin Prado said. "That's what the greatest hitters do. They just don't miss. Even if they don't miss the first time, you cannot throw the same place with the next pitch. That's why he's a Hall of Famer."

Atlanta Braves, Chipper Jones