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Chipper plans to rib Smoltz in HOF speech

Former Braves 3B being coached by Maddux to go for laughs
MLB.com @mlbbowman

ATLANTA -- Nearly 15 years after last playing for Atlanta, Greg Maddux is still that fun-loving prankster who takes great joy in stirring the pot, often at the playful expense of some of his former Braves teammates.

When Maddux and Tom Glavine were inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame in 2014, they aimed some bald jokes in the direction of John Smoltz, who responded the following year by wearing a wig during his induction speech, which poked fun at Chipper Jones' Twitter usage.

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ATLANTA -- Nearly 15 years after last playing for Atlanta, Greg Maddux is still that fun-loving prankster who takes great joy in stirring the pot, often at the playful expense of some of his former Braves teammates.

When Maddux and Tom Glavine were inducted into Baseball's Hall of Fame in 2014, they aimed some bald jokes in the direction of John Smoltz, who responded the following year by wearing a wig during his induction speech, which poked fun at Chipper Jones' Twitter usage.

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Now it's Jones' turn to retaliate. As the former Braves third baseman has prepared to be inducted into the Hall of Fame on July 29, he has shared a few conversations with Maddux, who predictably wants a portion of Jones' speech to create a laugh at the expense of Smoltz.

"I would say [Smoltz] deserves a lot more than I am going to give him," Jones said. "He makes himself such an easy target. Doggie and I have talked, and trust me, Doggie wants me to bury him. But I think there's some good to taking the high road every once in a while. But I'm going to get him."

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Less than three weeks away from traveling to Cooperstown to receive baseball's greatest honor, Jones is looking forward to the chance to reunite with Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz, who will once again take delight in hazing the rookie that they welcomed to Atlanta's everyday lineup at the start of the Braves' 1995 World Series season.

Having seen these former teammates, his former manager Bobby Cox and his former general manager John Schuerholz all inducted into the Hall of Fame within the past four years, Jones has had a chance to at least get a feel for what he might like to say when he delivers his speech. But he says his speech will be modeled more to the one delivered in 2010 by Andre Dawson, who essentially said if you love the game of baseball, it will love you back.

"I'm really not that nervous right now," Jones said. "I think when I sit down and start messing with my speech, the butterflies hit a little bit. It's not going to hit me until I get up there. Last time I was up there in April [for a private tour], there was snow on the ground and nobody walking around. The next time I go up there, there's going to be 40,000 people there to watch us get inducted. Yeah, it's going to hit me. It's going to be crazy."

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Jones will forever stand as an iconic figure within a fan base that continues to appreciate all that he provided during what was the greatest era in franchise history. The Braves made 14 trips to the postseason, won 13 division titles, captured three National League pennants and won a World Series while he was a member of the roster from 1993-2012.

"I get a lot of attention here around Atlanta," Jones said. "People just coming up and saying thanks for the memories and all of that. Now people come up, they shake my hand, put their hand on my shoulder and say, 'Congrats dude. Way to go. You deserve it.' That always makes you feel better. People are more touchy feely than they should be."

How else has Jones' life changed since he received the call in January, informing him he would be a Hall of Famer?

"That's easy," Jones said. "The signature takes longer. [Adding] 'HOF '18' takes a little longer, but it's a hell of a lot of fun to write."

Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.

Atlanta Braves