“Ballplayer” by Chipper Jones and Carroll Rogers-Walton
Baseball, memoir, professional, Braves
April 4, 2017
4 of 5 stars (very good)
The story of Larry “Chipper” Jones sounds like one that many fictional stories are woven from: a country boy who with the guidance from his parents becomes a big-time star in a big city. While it may sound like something that would be written as fiction, it is very much a true story as Jones reflects on his life in this memoir co-written with Carroll Rogers-Walton.
While Jones does speak about his inspiration and guidance from his parents as a young man, I felt the book was a little different than most sport memoirs in that there is not a lot of space about the athlete’s personal life. There is one chapter and part of another in which Jones speaks about his failed marriage and the infidelity that led to that ending. Much like what he did while a player, he spoke about it in detail once, then let everyone make their judgments and moved on.
How the book does this is that aside from that, Jones mostly talks about baseball, baseball, and more baseball. From his high school and minor league days, to his time with the Braves teams that won 14 consecutive division titles, five National League pennants and one World Series, this book covers nearly everything a fan would want to know about life in the major leagues. Jones is full of praise for the three Hall of Fame pitchers who led the Braves – Tom Glavine, Gregg Maddux and John Smoltz.
For hardcore fans, Jones also talks deep into baseball analysis. Not statistics, but things that happen on the field, such as learning to switch hit, learning different positions on the field (he was a shortstop, third baseman and outfielder, plus he also pitched in high school) and pitch-by-pitch analysis of memorable at bats for Jones. One I particularly enjoyed was one against Roger Clemens when the latter was a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Fans of Jones or the Atlanta Braves, the only major league team for which he played, will particularly enjoy this book. Even those who enjoy reading memoirs of baseball players but may not be a fan of either will still want to add this to their libraries.
I wish to thank Penguin Group Dutton for providing an advance review copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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