Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones--one of the greatest switch-hitters in baseball history--shares his remarkable story, while capturing the magic nostalgia that sets baseball apart from every other sport. Read more...
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Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones--one of the greatest switch-hitters in baseball history--shares his remarkable story, while capturing the magic nostalgia that sets baseball apart from every other sport.
Before Chipper Jones became an eight-time All-Star who amassed Hall of Fame-worthy statistics during a nineteen-year career with the Atlanta Braves, he was just a country kid from small town Pierson, Florida. A kid who grew up playing baseball in the backyard with his dad dreaming that one day he'd be a major league ballplayer.
With his trademark candor and astonishing recall, Chipper Jones tells the story of his rise to the MLB ranks and what it took to stay with one organization his entire career in an era of booming free agency. His journey begins with learning the art of switch-hitting and takes off after the Braves made him the number one overall pick in the 1990 draft, setting him on course to become the linchpin of their lineup at the height of their fourteen-straight division-title run.
Ballplayer takes readers into the clubhouse of the Braves' extraordinary dynasty, from the climax of the World Series championship in 1995 to the last-gasp division win by the 2005 "Baby Braves"; all the while sharing pitch-by-pitch dissections of clashes at the plate with some of the all-time great starters, such as Clemens and Johnson, as well as closers such as Wagner and Papelbon. He delves into his relationships with Bobby Cox and his famous Braves brothers--Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz, among them--and opponents from Cal Ripken Jr. to Barry Bonds. The National League MVP also opens up about his overnight rise to superstardom and the personal pitfalls that came with fame; his spirited rivalry with the New York Mets; his reflections on baseball in the modern era--outrageous money, steroids, and all--and his special last season in 2012.
Ballplayer immerses us in the best of baseball, as if we're sitting next to Chipper in the dugout on an endless spring day.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2017-01-23
- Reviewer: Staff
Jones, one of the best switch hitters in Major League Baseball history, who spent his entire 23-year career with the Atlanta Braves, offers an insiders look into professional baseball. In this sold memoir, cowritten with Walton, a sportswriter who covered the Braves for nearly 20 years, Jones, with the same tenacity and candor in which he played the game, takes readers into the backyard of his boyhood home in Pierson, Fla., where he and his father (a varsity high school baseball coach) simulated games they watched on TV. He recounts what it was like to have three dozen Major League scouts attend his practices and games while at the Bolles School, a private boarding institution in Jacksonville, Fla., and recalls the day he became the top overall pick in baseballs 1990 draft. The Braves won the 1995 World Series and made the postseason every year for the next decade. But the era was plagued by rampant steroids use, and Joneswho, though tempted, claims he never touched the stuffwrites openly yet carefully about Barry Bonds, Roger Clemons, and other tainted players. He also chronicles how his first two marriages crumbled (and accepts his share of the blame), and takes readers into the batters box for some of his most memorable at-bats. (Mar.)