30 baseball books for April ’17, Day 19: Hello, Larry


Part of Chipper Jones’ book promotion tour was a two-part conversation with Bob Ley recently on ESPN’s “Outside The Lines.” Because, he could.

The book: “Ballplayer”
The author: Chipper Jones, with Carroll Rogers Walton
The vital statistics: Dutton, 384 pages, $27, released April 4
Find it: At Amazon.com, at Barnes & Noble, at Powells.com, at Vromans.com, at the publishers’ website

The pitch: Larry Wayne Jones Jr., really didn’t need to give us his life story.
Especially with the somewhat snobbish title “Ballplayer,” which kind of gives us reason to shug in the same way when we hear a name like “Kid Rock” or “Lady Gaga.”
Could you dumb it down any more for us, whatever your real names might be?
Chipper the Ballplayer, a chip off the old block, is a product of his father, as this book very much explains. Dad wanted his rock-solid kid to be the next Mickey Mantle, so everyone would go gaga.
Ballplayer Jones took his switch hitting talents about as far as one could for someone born to be a baseball player, endured a few troublesome injuries that may have hurt his overall numbers, but not enough to be included in the Hall of Fame starting with his first year of eligibility in 2018.
All the numbers add to a probable first-ballot election based on HOFm, WAR, JAWS, Jpos and whatever other jumbled letters you choose to use. A book like this also doesn’t hurt the cause when you’re trying to get into the voters’ heads.
Already labeled a “best seller” in baseball biographies from Amazon.com, there must be something “there” there.
On a scale of 1-to-Chipper’s No. 10, we’ll log it in at his position on the scorecard: E5.

Along for the ride with Walton, a former backup Braves beat writer and general assignment sports writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, we get hitched up another country-boy saga, the backyard dreamer, the brotherhood he had with Greg “Doggie” Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and how the Braves kept getting to the top of the NL but only once made to World Series champion.
He played the game, as he’ll tell you, the “right way.” And his rewards will come.
But really deep insights? Not really here.
On the subject of steroids in the game: “The first person I really suspected was (relief pitcher John) Rocker. I only say that openly now because he admitted to it. I know there were others, but I would never call anybody out.”
There are points where the real Ballplayer admits to having marriages that failed, one because of his philandering that led to a child that he fathered. But no life lessons seem to be learned.
In search of the best way to sum this up, we resorted to tracking down a review of the book from Kirkus that resonated with this line: “Jones was undoubtedly a great player, but not a transcendent figure. There will be little readership for the book outside of baseball fans, especially in the Atlanta area.”
Such is the headline from the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph with this review: “Chipper Jones hits another home run with his book”
At least you won’t have to brave long lines in the local bookstore looking for it.
(Note: For those Braves fans who aren’t apt to read, Ballplayer Chipper has a 10-hour audio version. Someone named Mark Deakins reads it instead of Chipper, ’cause, well you know …)

Also:
= A brief review from the New York Times magazine

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