I promise I’m not going to get into the habit of leaving book reviews here on our show page.
However, being that I am out today (taking my little girl to the doctor in Iowa City), I wanted to contribute something to KXnO.
Chipper Jones is far and away my favorite athlete of all-time.
It all began back in Clarinda, where I hung onto what seemed like every pitch of every game watching TBS in my parent’s basement. I was immediately drawn to Chipper because of his youth, his cool name and the fact that he was supposed to be this really big deal. That's what Skip Caray told me at least.
Over the last week, I started reading his new biography and my man crush has only grown.
I’m about halfway into the book and two things have stood out to me - the first being the most important.
This is future first ballot Hall of Famer we are talking about here. He could have led with anything from the World Series in 1995, the streak of 14 straight NL East division championships or what I love so much about Chipper - the fact that he played all 19 seasons of his career with my team.
The first chapter of this book is about failure - specifically the throwing error he made in the final game of his career - also known as the “Infield Fly Game” in MLB’s first wild card play-in (or whatever you want to call it) vs. the Cardinals.
Being a diehard Braves fan, I can’t go a week without talking about that game. It still makes me mad to the core. Jones, who played in it, blames himself - not the umpires - for his team not advancing.
In a behind-the-scenes look at his life and career, Chipper Jones led with failure. That type of an attitude is how anybody can become great at whatever you do.
My second biggest takeaway was the fact that as a senior in high school, Chipper walked out of a meeting with super-agent Scott Boras, who wanted him to use his verbal commitment to the University of Miami as leverage to get more money. Chipper couldn’t stand Boras. He didn’t want to play games - just baseball. Beside his parents, Chipper negotiated and signed with the Braves without an agent.
That's old school. In the world that we live in now, how cool is that?
In 1995, Chipper was Atlanta’s Opening Day starting third basement with a salary of $114,000. He has been my favorite ball player ever since.
I’m not about propping athletes up to be more than what they are, but Chipper has always represented something more to me. He’s not only the guy you want to have a beer with, but the guy you wouldn’t mind your son to end up being like.
I just like people who keep it real. Chipper keeps it real.
In closing, a quick commentary: There is a ton of young talent in baseball today and I really do believe the future is bright. I am way more interested in the sport as a whole than i was five years ago. I just really hope that some of these guys show us some personality and character that we got from ball players - specifically Chipper - back in the day.