An Atlanta Braves legend tells his story.
When Jones retired from Major League Baseball at the end of the 2012 season, he did so as a franchise hero. One of the greatest switch hitters in the long history of the game, Jones, the 1999 National League MVP, eight-time All-Star, World Series champion, and one of the linchpins of the franchise’s glory years, played for his entire career, including 19 years in the major league, in the Atlanta Braves organization. In the parlance of some traditionalists, Jones played the game “the right way.” His autobiography, ably co-authored by Walton, who covered the Braves for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, tells about the life and career of a small-town Florida guy who wanted to play professional baseball from the age of 4. His main inspiration was his father, a former college baseball player and high school coach who became the primary influence on his career. Jones left his small town to play for a larger high school where his exploits earned him selection as the first overall pick in the 1990 MLB draft and a hefty signing bonus. Jones is no saint—he unflinchingly details his two failed marriages, one of which fell apart because of his serial infidelities that produced a child—but he doesn’t offer much in the way of true insight, maintaining the focus on his love of the sport, his approach to the game, and his successes and failures on the field. 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, but those fans will find a clear, readable old-school account of a player who almost certainly will be voted into the Hall of Fame, possibly as early as 2018, his first year of eligibility.