Larry Wayne Jones, Jr was given the nickname “Chipper” by his family who viewed him as a “chip off the old block,” referring to his father who was a teacher and baseball coach at a local high school. The influence of his father paid off as the Atlanta Braves chose Chipper as the No.1 Draft Pick in the first round of the 1990 Draft.
He made his major league debut on September 11, 1993 and spent his entire 19 year career with the Atlanta Braves, loyalty to one team is a rare and honorable characteristic for the modern era of baseball. He was drafted as a shortstop but was quickly moved to third-base where he spent most of his career with the exception of a two-year stint at left field. He is an eight time All-Star, the 1999 NL MVP, 1999 and 2000 Silver Slugger Award for third baseman and in 2008 he was MLB Batting Champion after hitting for a .364 batting average.
The Atlanta Braves were the dominating team for much of the 90’s, they were World Series Champions in 1995, and in 93 Post Season games Chipper batted .287 with 97 hits and 13 home runs. Statistically speaking there are many comparisons between Chipper and the great Mickey Mantle. Both were on dominating teams. Both were switch hitters. Both are the only two hitters in MLB history to have an on-base percentage of .400, a slugging percentage of .500, and both hit over 400 homeruns in their careers. That’s impressive! Also, Chipper has the most RBI’s of any third-baseman surpassing George Brett and Mike Schmidt in that category. He was a skillful switch hitter who batted over .300 from either side of the plate.
Chipper played his last game on October 3, 2012 and his impressive career stat line reads: .303 Batting Average | 1,623 RBI’s | 2,726 Hits | 468 Home Runs.
ROOKIE CARDS OF HALL OF FAMER CHIPPER JONES
1991 Bowman, Card No. 569 (shop eBay)
Topps resurrected the Bowman brand in 1989. This third year offering is a 704 card set which includes 166 rookie cards. Within the hobby Bowman is considered the “The Home of the Rookie Card” because each year it offers collectors a large checklist of rookie cards and because that was the marketing plan of Topps since the term was introduced to collectors back in 1997. The marketing plan stuck and to this day if you want baseball rookies collectors will refer you to the Bowman brand.
Card design is a simple one. Not a lot of razzle-dazzle therefore allowing us to see much of the photo. A nice, swinging, upper torso photo of our featured HOF’er with sunny to partly cloudy background. Photo is trimmed with two lines, one in blue the other in orange inside of a white border. The Bowman insignia in the lower left corner with a simple gradient text box showcasing his name along the bottom of card completes the card front. The card backs are interesting, showing us how a player performed against each team he faced from the previous year but since Chipper has no major league experience there’s nothing to show, they do give us his 1990 stats in the minors plus minor league career numbers. There is brief commentary along with player bio as well. This was the last year Bowman uses the brown cardboard stock switching to the white cardboard in 1992.
As of the date of this post raw copies can be purchased for $4.00-$10.00; graded mint copies (9’s) sell between $10.00-$20.00 and gem mint copies (10’s) sell in the $45.00-$75.00 range.
1991 Score, Card No. 671 (shop eBay)
This monstrosity of a set was the biggest of its day totaling 893 cards. The set also contains 11 subsets, the 1st Round Draft Picks subset (cards 671-682) contains one of the rookie cards of Chipper Jones. The card front gives us a gradient fill background and one of my favorite poses for a baseball card, the 3D, look at the barrel of my bat pose. I appreciate when players actually pose for the camera. The top of the card in big bold font tells us that Chipper was a 1st Round Draft Pick, what makes this unique to me is that Chipper is also the 1st pick of the 1st round. The card back gives us a portrait photo of Chipper but it looks like he’s got a major hang over going on. The green shadowed text box gives us player commentary but lacks in player bio and stats. This is one of my favorite of Chipper rookie cards but it’s been estimated that Score printed about 4 million copies of each card therefore there is not much value in these.
As of the date of this post raw copies can be purchased for $1.00-$4.00; graded mint copies (9’s) sell between $5.00-$10.00 and gem mint copies sell in the $15.00-$25.00 range.
1991 Topps, Card No. 333 (shop eBay)
1991 marked the 40th anniversary of Topps Co. they celebrated by giving collectors multiple buyback and or redemption cards meaning Topps purchased cards from 1952-1990 and inserted them into packs. This set is a collector favorite for excellent photography and card design but it is riddled with errors, many are uncorrected statistical errors but there were plenty of corrected errors too, due to wrong photos and or wrong teams. However, card number 333, the rookie card of newly inducted Hall of Famer is error free.
Chipper is shown here with his high school uniform on. He attended The Bolles High School in Jacksonville, Florida and can be seen here rocking the Bulldogs jersey and cap. Also, not 100% sure but that looks like an aluminum bat on his shoulders. How many official rookie cards of Hall of Famers do you see with their high school uniform? This is what makes this card unique but that’s not all. Photo sits on a white border and is outlined with blue and red lines that show his position and name. Lower right corner of card gives us a ribbon with team name. Upper right hand corner gives us another ribbon with #1 Draft Pick emblem. And the upper left corner of the card front gives us Topps brand emblem coupled with 40 Years of Baseball. An amazing card front! The card back is vintage Topps giving us everything we love on a card back; player bio, stats, and commentary. Notice the reddish color cardboard stock outlined with two thin lines highlighted with small diamonds about every inch or so.
Although this rookie card has all the markings of a great card it does not reflect in its value. It is suspected that Topps printed between 4-5 million of these. Supply did not just meet demand it surpassed demand, the result; as of the date of this post raw copies can be purchased for $1.00-$5.00; graded mint copies (9’s) sell between $6.00-$12.00 and gem mint copies (10’s) sell in the $20.00-$30.00 range.
1991 Opee-Chee, Card No. 333 (shop eBay)
Typically when you think of the OPee-Chee brand you think of the Canadian card manufacturer and hockey. But OPee-Chee has a lot of hobby weight among baseball card collectors as well. Owned by Topps one can see the resemblance but here’s how you can tell the difference for this particular card. First, see the top left of card front. Historically, the name would be OPee-Chee but for some reason in 1990 and 1991 OPee-Chee decided to keep the Topps emblem on the front of its cards. The card back is where one can really see the differences. OPee-Chee did not use the traditional brown cardboard stock instead they used white cardboard stock. Another distinguishing difference is the copyright print on the lower right side of the card back and of course the easiest way to tell is the bilingual commentary written in english and french.
As of the date of this post raw copies can be purchased for $7.00-$15.00; graded mint copies (9’s) sell between $30.00-$60.00 and gem mint copies (10’s) sells in the $160.00-$210.00 range.
1991 Upper Deck, Card No. 55 (shop eBay)
Unlike Topps 40 years of card manufacturing experience this is Upper Deck’s third year offering in the card manufacturing business. Again they offer collectors an 800 card set split up into two series of 700 and 100 cards. Cards were printed on all white card stock, a trend started by Upper Deck and embraced by everyone in 1992. Card No. 55 is an official rookie card of our featured Hall of Famer and the photo shows him in a defensive position. The theme of the card front is classic Upper Deck, notice how it takes the shape of an infield; lower right corner gives us home plate telling us that this is a Top Prospect. The left side of the card front looks like grass and rounding the lower left side of the card we see what appears to be a third base line with some dirt heading towards home. The card back gives us a 2D text box with great player commentary, player bio and 1990 minor league stats. Although Upper Deck was known for its great photography I must admit, in comparison to Chippers other rookie cards, this is my least favorite. Nontheless, an RC of a HOF’er and for that reason alone finds a place in my collection.
As was the trend of the day it is estimated that 3 million copies of these were printed. Therefore, as of the date of this post raw copies sell for $1.00-$2.00; graded mint copies (9’s) sell between $5.00-$10.00 and gem mint copies (10’s) sell in the $20.00-$30.00 range.