Monday, April 4, 2011

20 Greatest Braves

Ok, ESPN New York now has a top 50 Yankees of All-Time list, so it is now necessary to compile one of the Bravos. Only statistics compiled while a member of the Braves are considered, and the entire franchise BOS-MIL-ATL history is also considered.

20. Ralph Garr had a very productive 7 year career with the Atlanta Braves. Playing all 3 outfield spots, he finished in the top 25 in MVP voting in 3 of his 4 years as an everyday player. His best season, 1974, Garr made the All-Star team while leading the NL in hits (217), triples (17), and batting average (.353).

19. Lew Burdette – A Milwaukee Brave from 1951-1962, Burdette was the #2 starter behind Warren Spahn for most of his time as a Brave. From 56-61, Burdette had his peak years, finishing in the top 25 in MVP voting 4 times, making 2 All-Star teams, and averaging almost 19 wins per year.

18. Brian McCann – Brain has an unreal beginning to his Braves career and figures to move up on this list the next few years. Already a 5-time All-Star at age 27, Brian also has 4 sliver slugger awards, 5 18+ home run seasons, and his 162 game average of .289/24/100 isn’t far off from Johnny Bench’s .267/29/103.

17. Joe Adcock – A Milwaukee Brave from 53-62, Joe has the crazy stat of compiling 18 total bases in 1 game, 2nd most in major league history to Shawn Green. Joe finished in the top 20 in MVP voting 4 times as a Brave, and was an All-Star in 1960. He hit 233 home runs as a Brave, highlighted by hitting 38 in 1956 and leading the team to the World Series.

16. Fred McGriff – The Crime Dog was an integral part of the 1995 World Championship team, and his acquisition in July of 1993 was in the middle of the team’s peak seasons. Freddie was a 3-time All-Star as a Brave, finished in the top 20 in MVP voting once, and in the top 10 in 1994 (8th). His average season as a Brave is a very impressive .292/28/98.

15. David Justice – Justice makes this list for a number of reasons, most notably he had the biggest hit in Atlanta Braves history. His solo home run in Game 6 of the 1995 World Series was the only run scored and gave Atlanta its only World Championship. Justice also won Rookie of the Year in 1990, went to 2 All-Star games, and had 3 top 25 MVP finishes as a Brave. His 1993 season (3rd in MVP voting), where he hit .270/40/120 earned him a Sliver Slugger award as an outfielder.

14. Tommy Holmes – Holmes was an outfielder for the Boston Braves from 1942-1951. He is best known for his 1945 season as a Brave, where he led the league in hits, home runs, SLG%, OBP%, and total bases. During his time as a Brave, Holmes finished in the top 30 in MVP voting 5 times, highlighted by his runner-up MVP finish in 1945.

13. Javy Lopez – Our second Atlanta Brave catcher on the list also sports a very impressive 162 game average as a Brave. Lopez’s .286/28/96 average is right up there with Johnny Bench as well. Javy finished 5th in the 2003 MVP voting, where he had a career year of .328/43/109, one of the best seasons a catcher has ever had in major league history. He was a 3 time All-Star who also posted a very impressive .284/34/106 in 1998.

12. Rabbit Maranville - Our 2nd Boston Brave on the list is our first Hall of Famer to appear. Walter James Vincent “Rabbit” Maranville was a Boston Brave for 15 seasons from 1912-1935. He finished in . the top 20 in MVP voting as a Brave 5 times, including a 2nd and a 3rd in 1913 and 1914. In Rabbit’s 1st term in Boston, he was a slick-fielding SS, but later came back to Boston to play 2nd base as his career wore down. Only a .258 career hitter with 28 career home runs, some question his Hall of Fame credentials, but his defense and invention of the basket catch get him on the top Braves list with ease.

11. Johnny Sain – Sain was a dominant right handed pitcher that would have put up incredible numbers if he didn’t miss 3 seasons to fight in WWII. He won 20+ 4 times from 1946-1950 and finished top 25 in MVP voting 4 times, including 5th in 1946. As a Brave, he led the NL in complete games twice, innings pitched, and wins.

10. Dale Murphy – Old Dale was just about a Brave lifer, playing in Atlanta from 1976-1990. He won back-to-back MVP awards in 82-83, and had 3 other seasons finishing in the top 11. Murph hit 371 home runs as a Brave, and drove in 100+ runs 5 different times. Dale also played in 7 All-Star games and owns 4 Silver Slugger awards.

9. Andruw Jones – Jones had a remarkable run with the Braves from 97-07. He won 10 gold gloves, went to 5 All-Star games, and had 5 seasons finishing in the top 20 in MVP voting. Andruw’s best year, 2005, resulted in a runner-up MVP finish while leading the majors in home runs with 51. In his 12 year run as a Brave, Jones belted 368 home runs and was a part of 10 National League East Champion teams.

8. Phil NeikroKnucksie won 268 games as a Brave and was a 5 time All-Star. Phil was a 3-time 20 game winner as a Brave, led the league in complete games and innings pitched 4 times. He compiled 5 top 10 finishes in Cy Young voting and 3 top 20 MVP finishes.

7. John Smoltz – Smoltz, the franchise career saves leader, also was a dominant starting pitcher during the 14 year divisional championship run. Smoltz was the 1996 Cy Young award winner, and he finished in the top 7 in voting 4 other years. Smoltzie is a 8 time All-Star who has led the NL in wins and K’ twice, saves, and innings pitched.

6. Chipper Jones – When he retires, Chipper will go down as one of the greatest Braves, switch-hitters, and #1 overall draft picks of all-time. Chipper made an immediate impact as a Brave, batting 3rd on the 1995 World Championship team as a rookie. Since then, Chip has won an MVP award (‘99), batting title (’08), led the league in OPS (’07), and made 6 All-Star games. Besides ’99, Jones also has finished in the top 25 in MVP voting 11 times, including 8 top 12 finishes.

5. Tom Glavine – A 2-time Cy Young award winner, Glavine was a staple in Braves rotations from 1988-2002. He compiled a 244-147 record as Brave and was an 8 time All-Star. Tommy also had 4 seasons besides his 2 Cy Young award winner seasons where he finished in the top 3 in voting. He also led the league in wins 5 times from 91-00.

4. Greg Maddux – Mad Dog was virtually un-hittable in his 11 seasons as a Brave. He won 3 Cy Young awards, and finished in the top 5 in voting 4 other years. He was the NL ERA leader 4 times from 93-98 and won 10 Gold Glove Awards. Maddux was also the NL leader in his time as a Brave in wins (x3), W-L% (x2), CG’s (x3), Shutouts (x5), and Innings pitched (x5)

3. Eddie Mathews – Another Hall of Famer and member of the 500 HR club, Eddie is the only player who played for the Braves in Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta. He was a 9 time All-Star with 10 top 30 MVP finishes. He hit 493 home runs as Brave, and led the league twice with 46 and 47 in ’53 and ’59.

2. Warren Spahn - From 1942-1964, Spahn was the dominant pitcher in the Braves organization. He won 357 games as a Brave, including the Cy Young on the 1957 World Series Champion team. He is a 14 time All-Star, 15 time top 25 MVP finisher, and a 3-time Cy Young runner-up. A Hall of Famer, Spahn is considered one of the greatest left handed pitchers of all-time.

1. Hank Aaron – Our #1 Brave is the former Home Run King, Hank Aaron. Hammerin Hank was on 20 All-Star teams as a Brave, won the 1957 MVP and finished in the top 16 in MVP voting 19 times. He is the all-time Major League leader in RBI (2297) and total bases (6856). Hank also led the league in home runs (x4), runs (x3), hits (x2), doubles (x4), RBI (x4), AVG (x2), SLG (x4), OPS (x3), and total bases (x8).

1 comment:

William Satterwhite said...

Great list, although I think Wally Berger should probably be included instead of Garr.