Braves All-Time Team: Left Field

I’m closing the vote for shortstop now, with no winner and no clear mandate even for a runoff; Furcal, Blauser, Maranville, and Long are all pretty equal. I’m going to move on to the outfield, then we’ll come back and settle this. I think what I’ll do is have a vote between Furcal and Blauser for a modern winner, then between Maranville and Long for an old-time winner, then match up those two for the champ.

It’s a little harder in the outfield, because until fairly recently games played weren’t kept for the individual outfield positions. They’ve been reconstructed (from box scores, I think) so it’s possible now, but I can’t guarantee that, for example, Hugh Duffy mostly played left in Boston.

Also, relatively few players are career left or right fielders. Often, players swap between the two, and also play center or first or somewhere else. So some of these are judgment calls. For example, Ron Gant played less than half his games for the Braves in left, but played there more than anywhere else (slightly more than in center).

The candidates are:

Ryan Klesko
Ron Gant
Jeff Burroughs
Ralph Garr
Rico Carty
Sid Gordon
Duff Cooley
Hugh Duffy
Tommy McCarthy
Joe Hornung

Notes: Andy Leonard was the LF when the franchise entered play at the inception of the National League; he would qualified if I included his time with the National Association. I may do that anyway in a future vote… There is a 45-year gap between Cooley and Gordon. From what I can tell, the longest tenure in left between those two was Hal Lee, who missed the cutoff by 14 PA… Notable non-qualifiers are Lonnie Smith, Ken Griffey Sr., Terry Harper, Rufino Linares, Wes Covington… McCarthy is in the Hall of Fame, but his playing career doesn’t really warrant it; he’s in more as a “contributor”.

18 thoughts on “Braves All-Time Team: Left Field”

  1. Rico Carty (another original Atlanta Brave… what a team) The Beeg Boy (not Beeg Mon, as baseball-reference has it) could hit, although he was known to “hack at slop.” His numbers would have been even better if he hadn’t lost a year to tuberculosis. Wasn’t much in the field, but I don’t think any left fielders ever were very much in the fielkd… if they were, they wouldn’t have been playing left field.

  2. Hugh Duffy … although the monster ’94 season needs to be taken with a grain of salt due to the changes in league structure and rules changes.

  3. Maybe so, but he still won the Triple Crown.

    I voted for Duffy because I had trouble separating some of the other guys. Burroughs was good but only here 4 seasons. Same with Sid Gordon. Gant and Klesko never had the peak of Burroughs or Gordon, although they had more AB here.

  4. Looks like (at least to my mind) either Hugh Duffy or Rico Carty (with Sid Gordon in third). My first inclination was to go with Ron Gant, but apparently, my memory of him as a great player is not totally accurate (or it could just be that kids are dumb).
    Going by numbers alone Duffy should win in a landslide, but I’m a bit uncertain how to weigh his stats given that he played sooo long ago. Still, if he won a triple crown, that’s gotta count for quite a bit.

  5. You know, it’s funny, and maybe a little unfortunate, how much of an advantage a player has in this poll if they’ve played for the Braves in the last fifteen-twenty years or so. I mean, no way should Ron Gant have that many votes. He was 30-30 for two years, but mostly hit for about .250-.265.
    Hugh Duffy is in the Hall of Fame. Most of his comparable players are in the HoF. Most of Gant’s were mainly good for a few years or so, but will never be in the HoF. Carty’s ain’t all that either.
    Just makin’ my case for Duffy.

  6. I’ll go with Duffy. What happend to Rico Carty in 1968 and 1971? Gant is my sentimental favorite, since he took over as my favorite Brave after Murphy was gone, but the field is just to strong to vote for him.

  7. Screw era-adjustments and all that. If a guy is in the Hall of Fame, that means he’s a Hall of Famer, which means he’s better than Ron Gant.

    I give Duffy the nod. Career line of 324/384/449 in the dead ball era is pretty good.

  8. “the fact of the matter is when those players finally get on track then you shut up. When Johnson started 1-29, the same people that were crying up a storm that he was “killing the team” crawled back in their holes when he got on track”

    RobCope, You are railing against the posters who vent against fans and are degrading them. Why is that the moral higher ground?

  9. Gant may not have the best stats but my best Bobby Cox like instincts tell me he was our best.

  10. I’m glad Lonnie isn’t eligible. In a weak moment, I may well have voted for him. I don’t know exactly why, and it would have been unwarranted and irresponsible, but I could see it happen.

  11. Seems like the one thing most of these guys have in common (other than having played LF for the Braves) is wildly varying performance and/or playing time from season to season. Only Gordon and Duffy produced at a consistently high level for more than a couple of seasons in a row.

    Had Carty not missed two full seasons (not to mention not getting a shot until age 24 — more grist for the mill concerning the mismanagement of the Milwaukee Braves, Mac?) — he would be the obvious choice to me. In fact, he and Duffy seem a lot alike. But Duffy stayed in the lineup, so he gets my vote.

  12. I don’t know what held Carty back. (I also wonder about that age — is that the age he was commonly listed with during his career?)

    The M-Braves had Lee Maye and Mack Jones in the outfield in ’62-63. (The other guy was Aaron, of course.) Maye had gotten his career off to a hot start, though he was really inconsistent. Jones was talented but not ready, I’d guess; he’ll show up with the CFs. Both were better defensive players than Carty.

    Carty had been a catcher; the Braves signed him in 1960 (along with nine other teams, according to this). He was still learning the outfield when he came up. It’s probably not the M-Braves’ fault he didn’t come up until then.

  13. I give Duffy the nod. Career line of 324/384/449 in the dead ball era is pretty good.

    Jason, a nitpick. Hugh Duffy played before the deadball era. In 1894, when Duffy had his monster season, teams averaged 7.36 runs per game. That is almost twice what they score now – last year in the NL, teams averaged 4.64. 1894 was an outlier, but for most of Duffy’s career, teams were scoring around 6 runs per game.

  14. I have the vote for the BEEG BOY Rico Carty, man this guy could hit. In his healthy good years you could make a pretty good case that he was a bigger threat than Hank. By the way, legend has it that he carried his wallet (filled with cash) in his uniform back pocket.

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