The 44 Greatest Atlanta Braves: Introduction

I meant to do a “Greatest Atlanta Braves” last offseason but I didn’t get around to it. This series is going to be irregular, depending upon time, but I hope to finish it before the season begins.

The rule is that a player must have spent a significant amount of time with the Atlanta Braves, but is judged by his total contribution to the Braves franchise. Therefore, Eddie Matthews doesn’t make the list, because he played only one year in Atlanta. However, Joe Torre, who played three years in Atlanta after six in Milwaukee, makes it and is judged on what he did in all nine seasons. This is arbitrary.

Most of the hitters included are judged largely upon their offensive contribution because it’s hard to judge on defense. There are a few players who were primarily glove men. My choices and ranking are, again, arbitrary, and based upon a combination of “career” (with the team) and peak value. I did work pretty hard on determining who is on the list. Some who were left off:

Brian Jordan: The last cut. Jordan had three years with the Braves in his first stint with the team, and he was good two of them and ordinary the third. This stint probably would have left him short of my arbitrary cutoffs for playing time. He moves ahead on games with his play the last two years but was so bad I can’t reward him for it.

John Rocker: Maybe should go on the list ahead of a couple of low-grade starting pitchers, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. If he’d had one more season with the club I probably would have had to include him.

Rafael Ramirez: Compares favorably as a hitter to several players I included, but those were all good fielders and he was not.

Bruce Benedict: Jordan was the last cut, but Benedict was the hardest. He simply didn’t hit well enough in any year except 1983. I may yet change my mind and put him in.

Mike Lum: Ten players have played 1000 or more games in Atlanta. Nine are on the list, and Lum is the exception. He was an outfielder, mostly a corner outfielder, who had only two seasons of OPS+ higher than the league.

First entry coming soon.

22 thoughts on “The 44 Greatest Atlanta Braves: Introduction”

  1. A couple of questions about the 44:

    Any consideration for future cotributions from players? (Possible beneficiaries: Brian McCann, Adam LaRoche)
    Or spectacular moments in the Braves’ uniform? (Mark Wohlers, Francisco Cabrera, I’m assuming Dave Justice qualifies)
    And how do you handle a problem like Belliard? Too much of a part of the team to exclude, and contibuted too little to include.

  2. Stu, I thought that Vandy blew it like they did in the other games they coulda/shoulda won this year. But they actually won! Against a ranked team! On the road! Go Vandy!

    44 – Hank Aaron’s #

  3. Okay, I’m slow…

    (I did actually know Hank’s number, but didn’t bother to put two and two together.)

  4. I mean, I’m glad they fired Steve Lyons, but couldn’t they have found an excuse to do it a couple years ago? Like, say, he’s a terrible color commentator?

    I don’t understand why terrible announcers have jobs. In a business where TV ratings are king, and every Nielsen point is worth tens of millions of dollars, you’d think that they’d want someone actually GOOD AT HIS OR HER JOB to announce.

    I think that Wryn could get Fox a better Nielsen rating than Steve Lyons, despite the fact that Wryn is my age and has never played major league baseball. Here’s hoping you get the chance to prove me right, buddy.

  5. @9

    And Lyons was replaced by Jose Mota, former major leaguer and current LAA anouncer. He’s from the Dominican Republic. Coincidence? You be the judge. ;)

  6. Bama once again gets the worst officiating crew in the SEC and then proceeds to imploed in the red zone, overthrow sure fire conversions of 4th downs and mess up some way some how in the red zone.

    Darby is back though….

  7. Well, the Tigers are in. Judging from my opinion of the Cardinals and Mets, I’m officially a Tigers fan for the rest of October…

  8. I actually feel pretty good about Bama right now. We clearly dominated the second half (except for that one play), shut down their big running back, and didn’t turn the ball over. And Darby is back. If Brown is healthy we can at least make a game of it in Knoxville.

    Problems: we were 0-2 on fourth down and they were 2-2. That’s the main reason the game was close, that, and the terrible officiating, and Jamie Christiansen not being right.

  9. The Tigers have over a week until their next game. Do you think the rest will help or hurt them? Will the NL team have an automatic advantage because they’ll have played at least three more games after the Tigers clinched?

  10. The fake punt call was beyond horrible….That offsides call was hilarious. False Start. Bad officiating….Bad. Don’t forget Blackmon.

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