#42: Felix Millan

See the 44 Greatest Atlanta Braves here.

Righthanded Hitting, Righthanded Throwing Second Baseman
Seasons With Braves: 1966-1972
Stats With Braves: .281/.319/.349, 14 HR, 221 RBI, 391 RS

Millan was signed by the A’s in 1964 but drafted away by the Braves at the end of that season. By June of 1966 he was in the big leagues; he made it for good in 1968, at the age of 24. (Assuming that his listed age is correct.) From 1969-71 he made the All-Star team every year. In 1969 and 1972 he won the Gold Glove. And he hit well in the NLCS in 1969.

It’s hard to say much about Millan, not just because he was before my time but because his seasons are pretty much like each other. Except for a slump in 1972, he was pretty consistent. He hit for a high average (.310 in his best year, 1970, more normally around .280, but always better than the league) but he didn’t walk a whole lot and had almost no power — even for a second baseman. His secondary averages are very low, .136 for his Braves career — the league’s was .234 and the position average .172, and remember he was getting a lot of help from his park. 10 of the 14 homers he hit as a Brave were at home. Because of his high batting averages, he was a above-average offensive second baseman, but less so than the batting-average centric analysis of his career believed.

Millan hit high in the order, producing a lot of outs (leading the league in 1969) and a lot of double plays as well (he finished in the top ten twice as a Brave). He was a very good second baseman, a two-time gold glove winner as I say above. James rates him a B- at the position, but that includes his Mets career. Call him B+. He was a good player, just not one who should have been an All-Star… The baseball card picture is interesting because he used the same pose in several images, even in one for senior league ball. I don’t know if he actually choked up on the bat that much.

After 1972 Millan was traded to the Mets, where he played just about the same as he did in Atlanta. In 1977 he got into a fight with Ed Ott, who broke Millan’s collarbone, ending his career. Felix then went to Japan and played there for several seasons.

I’m going to withhold discussion of why he ranks here for the time being, for reasons that should become apparent soon.

Felix Millan Statistics – Baseball-Reference.com

10 thoughts on “#42: Felix Millan”

  1. Growing up, I liked Felix Millan a lot, although in those days, when I was a teenager, advanced statistical analysis was unknown. I thought of him as a “clutch” hitter based, of course, on anecdotal observations. Nevertheless, he was one of my favorite Braves in those days regardless of how he looks now.

  2. The CAT! Yes Mac he did choke up that much. Always the comment from Joe Garagiola….’see there kids choke up a little and you’ll make more contact’ It looked like his hands were right up on the label sometimes. Thanks for putting him on the list. His stats may pale in the hindsite of modern analysis but I’ll always remember him as being a good Brave in a time frame when we just didn’t have that many.

  3. Felix the Cat, or the kitten as Milo used to call him, I saw him play and as Johnny mentioned, yes, he did choke up on the bat that much. One of those Aparicio types baseball thought were good top of the order guys, should have been batting in the eight spot. No complaints with his rating, probably between him or Giles as top 2b.

  4. CSG, that is just typical people crying on this board. If we had traded JS Jr, for Puljos, people would have fliped out on here.

  5. Beltran had a pretty damn good year and I don’t think one strike out is going to make the Mets regret signing him. If the Braves dropped everyone that had failed to come through in the playoffs, we would have few players.

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