The Braves Franchise List

Okay, I like the format so I’ll rip it off. Who are the NINE most important Braves in franchise history, going back to 1870 or 1871?

Anyone who has been employed by the franchise is eligible, no limitations; feel free to nominate pitching coaches, managers, owners, anyone you like. You can fill out a C-1B-2B-SS-3B-LF-CF-RF-P roster, but you don’t have to.

Here are my nine:

3B Chipper Jones
3B Eddie Mathews
CF Andruw Jones
RF Henry Aaron
P Kid Nichols
P Warren Spahn
P Phil Niekro
P Greg Maddux
Mgr Bobby Cox

114 thoughts on “The Braves Franchise List”

  1. Doyle Alexander, indirectly, which also tells you I’d replace Niekro with Smoltz on your list, albeit reluctantly.

  2. I struggled with the choices but finally voted for Aaron, Spahn, Cox and Chipper. How I left out Niekro, Glavine, Smoltz and Maddux I cannot justify.

  3. RF Hank Aaron, 3B Chipper, 3b Mathews, P Spahn, P Maddux, P Glavine, P Niekro, Mgr Bobby Cox, GM John Schuerholz

  4. Hard to leave Dale Murphy off my list. He meant everything to the team during a very, very bad time. Of course, I don’t know who you leave off for him.

  5. Doing it by position:

    1B: Fred Tenney
    2B: Bobby Lowe
    SS: Rabbit Maranville
    3B: Chipper Jones
    RF: Hank Aaron
    CF: Andruw Jones
    LF: Dale Murphy
    C: Javy Lopez
    P: Warren Spahn

    A takeaway…we haven’t had many good, long-tenured first basemen in franchise history.

  6. Dale only logged 77 starts as a LF for his career, and started at CF as much as all other positions combined. It’s him or Andruw, I’m afraid.

  7. Great Poll. Say what you want to about Bobby Cox the manager, but Bobby Cox the initial builder of the modern day Braves is without parallel.

    Aaron, Cox, Chipper, Eddie, Phil, Maddux, Spahn, Glavine, Smoltz.

    Tough to leave Andruw, Dale and John Schuerholz off but you only gave me 9.

  8. Bobby Cox
    Chipper Jones
    John Smoltz
    Greg Maddux
    Warren Spahn
    Henry Aaron
    Eddie Mathews
    Phil Niekro
    Andruw Jones

  9. So, I just got a solicitation from out of the blue in my inbox. I’m just posting here without endorsement, in case any of you are interested.

    Want to broadcast Braves games? Rabble is the place for you. You can broadcast any Braves game from anywhere by going on the site, muting your TV, and broadcasting. It’s that easy! Listeners can talk to you directly through comments, so no longer is there a wall between the broadcaster and listener. It’s a new, personal, and fun experience. If you are interested in trying it out and calling some games contact

  10. Hank, Spahn, Maddux, Harry Wright, Bobby, Matthews, Chipper, Niekro, and Sliding Billy Hamilton.

    I’d love to put Nichols, Smoltz, Glavine and Andruw on the list but there are better choices at their positions. I’m not sure I can justify 2 managers either, although Wright gets extra credit for helping form the NL in 1876.

  11. @18
    That’s pretty neat. I’d be interested in hearing others, but doing it myself sounds torturous.

  12. Hamilton’s a lovely player, but he only played 690 games in Boston. I don’t see how you can include him over Andruw Jones — who, incidentally, has a higher overall career WAR than Sliding Billy, notwithstanding the fact that he was also a Brave for more than twice as long.

  13. I’m trying to give some love to the other dominant stretch of Braves baseball. And Andruw never had a .480 on base percentage

  14. It’s early in the standings, (SSS and all that), but are the two teams facing each other tonight the best in the NL East? This season may end up reminding us of the quote about the bear chase. (Paraphrasing) “I don’t have to be faster than the bear. I just have to be faster than you.” In other words, what is the floor on wins to be able to sneak into the tournament?

  15. @18

    D.N. Nation and I have always had this idea for a show where we get drunk and yell at each other called Address My Point. I would like to try this format while describing a baseball game this seems like the perfect medium.

  16. @26: Well, I guess I can be happy with what I’ve seen so far. If Fredi somehow takes this team to the playoffs, who writes Frediball or Hartball or whatever it’ll be called? :)

  17. Yeah, maybe it should be called JohnnyBall for the 3 Johns orchestrating things. If the Braves somehow make the playoffs it should send shockwaves. Has a team ever traded away so many proven assets and stockpiled their minor leagues while improving the team? Unfortunately, I haven’t ordered my playoff tickets just yet.

  18. C – Joe Torre
    1B – Freddie Freeman (projecting, although he already has a case)
    2B – Bobby Lowe
    3B – Chipper
    SS – Johnny Logan (for my money, the most underrated player in franchise history)
    LF – Murphy
    CF – Andruw
    RF – Aaron
    SP – Niekro {apologies to Nichols (era), Spahn (team), Maddux (whiff of mercenary), Glavine and Smoltz (not as good as Maddux)}

  19. @32. Now you just made me feel bad for switching Logan out for Maranville. A couple years ago, I did a post on the surviving members of the Boston Braves, and that gave me an appreciation for Logan, as well as the marginalization of his career by the Braves (I believe he ended up being far more involved with the Brewers post-retirement than the Braves).

  20. There have been a number of articles through the years talking about how beloved Logan always has been in Milwaukee. But he was far more than a glorified mascot — he was a consistent all-around player for many years. IMHO Maranville is best remembered as an irritant nonpareil, but I wonder how often that was actually a hindrance — and he was a poor hitter (particularly in his second stint).

  21. @26, based on that FanGraphs projection, this team will score 609 runs this season. I will be deliriously happy with 609 runs, given that we scored 573 last season with what felt like a lot more lumber. I don’t think any of us expected that total to be surpassed with this slap squad. Many of us still don’t.

  22. @DOBrienAJC: #Braves signed lefty Greg Smith to minor league contract, replaces Thomas at Triple-A Gwinnett

    If we finish better than 4th in this division this year it has to be considered a success.

  23. I have always been partial to Hugh Duffy, though obviously he wouldn’t deserve to bump any of the other worthy OF candidates off the list. His 1894 season is absurd, even for that day and age…

  24. Has a team ever traded away so many proven assets and stockpiled their minor leagues while improving the team?

    The 2012-2013 Red Sox, arguably, though obviously their “proven assets” were mostly coming off horrendous years.

  25. I love that the Braves history is so rich that it makes this exercise so hard.

    Had this conversation at work today with a Nats fan:
    Him: What’s up with the Braves? You guys traded your entire team!
    Me: Yeah, basically.
    Him: While you’re at it, do you think you’d trade Andrelton Simmons straight up for Ian Desmond?
    Me: Oh, are the Nats a charity case now, that you need handouts?

  26. And if the Braves, from a front office perspective, intended to torpedo this season and ended up being successful, all you haters out there better give Fredi some respect!

  27. @43: That’s hilarious. Who gets to ghost write it? I know darn sure Chipper isn’t going to do it, else the editor would have a stroke trying to decipher Hoss’s stream-of-consciousness, strung-together extended “tweets.”

  28. It’ll obviously be titled “Crazy Train.”

    I wonder how much space he’ll devote to Hooters.

  29. So, apparently Chipper is writing a book.

    The Great Sandy Hook Hoax: How Obama and the FBI Plotted to Disarm America

  30. First game I get to watch this season. I am pumped. Although, it did suck watching the lead off man strike out, but from what I’ve read, our lead off man getting out has been quite the norm this season.

  31. #42
    No, even if Fredi helmed back-to-back World Series titles, he’d just be viewed as the new Cito Gaston.

    There was a Phil Rizzuto book (“O Holy Cow”) that collected some of his on-air ramblings (he was a Yankee TV announcer) and presented them as “poetry.” Was pretty funny, actually. Similarly, they could just collect Chipper’s tweets. Might be better than a book.

  32. I don’t care how things worked out in the end. DALE MURPHY was the face of the Atlanta Braves for a decade. Even with the great players that came after him, it’s pretty hard to not think of Murph as an important cog in the franchise.

  33. The Mets don’t even look like a very good team, but the Braves will hand them the game on a silver platter.

  34. @Gosselin booted a extremely easy tailor-made double play grounder from Niese. It was ugly.

  35. Dang Freedie … obvious he has lost it … should have had somebody warming up …. instead we are out of it now … way ta go freddie ..worst Mgr in baseball

  36. There’s a recurring question on this forum that fits this template:

    “If the Braves accomplished _____ , would you Fredi haters finally give Fredi his due???”

    This is a particularly noxious type of question. It assumes that any one of Fredi’s harsh critics is just an irrational “hater” who is, as yet, unwilling to be convinced by what surely, to the questioner, is an impressively convincing body of evidence as to Fredi’s great managing skill.

    It assumes that any future overachievement by the team would be incontrovertible proof of Fredi’s genius, and in this way, it seems to count those imagined successes to his illustrious record of hyper competence.

    The great irony is that the imaginers accuse the critics of living in some sort of self-deluded dream world.

  37. Yup, sinkerballers still need infielders who can field.

    Coming into tonight, they’ve won 8 in a row.

    No, it just means that, with some people, he can’t win, no matter the results.

  38. Yes, I’m aware of that. I still think the Mets are destined for third place in the NL East.

  39. #75
    Maybe, but they’re playing well right now, despite the injuries. The top of their rotation is pretty good.

    Less verbose, yes!

  40. Not sure why Gosselin should ever start a game after an off day. On the other hand, Caught both of the wins in Canuckistan over the weekend and despite his triple Friday night Peterson looked completely lost at the plate.

    Not as exciting as when they came to town two years ago and I had my first glimpse of the great bear, who homered twice and doubled in the two games. But Markakis can stroke singles better than anyone we’ve had since, I don’t know, it’s been a while since we had that kind of hitter. Maybe all the way back to TP, although TP had a good bit more power. Maybe Jeff Blauser in those two great years he had? Otherwise just not your typical Braves style of hitter at all. But effective when taking walks and all the hits are falling. Underwhelmed with all of the other additions (except AJP’s bat), not surprisingly.

    The main takeaway though was that Simmons is on the cusp of superstardom. A couple years ago no one had any idea who he was. This year at both games all of the Jays fans in my section were talking about him.

  41. So if Alberto Callaspo, a switch hitter, has taken 2nd base away from Jace Peterson, a lefty, why does he have to get his rest days against a lefty, thus giving Jace’s at bats to Phil Gosselin, who is only here because he supposedly can stand at shortstop?

  42. Freddie too stupid to challenge a call when its obvious Simmons was safe ….. he is an idiot ….

  43. Umm, why the eff did they not challenge the out call on Simmons at 2B? It was clearly wrong and the Braves’ staff had the chance to review the video.

    Frustrating game all around for the Braves. No fun at all.

  44. Gosselin really is a minor leaguer. He had one improbable season in the minors and is now part of our rotation

  45. Gosselin got a hole in his glove ??? Come on at least give him a glove without a hole !!!

  46. @87 Gosselin is actually a great object lesson in why the Braves needed to rebuild – the Braves’ farm system was so thin at most offensive positions (not to mention, no MLB-ready SPs) that Gosselin was/is in line for actual MLB playing time. Obviously there’s still a lot of work to be done to get starting-quality players around the diamond, but the rebuild trades mean that the Braves now have a bunch of new prospects bouncing around in the minors who will be helping out before too long.

  47. Fact of the matter is … we started out hot but the real Braves are shwoing what all experts thought .. we have alot of minor leagers on our team .. Cuniff, Suga Ray , I Thomas, Gosselin etc …. .. when is Bethencourt gonna get a hit ??? and why os E yong not playing more ?? I know Peterson struggling at plate but he does play a good 2B ….

  48. You want Betancourt out for not hitting, but Jace in despite not hitting?

    Also Young isn’t playing more because he’s not a centerfielder, and he doesn’t have the upside of Maybin.

  49. @94, E Young is not a good player. Maybin is actually a quality major leaguer when healthy. Even if he can’t hit better than Young, he’s much better in the field. EY should never play center. It’s like Uggla playing SS.

  50. Baseball Reference tells me Freddie has hit lefties just fine this year. But he’s looked like Jason Heyward up there tonight.

  51. Walking the leadoff man should get a reliever off the team bus. Marimon and Cunniff should be walking to the hotel.

  52. Gosselin is the one position player on the team who doesn’t play much so Fredi probably wanted to get him some PAs. Hopefully it will be awhile before he gets more.

  53. Ciriaco earned Gosselin’s spot. He’s no great shakes, but he’s a much better player than Goose

  54. @102, and how. Martinez was a great long man

    In my opinion, Marimon is not remotely a big leaguer, but we need a mop up man

  55. So there’s been debate this week on the interwebs regarding the definition of ‘batting around’. Seems silly but I think it’s interesting to see the discussion on it. I never knew people had differing thoughts on the matter. From the WaPo article that I’ll link to below:

    “At the heart of the issue is whether nine batters (i.e., a team’s complete lineup) coming to the plate in the same inning constitutes batting around, or if it’s necessary for the batter who led off the inning to come to the plate again (i.e., at least 10 batters).”

    I’ve never even thought about it – I have just always considered it to be 9 batters in the same inning. Didn’t even know other people thought differently. What are y’alls thoughts? Nine or ten?

  56. @96 ..I want them all out and replaced with the Detroit Tigers ..LOL … yea I know be patient … hopefully one of the young starters in AAA get on a streak .. Our #4 and #5 spots are shaky at best … looks like LH starters are gonna give us some trouble for sure … Freddie Freeman looks more suceptable to LH pitchers so far .. he has swung and missed quit a few facing LH pitchers .. but he is such a good hittter .. he will snap out of it .. Markakis is impressive but no power … but maybe 2016 or 2017 we will have a LF and 3B that have power … to go with Simmons-ss, Freeman -1b, Markakis – rf, Bethancout-c , Perazza or Peterson-2b, Perraza or Maybin – cf .. we need some pop at LF and 3B for sure.

  57. I was stuck with an internet outage all game last night, so missed the entirety of that debacle. Not sad to have missed such defensive ineptness.

    @107 I’ve seen that debate. Never really thought long and hard about it, but the argument that makes most sense to me is that to make a full circle the ends have to touch; therefore, to bat “around”, the guy who started has to bat twice. So around is ten batters, batting through the lineup would be nine.

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