While the Braves have made their home in three cities, with several players having huge careers in multiple cities, were just going to concentrate on the players who suited up in Georgia. We’ll add the ten best Milwaukee and Boston Braves later.
In case you missed it, you can check out our previous post in this series, the ten best Arizona Diamondbacks.
10. Tim Hudson
Yeah, this ones a surprise. But it’s easy to forget he pitched nine seasons in Atlanta. Going with traditional wins, he had four seasons with 16 or more and finished with a 113-72 mark there. Going with WAR, he was good for nearly 6 wins once, nearly five wins once and at least three wins twice.
9. Freddie Freeman
A few other guys were in the running for 9-10 spots, but he’s here because he’s just 28 and has three years left on his contract. So it’s easy to project a bit onto him.
This year will be Freddie’s ninth in Atlanta. He’s a two-time All Star with a .290/.376/.496 slash line.
If the Braves return to contention, it will be on the strength of Freeman’s shoulders.
8. Dale Murphy
With two MVPs, Murphy was a lock to make this list. A player who could do almost anything on the ballfield, he spent 15 years in Atlanta and played in seven All Star games.
7. Andruw Jones
A graceful fielder with a ton of pop, Jones is a borderline Hall of Famer.
6. Hank Aaron
Aaron is one of the greatest players to ever put on spikes. While he spent the vast majority of his productive seasons in Milwaukee, he did spend nine great seasons in Milwaukee. He led the league in runs once, OPS once, home runs twice and slugging twice.
Interestingly, he was 32 when the team moved to Atlanta. In his nine years in there, he hit 209 doubles, 335 home runs and batted .293/.378/.567. To put that in perspective, David Justice spent 8 prime seasons there and hit 127 doubles, 160 home runs and batted .275/.374/.499
5. Tom Glavine
The mild tossing lefty built his Hall of Fame resume off of 17 years in Atlanta. In that time he put up a 121 ERA plus, won two Cy Young Awards and a World Series MVP.
4. John Smoltz
As good as Glavine was, Smoltz was even better. He spent part of his career there as a lights out reliever. Like Glavine, he dominated in the post season, winning the 1992 NLCS MVP award. While Glavine ended up with more hardware, Smoltz had a lower ERA, FIP, WHIP and walks per nine innings.
Niekro really is an underrated star. He pitched 688 games in Atlanta from 1966-1983. During that time, he won 266 games with a 3.19 ERA, 3.45 FIP and 1.225 WHIP. Niekro is so underrated because he played on so many bad teams that he wound up with 227 losses.
2. Greg Maddux
The right-hander won three Cy Young awards after signing with the Braves. He could have won a fourth.
“It seems like he’s inside your mind with you. When he knows you’re not going to swing, he throws a straight one. He sees into the future. It’s like he has a crystal ball hidden inside his glove.” — Wade Boggs
1. Chipper Jones
Phillies and Mets fans still have nightmares about Chipper Jones. In 19 seasons in Atlanta, the eight time All Star and one time MVP tortured the Phillies and Mets. In 245 games against the Mets he hit .309/.406/.543 with 49 home runs. He was even worse to the Phillies, pummeling them to the tune of a .331/.441/.596 mark, also launching 49 homers against them.
It’s not like he took it easy on the rest of the major leagues. In total, he hit .303/.401/.529.
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