This is now the seventh franchise I have compiled an 'All-Time' team for. I began this endeavor in July of 2009 and have worked on many different lists and composite articles since then. At this rate perhaps I will have it done by the end of the decade, if the Lord tarries.
The Braves are a storied franchise to be sure. They began as the Boston Red Stockings in 1876 and changed their name to the Beeneaters, Doves and Rustlers before settling on the Braves in 1912.
Only one player played in the all three cities the Braves called home professionally. Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews played in Boston, and Milwaukee before becoming the only Brave in history to be in all three.
My guidelines for the All-Franchise Teams are as follows: A player has to have been a member of that franchise for a minimum of five seasons (full or part time). He cannot appear on another of my teams in this series. They are selected primarily by offensive statistics but as founder of this series, the final call is which one I felt was most deserving.
The player's career stats are not pertinent unless they are all with the franchise team. Only what the player did while in the Braves MLB franchise counts.
A table displaying the players statistics appears on the last slide in the show.
With all that out of the way, let us begin the show.
Catcher - Javy Lopez
Lopez was a three-time All-Star with the Atlanta Braves. He also won a Silver Silver Slugger award in 2003. That was his best year in his career. He batted .328 with 43 HR and 109 RBI and finished fifth in the National League MVP voting behind Barry Bonds, Albert Pujols, Gary Sheffield and Jim Thome.
Honorable mentions to Del Crandall, Joe Torre and Brian McCann who will probably take Lopez's spot if he plays long enough.
First Base - Joe Adcock
With the Milwaukee Braves, Adcock was part of one of the most feared trio of sluggers in his day. Along with Eddie Mathews and Hank Aaron they provided the heart of a lineup that pitchers were in awe of.
It is hard to believe that he appeared on only the 1960 All-Star Team. His best season in the major leagues was 1956 when he belted a career high 38 HR with 103 RBI and batted .291.
He was in the 1957 and '58 World Series.
Honorable mentions to Fred Tenney, John Morrill ( Mayflower boys) Chris Chambliss and Darrell Evans.
Second Base - Bobby Lowe
Bobby Lowe is my only positional Mayflower boy on the squad. While with the Beeneaters he played at a time when individual awards were not given, nor All-Star games played.
His career was unexceptional but he does lead second-baseman in several offensive categories: G, AB, R, H, 3B,RBI,SB,BA and OBP. In the case of hits, it is so overwhelming in comparison to the others, that choosing him became a no-brainer.
Lowe's best year was 1894 when he batted .348 with 17 HR and 115 RBI, with 212 hits and 158 runs scored.
Honorable mentions to Marcus Giles, Felix Millan and Glenn Hubbard.
Third Base - Chipper Jones
Chipper Jones will be remembered as one of, if not the best switch hitters of all time. He has been on seven All-Star teams, has one MVP award, two Silver Slugger awards and one batting crown. In 2008 he led the NL with a .364 average and a .470 OBP.
Oddly, in 17+ seasons that is the only time he led the league in any major offensive category. He is the Braves career leader for third basemen in nearly every offensive category, excluding home runs which is held by Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews.
Jones was in the 1995, 96 and 99 World Series.
Honorable mentions to Eddie Mathews, Bob Horner, Billy Nash (Mayflower), and Ezra Sutton (Mayflower).
Shortstop - Johnny Logan
Johnny Logan was a fiery player. A dependable hitter, he was a four-time All-Star shortstop. He has the distinction of being the first MLB batter to face Hall of Fame pitcher Sandy Koufax. It was in a relief role and Logan worked him for a single to right field.
Logan played in the 1957-58 World Series.
Honorable mentions to Herman Long (Mayflower boy), Rabbit Maranville (early 1900's HOF) and Jeff Blauser.
Left Field - Dale Murphy
Dale Murphy was predominately a center-fielder although he began his career as a catcher and then moved to first base. Murphy, along with Roger Maris has the distinction of being the only players to have won at least two MVP awards and not be elected into the Hall of Fame.
Murphy was on seven All-Star teams, won five Gold Glove awards and four Silver Slugger Awards. From 1982-87 he averaged 35 HR and 105 RBI.
Mr. Dependable, Murphy averaged playing in 159 games from 1982-90.
Honorable mentions to Tommy Holmes, Hugh Duffy (Mayflower), Ralph Garr, Rico Carty. David Justice, Ryan Klesko, Wally Berger .
** The outfield honorable mentions are for the entire outfield, not just left field.
Center Field - Andruw Jones
Andruw Jones is known as one of the best defensive outfielders in the game. His 10 consecutive Gold Glove awards will loudly attest to that fact. He was also a feared power hitter, topping the 50 mark in 2005 when he hit 51 with 128 RBI and finished runner-up in MVP balloting to Albert Pujols.
Jones is fifth on the Braves career leader board in home runs and runs batted in. He trails only Hank Aaron, Chipper Jones, Eddie Mathews and Dale Murphy.
He hit more than 30 HR in seven different seasons.
Right Field - Hank Aaron
Hank Aaron is a legend. He is arguably one of the five best players who ever played in the MLB. He surpassed Babe Ruth's career home run mark of 714 and finished his career as the leader with 755, which remained the standard until passed by Barry Bonds.
Aaron is the career MLB leader in RBI with 2,297 and total bases with 6,856. The Hall of Famer won one MVP award, was named to 21 consecutive All-Star teams and won three Gold Glove awards.
He won four HR titles, four RBI crowns, two batting titles, led the league in hits twice, and in runs three times. He batted ,300+ 14 times, 30+ HR 15 times and knocked in 100+ runs 11 times. He also recorded 200+ hits three times and scored 100+ 15 times, 13 in succession.
Aaron was in the 1957-58 World Series.
He was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1982.
Designated Hitter - Eddie Mathews
Obviously there wasn't even a rumor of a designated hitter when Mathews was playing, but I have been choosing one for each team regardless. If nothing else, it is another way to fit a super-star into the lineup.
Mathews was a nine-time All-Star and won two HR titles. He cracked 30+ HR 10 different times, his high mark being 47 in 1953. That was his second year and proved to be the best of his long career. Along with the 47 HR, he knocked in 135 runs and batted .302, finishing second in MVP voting to Roy Campanella.
Mathews played in the 1957-58 World Series.
He was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1978.
Honorable mentions to Bob Horner, Rico Carty, Ralph Garr and David Justice
Starting Pitcher - Warren Spahn
Warren Spahn is arguably the best left-handed pitcher in baseball history. One of his many accomplishments was winning 20+ games in 13 seasons. He won the Cy Young award in 1957 when it was awarded to the best pitcher in MLB, not just the National League.
In that year he led the league with 21 wins, had an ERA of 2.69 and led the league in Complete Games with 18 (he led the league in CG seven consecutive seasons).
He led the league in wins eight times, in ERA three times, in CG nine times, in shutouts four times and in strikeouts four times.
Spahn appeared on 14 All-Star games and was in the World Series in 1948, 1957-58.
He was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1973.
Honorable mentions to "Figgety" Lew Burdette, Johnny Sain, and Vic Willis (Mayflower).
** All Honorable mentions listed here are for all five Starting Pitcher slots.
Starting Pitcher - Kid Nichols
Sometimes you just can't leave out a Mayflower boy. That is the case with Kid Nichols. People can complain that it was an entirely different game back then and that pitchers threw underhanded from 45 feet or whatever. They played with what they had. This is a franchise squad and not just the last 40 or 50 years.
Nichols was flat-out consistent. He won 30+ games seven times, and 20+ four more times. His ERA was under 3.00 nine times. He threw 44 shutouts for Boston and won 323 for that franchise.
Nichols was voted into the Hall of Fame by the Old Timers Committee in 1949.
Starting Pitcher - Greg Maddux
Greg Maddux won three consecutive Cy Young Awards with the Braves. He led the NL in wins twice, in ERA four times, in CG three times, in shutouts twice, and in IP three times.
In four different seasons Maddux' WHIP was below 1.00. His career ERA+ with the Braves is 163, having seasons register at 271 and 262.
He was on six All-Star teams, and won 10 consecutive Gold Glove awards.
Maddux was in the 1995, 1996 and 1999 World Series.
Starting Pitcher - Tom Glavine
Tom Glavine won two Cy Young awards while with the Braves. He led the league in wins five teams, each with 20+, He also was the league leader in CG once and in shutouts once.
He was on six All-Star teams and appeared in the 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996 and 1999 World Series.
He is fourth on the Braves career leader board in wins with 244, trailing only Spahn, Nichols and Phil Niekro.
Starting Pitcher - Phil Niekro
Knuksie was the older of the Niekro brothers who specialized in knuckle balls. He played 21 years in the Braves organization in a career that spanned 24 years.
He was a four-time All-Star with the Braves and won five Gold Glove awards. He finished second and third in Cy Young voting though never winning the award. He led the league in wins twice, in ERA once (1.87 in 1967), in CG four times, in IP four times and in ERA+ once.
In 1979 Niekro had the inglorious honor of winning 21 games while losing 20.
Niekro was voted into the Hall of Fame in 1997.
Setup - Gene Garber
Garber ranks second on the Braves leader board in Saves with 141. He was the career leader from 1986 until 2004 when John Smoltz dethroned him.
In 1982 he actually placed seventh in voting for the Cy Young award.
Honorable mention to Mike Remlinger.
John Smoltz pitched the majority of his career as a starter, only beginning to work as a reliever in 2001 after sitting out the entire 2000 season.
He won one Cy Young award, appeared on eight All-Star teams and won one Silver Slugger award. He led the league in wins twice and in saves once. He is the first pitcher to win over 200 games and save over 150.
Smoltz was in the 1991-92, 1995-96 and 1999 World Series.
View the other All-Franchise teams that I have already completed: