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Top 50 Atlanta Braves

The history of the Atlanta Braves began well over a century ago and it went through two previous locations before it arrived in Georgia.

The Braves actually predate the formation of the National League as they were members of the National Association in 1869 to 1875 as the Boston Red Stockings, which actually makes the team the oldest in the game but statistically, we are only focusing on 1876 and beyond when the franchise was in the NL.  The Red Stockings would win the 1877 and 1878 Pennant and they would change their name to the Beaneaters (mostly thanks to the press) in 1883.  That year they would win the pennant again in 1883 and five more times in the 1800s, but the formation of the American League and they were decimated when many of their players jumped to the team that is now known today as the Boston Red Sox.

The Beaneaters would go onto a downward spiral and they would experiment with their name going by the Doves (1907-1910) and the Rustlers (1911) before settling on the Braves in 1912 and they would win their first World Series Championship in 1914, though this was considered a miracle season of sorts as they exceeded all expectations and defeated a heavily favored Philadelphia Athletics team to win it all.  After a couple of seasons as a contender, the Braves regressed again and were not contenders for years.  A microcosm of this era is when they traded for Babe Ruth who was at the end of his career and his play deteriorated so badly that season (1935) in the year that he could barely run, couldn’t field, and pitchers threatened to boycott if Ruth was on the field. 

New ownership came in and in another attempt of reinvention the Braves became the Bees but success was still alluding them and they took back the Braves' name a few years later.  Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain would help turn the team’s fortunes around and in 1948 they won the pennant but lost the World Series to Cleveland but they would go back to mediocrity and dwindling attendance (especially while competing with the Red Sox) would see the Braves relocated to Milwaukee. 

Milwaukee embraced the Braves and with an offensive attack led by Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews they would win the 1957 World Series and would return to the Fall Classic in ’58, though would lose to the New York Yankees.  The Braves would be sold again but this time the group wanted to move the team to a larger market and they liked what they saw in Atlanta, which was a city on the rise.  They would move to the South in 1966 but it should be mentioned that the Braves never had a losing season in the 11 years they played there.

Frankly, the city of Milwaukee got shafted and on a sidebar, we are happy they would gain a team quickly thereafter, the Milwaukee Brewers, but let’s go back to Atlanta!

Atlanta’s record went up and down and would be bought by media conglomerate Ted Turner in 1976.  He was an eccentric owner but with his ownership of TBS, the Braves were seen nationally and he dubbed them “America’s Team”.  While the Braves were seen by more viewers they were not successful, that is until the 1990s.

With a pitching staff of Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine the Braves went from “worst to first” and made the World Series in 1991, losing to the Minnesota Twins.  They made the World Series again the year after, this time to losing to the Toronto Blue Jays but they would win it all in 1995 with a win over the Cleveland Indians.  They continued to make the playoff every year until 2006 and would reach two more World Series losing both in 1996 and 1999 to the New York Yankees.

Since 2005, the Braves would make the playoffs five times and won the 2021 World Series.  As of this writing, they are one of the most recognized team in not just the National League but all of Major League Baseball.

This list is up to the end of the 2022 season.

Note: Baseball lists are based on an amalgamation of tenure, traditional statistics, advanced statistics, playoff statistics, and post-season accolades.

We need to bring this up as much as we can… Regardless of the era Hank Aaron is one of the greatest baseball players that ever existed.  Period. 
Not only are we comfortable saying that Warren Spahn was the greatest Pitcher in Braves history he is in the top ten all-time and the greatest left-hander ever.
Kid Nichols played the entire 1890’s for the Boston Beaneaters and there was a time where he was arguably the best Pitcher of the National League.  Nichols’s rookie season in 1890 would see him win 27 Games lead the NL in bWAR for Pitchers and he followed that up with four consecutive 30 Win seasons, which would have another league-leading bWAR campaign.
One of ten Pitchers to have struckout 3,000 batters and rack up 300 Wins (when will we ever see that again!), Greg Maddux accomplished a lot of that with the Atlanta Braves.
The only player in franchise history to play for the organization when the team was in Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta, Eddie Mathews is historically regarded as one of the best Third Baseman in the game’s history.
Phil Niekro played an incredible 24 seasons in the Major Leagues, 20 of which took place in a Braves uniform, and seemingly no matter how old he was (and how old he looked) he defied Father Time much longer than any Pitcher had the right to.
The Atlanta Braves essentially stole John Smoltz when they traded what was left of Doyle Alexander to the Detroit Tigers for him and doesn’t the latter could have that one back?
While the Atlanta Braves of the 1990s and early 2000’ will always (and should be) known primarily for the elite starting pitching, Chipper Jones had the perfect path to greatness from the number one draft pick in 1990 to first ballot Hall of Fame inductee in 2018.
Along with Greg Maddux and John Smoltz, Tom Glavine was part of a devastating Hall of Fame trio that dominated starting pitching in the 1990s. 
Dale Murphy was the offensive star of the Atlanta Braves through the 1980s and was also one of the top power hitters of the game.  Murphy was named the National League MVP in back-to-back seasons (1982 & 1983) and he would finish atop the NL leaderboard in Runs Batted In while also being named an All-Star, a Silver Slugger, and a Gold Glove winner.  The next two seasons were almost as good as he while he was not the MVP he would repeat the All-Star/Silver Slugger/Gold Glove trifecta and would win the Home Run Title in both of those years. …
From Curacao, Andruw Jones made his debut with the Braves at age 19 and it was clear from the beginning that this was a star in the making.  Jones would have his first 30 Home Run season in 1998 and from 2000 to 2003 he would hit that mark with three 100 RBI seasons and a .300 season in 2000, which surprisingly was the only one he ever had.  Jones would add to his already prolific power numbers in the 2005 season where he had a league leading (and career high) 51 Home Runs and also was the champion in…
Freddie Freeman played his first dozen seasons with the Atlanta Braves where he was shown to be one of the best First Basemen in the National League. 
Tommy Bond arrived in Boston in 1877 after a disagreement with his former Manager with the Hartford Dark Blues and the then-named Red Stockings would quickly love having the Irish-born Pitcher on the team.  Bond was a huge force on the mound where the sidearmer was arguably the best Pitcher in the National League from 1877 to 1879.  In that timeframe, which was basically the infancy of baseball, Bond won 40 Games each year, the first two of which were league-leading. He would also win the ERA Title twice, the Strikeout title twice, and was also first in WHIP twice. …
We return back to the 1880’s (we seem to be in the 1800’s a lot on this franchise list) with Righthander, Jim Whitney who had a 133 and 121 record over his five seasons with the Boston Red Caps/Beaneaters and as a rookie (1881) he was first in both Wins (33) and Losses and would later have two seasons where he was first in FIP (1883 & 1884) and three straight where he was first in SO/BB (1883-85), a stat in which he is still first all-time in the franchise.  Whitney never finished with an Earned Run Average over 3.00…
Debuting as a rookie with the Boston Beaneaters in 1898, Vic Willis would win the ERA Title as a sophomore with a 2.50 ERA with 27 Wins.  He was also first for bWAR for Pitchers that season.  1900 was not great as his ERA ballooned over 4.00 but he rebounded with four straight seasons with an ERA below 3.00 and he finished up with Boston in 1905 with a 3.21 ERA.  Unfortunately, in those last two seasons in Boston he would have a record of 30 and 54 as he was the victim of limited run support.  He would finish…
A member of the Boston Braves for his entire career except for the last one (which was with Brooklyn) Tommy Holmes was one of the most popular players when the team was in Boston. 
Lew Burdette was a consistent Pitcher for the Milwaukee Braves where he would win 179 Games for the franchise.  Burdette first became noticed in the 1953 season when he went 15 and 5 and was 7th in ERA.  The hurler remained solid for a couple of years and in the last half of the 50’s he would go on his best run where from 1956 to 1961 he never had less than 17 Wins and in three of those seasons he was the National League leader in BB/9.  Burdette would also win the ERA Title (1956) and the Wins leader…
Wally Berger was one of 18 starters in the 1934 All Star Game and the other 17 are in the Hall of Fame.  We aren’t necessarily saying that Berger is a Hall of Fame snub, but we will state that the Outfielder was a very good player who at one time was spoken in the likes with some elite talent. 
Prior to his arrival to Boston John Clarkson was considered one of the best Pitchers in the National League.  With the Chicago White Stockings (which would later be named the Chicago Cubs), he had twice finished first in Wins (1885 & 1887) and was thought of as an elite Pitcher.  The Boston Beaneaters sure thought so and they purchased him from Chicago for $10,000, which was a fortune in 1888!  This proved to be a decent choice, and Clarkson had a good 1888 with a 33 Win season (2nd overall) but exploded the following season with what has to be…