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 2021 season.

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

Playing for the Boston Beaneaters for 15 seasons (1894 to 1907) Fred Tenney was somewhat of a trail blazer as he joined professional baseball after playing college ball (in his case, Brown).  Tenney began as a Catcher but transitioned to First Base where he would be known as one of the better defensive First Basemen in his era.  Tenney was also a good hitter for Boston as he was six shy of 2,000 Hits with a .300 Batting Average and three top ten finishes in that metric.
Herman Long played for the Boston Beaneaters from 1890 to 1902 where he played Shortstop.  Long collected 1,902 Hits for Boston where he had four straight seasons of batting .300 (1894 to 1897) and he overall batted .280 for the team with 434 Stolen Bases.  Long was regarded highly for his fielding and although he is one of four players to have 1,000 Errors it has to be remembered that there were a lot more Errors occurring back in his day and he played at one of the most important defensive positions especially in a ground ball era.  He routinely…
Hugh Duffy was somewhat of a maverick in early baseball as he bounced from the National League to the Federal League to the American Association and back to the National League in a four year span.  It was the latter that would see him join the Boston Beaneaters, the precursor to the Atlanta Braves.
There was a famous saying around the Boston Braves that waxed poetic about the late 1940’s Boston Braves:
Torre would have a strong start in baseball where he was the runner-up for the National League Rookie of the Year in 1961 and in 1963 he would be named to the National League All Star Team, which would occur for the next five seasons.  Torre would show off power with four straight 20 Home Run seasons (1964 to 1967) with a solid Batting Average, though he would later be traded to the St. Louis Cardinals.
Johnny Logan was an excellent defensive Shortstop who would three times lead all of his National League peers in Total Zone Runs and was a three-time leader in Fielding Percentage.  Logan was not the greatest hitter but he was an All-Star four times who scrapped out four straight 150 Hit seasons (1953 to 1957) who helped the Milwaukee Braves win the 1957 World Series.
We have another member of the 1957 World Series Championship team with Del Crandall who would represent Milwaukee in eight All-Star Games.  Crandall lost a couple of years early due to serving his country during the Korean War but upon his return stateside he established himself as one of the best defensive Catchers in baseball and an elite pitch caller who Pitchers trusted implicitly.  Crandall won four of the first Gold Gloves issued to Catchers in the National League (the first was win was issued to one person regardless of the league) and had that piece of hardware been issued…
Brian McCann was one of the top hitting Catchers in the National League for a long period of time.  From 2006 to 2011 McCann was named an All-Star and in five of those years, he was also a Silver Slugger.  He would show off good power with seven 20 Home Run seasons with 176 total as a Brave with 1,070 Hits for Atlanta.  McCann’s defense wasn’t always the best (he allowed a lot of stolen bases) but his above-average offense more than made up for it.
Walter “Rabbit” Maranville was known for quite a few things, his sense of humor, his durability, and defensive skills, the latter two, which ranked him on this list of all-time Braves.
David Justice at one time was one of the most recognized sluggers in baseball.   A star for the high profile Atlanta Braves, Justice was the star hitter for the perennially playoff-bound team, he was named one of People’s Magazine’s Most Beautiful People (1994) and was married to Halle Barry.  The last two might be interesting but it doesn’t help propel him on this rank does it?
Billy Nash was with the Boston Beaneaters ten of his fifteen seasons over two five year stints (1885-89 & 1891-95) and the Third Baseman proved to be a dependable player in both runs.  Nash was a better than average defensive player at the hot corner and he was decent with his offense.  Six times he had 140 or more Hits (though he never hit 150) and produced well in the clutch with five years of at least 90 Runs Batted In and he was in the top seven in that statistic six times.  Nash’s career with the Beaneaters would see…
The starting Catcher for the Atlanta Braves for nine seasons, Javy Lopez was considered one of the better Catchers in the National League during most of that time.  Early in his career, Lopez would help Atlanta win the 1995 World Series and in the following season he was the NLCS MVP though the Braves would not win the Fall Classic that year.  The Puerto Rican would be a three-time All-Star and was a good-hitting Catcher who would have five 20 Home Run Season, the best of which is his last campaign in Atlanta (2003) where he blasted 43 Home Runs…
Prior to joining the Boston Braves, Bob Elliott was already a proven commodity in professional baseball as he was a three-time All-Star for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  His first season in Boston would see him put forth his best individual season as in 1947 he would have a career-high .317 Batting Average with 22 Home Runs and 113 Runs Batted In. 
We return to the potent Milwaukee Braves team of the 1950’s where we have Joe Adcock, a slugger who went yard for the franchise 239 times including a 38 dinger season in 1956. 


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In 1914, The Boston Braves would win their first World Series Championship.  Dick Rudolph went 2-0 in that series with a 0.50 ERA over 18 Innings.  Safe to say if there was a World Series MVP that he would have won it right?
Ezra Sutton had a long career in professional baseball in which he played 12 of his 18 seasons with the Boston Red Stockings/Beaneaters.  Sutton was a solid player who may not have been extraordinary but he was solid and a for a few seasons and from 1883 to 1886 he would secure 130 or more Hits each year including a 162 Hit year in 1884, which would lead the National League.  Three of those years would see Sutton bat over .300 and he would have an overall collection of 1,161 Hits for the franchise.
Billy Hamilton arrived to Boston at age 30 and while his best years were behind him he was still a very good and fast player who changed baseball games with his speed.  In the six years he was with the Beaneaters he hit the 100 Runs Scored mark in four of them, with two of them exceeding 150.  In 1897, his 152 Runs were enough to lead the National League.  In the past, Hamilton led the NL in Stolen Bases four times (plus one in the AA).  He didn’t have the same speed with Boston but he still swiped bases…
After an excellent run with the Oakland Athletics, Tim Hudson would be traded from to Atlanta where he would win 113 of his 222 career Wins.  Hudson won at least 13 Games in each of his first three seasons and in late 2008 he underwent Tommy John surgery.  While that ailment took him out of baseball for a year he rebounded in 2017 with his best season in years with an All Star appearance, a 17 Win season and an ERA under 3.  He would finish fourth in Cy Young voting that year.   Hudson would win 16 Games the next…
Jack Stivetts played eleven seasons in the Majors with the meat of his career playing for the Boston Beaneaters (1892-98). The Pitcher had four 20-plus Win years, and was an exceptional hitter, batting .305 for the Braves, a stat that helped to land him on this list. Stivetts overall win 131 Games with an OPS of .799, which is one hell of a combination.