The Atlanta Braves, Georgia’s longest running professional team, is a storied organization with a ton of history and legendary players. From the sixties, to the Ted Turner Era, to becoming “America’s Team” on the Superstation, to The Bobby Cox era, Braves fans have experienced an amazing selection of baseball history.
While it is impossible to categorically rank players realistically, and everyone will always have different opinions, it is interesting to look back at the legacy of the Atlanta Braves and enjoy the legacy they have wrought. Things like teammates, different eras, and just plain luck make it difficult to compare, but below is one fan’s opinion of the All time Top Braves.
1. Hank Aaron. (1954-1974)
This one is obvious; Hank Aaron is legend. Not only is he one of the greatest Braves of all time, but one of the greatest baseball players of all time, period. Aaron goes all the way back to when the Braves were in Wisconsin, was a former Home Run record holder, MVP, and World Series winner. His accomplishments are too numerous to name, and it is not even a competition to say that he is the Greatest Brave of All.
2. Phil Niekro (1964-1983)
Niekro is both one of the Best Braves Pitchers, as well as one of the Greatest pitchers in the history of Baseball. He was a 5 time all star, 5 time golden glove winner, and in 1973 pitched a no-hitter. He has 3342 total strikeouts, and 318 total wins in his career.
3. Chipper Jones (1991-2012)
This selection may be argued with. As far as wins and statistics, yes Chipper Jones was good for the Braves, but not one of the greatest. However, he brought to the organization more than a .318 batting average, more than a world series win, and more than the 1999 NL MVP award. Chipper is/was a leader on the field, and the face of a franchise. No player has been bigger in the Bobby Cox era. Like Derek Jeter, Chipper has been synonymous with his organization for over 20 years and will always represent the era. The Braves have had many super stars, but not many that could be the face of Atlanta.
4. John Smoltz (1988-2008)
Smoltz is another popular Brave, and helped bring Atlanta it’s lone championship. His 3011 strikeouts rank him first all time for the Braves. Smoltz endeared himself as a starter and closer for the team during his 20 year reign. He was also an 8 time all star, and was instrumental in making the Braves the powerhouse that they were throughout the 90’s, with the rotation of Smoltz, Maddux and Tom Glavine, the Braves have always been a difficult team on the mound.
5. Dale Murphy (1976-1990)
With 398 home runs and two MVP awards (82-83), Murphy cemented himself as one of the greatest outfielders in Braves History. Despite not playing on the 1995 world series team, Murphy is still one of the most valuable players Braves of all time, and continued to produce even during the early struggling days of the Superstation.