The Mount Rushmore of the Atlanta Braves

Hank-AaronThe Braves are one of the National League’s founding franchises, operating continuously since 1876. But, its origins go back even further than that, to the Boston Red Stockings of the National Association, a team that was itself formed from the remnants of the Cincinnati Red Stockings when that club, baseball’s first all-professional team, folded prior to the National Association’s first season in 1871.

The Red Stockings changed their nickname to the Beaneaters in 1883, to the Doves in 1907, the Rustlers in 1911 and finally the Braves in 1912. Except for the 1936 to 1940 seasons when Boston was known as the Bees, the Braves nickname has remained in use ever since, even through two franchise moves, first to Milwaukee in 1953 and then to Atlanta in 1966.

The Braves are the fifth of the original NL clubs in our Mount Rushmore series. Your task is to choose the four players who best represent this franchise. Have fun!

The Red Stockings were the National Association’s dominant team, finishing first in that circuit’s last four seasons, including a 71-8 record in the NA’s final 1875 campaign. That success continued in the National League’s first years, with Boston claiming league titles in 1877, 1878 and 1883, and then winning three successive pennants from 1891 to 1893. Boston also won the first (and only) National League championship series in 1892 with a 5-0 whitewash of the second-place Cleveland Spiders. Two more championships in 1898 and 1899 made for a total of 8 NL titles, the most of any franchise in the league’s first quarter century. Dominant players of this period included Herman Long, Hugh Duffy, Billy Hamilton and George Wright, and pitchers Al Spalding, Kid Nichols, John Clarkson and Tommy Bond.

Boston finally had an extended down period, finishing no higher than 6th for 10 consecutive seasons (1903-12), including last place finishes in the final four years of that stretch. It was thus seen as something of a miracle when the Braves rose, phoenix-like, to claim the 1914 NL title, recovering from a 3-16 start to finish 61-16, and then go on to sweep the defending world champion Athletics in that year’s World Series. The Braves were again contenders in 1915 and 1916 before returning to second division status for the remainder of the decade. Dominant players in the dead ball years included Fred Tenney and Rabbit Maranville, and pitchers Vic Willis and Dick Rudolph.

The dawning of the live ball era did little to help Brave fortunes, with Boston finishing no higher than 5th from 1917 to 1932. Three successive .500 finishes (1932-34) were the first since 1914-16, but that brief period of respectability  came to a sudden end with a 38-115 record the next year, the first of eleven straight seasons finishing no higher than 6th. The Braves’ .248 winning percentage in 1935 is still the lowest mark for an NL franchise since 1901. Wally Berger was the Braves’ only star of the 1920-45 period, with his 36.6 WAR almost double the total of any other Braves’ player.

After those long years in the wilderness, Brave fortunes finally took a turn for the better with .500 finishes in 1946 and 1947 and an NL pennant in 1948, as Boston held off the Dodgers, Cardinals and Pirates, all within 2 games of the lead starting that September’s pennant chase. Attendance in 1948 reached almost 1.5 million, more than 4 times what it had been in 1945. But, by 1950, fewer than one million showed up, and fewer than half a million the next year, as the cross-town Red Sox captured Boston’s fancy, dueling the Yankees for AL supremacy during those years. Attendance made a sudden reversal in 1953 as almost two million home fans came to see the Braves in their first season in Milwaukee. Team fortunes also turned around as the Braves won 92 games, the first of 14 straight .500 seasons winning at least 80 games. From 1955 to 1960, Milwaukee finished 1st or 2nd every year, with pennants in 1957 and 1958, splitting those two World Series with the Yankees in two 7-game thrillers. But, while success on the field was a constant, it was a different story at the box office, with fewer than a million home fans showing up in the Braves’ last four years in Milwaukee. Dominant players of this period include Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews and Joe Torre, and pitchers Warren Spahn, Lew Burdette and Johnny Sain.

With divisional realignment, Atlanta was assigned inexplicably to the NL West, winning its first divisional crown in 1969, but suffering an NLCS sweep at the hands of the Mets. Over the next 21 years, Atlanta returned to the NLCS only once, being swept again in 1982, this time by the Cardinals. The Braves challenged again the next season, finishing 3 games back of the Dodgers, but these years were mostly forgettable as Atlanta finished last 8 times and next-to-last on 6 more occasions. Not surprisingly, the Braves went through a lengthy list of managers, starting the 21 seasons from 1970 to 1990 with no fewer than 9 different skippers. One of these was a former Yankee infielder by the name of Bobby Cox, who posted just one .500 season (81-80 in 1980) in four years at the helm. His second tour of duty, starting in 1990, would prove more successful. Notable players of this period include Hank Aaron (again), Dale Murphy and Darrell Evans, and pitcher Phil Niekro.

The Braves would see their most consistent success over the next 15 seasons, all under Bobby Cox, installed in his second tenure as manager when he relieved Russ Nixon midway through the 1990 season. The next year, Cox guided Atlanta to its first pennant in 33 years before falling to the Twins in a memorable World Series won in walk-off fashion in a 1-0 extra-inning game 7. Another pennant followed the next year, but the Braves fell again in the World Series, this time to the Toronto Blue Jays. Atlanta claimed its first world championship in 38 years in 1995, beating the Indians who were making their first post-season appearance in over 40 years. Two more pennants followed in 1996 and 1999, but the Braves fell both times to the Yankees, embarked on yet another dynasty. In all, Cox would guide Atlanta to 14 consecutive division titles (1991-2005, excepting the strike-ended 1994 season), a mark approached only by the Yankees with 9 straight division crowns (1998-2006). Atlanta owed its success through this period to their pitching with Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz each compiling over 50 WAR in Brave colors. The offense was led by the Joneses, Chipper and Andruw, who together surpassed 140 WAR.

Here are the top 15 position players, by WAR (Baseball-Reference.com version) as Braves.

Rk Player WAR From To Age G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Hank Aaron 142.1 1954 1974 20-40 3076 13090 2107 3600 600 96 733 2202 1297 1294 .310 .377 .567 .944 *9783H/45
2 Eddie Mathews 94.3 1952 1966 20-34 2223 9532 1452 2201 338 70 493 1388 1376 1387 .273 .379 .517 .896 *5/H73
3 Chipper Jones 85.0 1993 2012 21-40 2499 10614 1619 2726 549 38 468 1623 1512 1409 .303 .401 .529 .930 *57/H6D9
4 Andruw Jones 61.0 1996 2007 19-30 1761 7276 1045 1683 330 34 368 1117 717 1394 .263 .342 .497 .839 *89/HD7
5 Dale Murphy 46.9 1976 1990 20-34 1926 8095 1103 1901 306 37 371 1143 912 1581 .268 .351 .478 .829 *893/72H
6 Fred Tenney 39.1 1894 1911 22-39 1737 7684 1134 1994 242 74 17 609 750 414 .300 .376 .367 .743 *3/29781
7 Wally Berger 36.6 1930 1937 24-31 1057 4551 651 1263 248 52 199 746 346 544 .304 .362 .533 .894 *87/H3
8 Herman Long 35.4 1890 1902 24-36 1647 7509 1292 1902 295 91 88 964 536 364 .280 .337 .390 .727 *6/47385
9 Tommy Holmes 34.9 1942 1951 25-34 1289 5523 696 1503 291 47 88 580 476 118 .303 .367 .434 .801 *98/H7
10 Joe Torre 33.3 1960 1968 19-27 1037 4099 470 1087 154 21 142 552 334 518 .294 .356 .462 .818 *23/H7
11 Johnny Logan 33.0 1951 1961 25-35 1351 5538 624 1329 207 40 92 521 417 431 .270 .330 .384 .714 *6/H
12 Rabbit Maranville 29.7 1912 1935 20-43 1795 7535 801 1696 244 103 23 558 561 515 .252 .313 .329 .642 *64/H5
13 Hugh Duffy 28.6 1892 1900 25-33 1153 5228 998 1545 220 73 69 927 459 149 .332 .394 .455 .849 *87/469532
14 Billy Nash 28.6 1885 1895 20-30 1187 5202 855 1285 200 69 51 811 598 320 .281 .368 .389 .757 *5/467819
15 Del Crandall 27.3 1949 1963 19-33 1394 5085 552 1176 167 17 170 628 374 437 .257 .313 .412 .725 *2/H397
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/3/2014.

And, the top 15 pitchers, by WAR as Braves.

Rk Player WAR From To Age G GS CG SHO W L W-L% SV IP BB SO ERA FIP ERA+
1 Kid Nichols 108.5 1890 1901 20-31 557 502 476 44 329 183 .643 16 4549.0 1163 1680 3.00 3.59 143
2 Warren Spahn 92.0 1942 1964 21-43 714 635 374 63 356 229 .609 29 5046.0 1378 2493 3.05 3.41 120
3 Phil Niekro 90.0 1964 1987 25-48 740 595 226 43 268 230 .538 29 4622.1 1458 2912 3.20 3.46 119
4 John Smoltz 67.0 1988 2008 21-41 708 466 53 16 210 147 .588 154 3395.0 992 3011 3.26 3.23 127
5 Greg Maddux 66.0 1993 2003 27-37 363 363 61 21 194 88 .688 0 2526.2 383 1828 2.63 2.95 163
6 Tom Glavine 58.7 1987 2008 21-42 518 518 52 22 244 147 .624 0 3408.0 1177 2091 3.41 3.84 121
7 Vic Willis 46.2 1898 1905 22-29 320 302 268 26 151 147 .507 5 2575.0 854 1161 2.82 3.22 120
8 John Clarkson 42.7 1888 1892 26-30 242 237 226 20 149 82 .645 4 2092.2 676 834 2.82 3.44 128
9 Tommy Bond 41.2 1877 1881 21-25 247 241 225 29 149 87 .631 0 2127.1 140 627 2.21 2.41 113
10 Jim Whitney 33.5 1881 1885 23-27 266 254 242 18 133 121 .524 2 2263.2 230 1157 2.49 2.48 114
11 Lew Burdette 26.2 1951 1963 24-36 468 330 146 30 179 120 .599 23 2638.0 557 923 3.53 3.70 102
12 Tim Hudson 24.4 2005 2013 29-37 244 243 9 5 113 72 .611 0 1573.0 464 997 3.56 3.88 115
13 Charlie Buffinton 23.8 1882 1886 21-25 184 180 166 19 104 70 .598 1 1547.1 292 911 2.83 2.81 102
14 Dick Rudolph 23.3 1913 1927 25-39 275 239 171 27 121 108 .528 6 2035.0 400 777 2.62 2.51 106
15 Jack Stivetts 22.3 1892 1898 24-30 237 207 176 6 131 78 .627 2 1798.2 651 527 4.12 4.53 114
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/3/2014.

Now, it’s your turn. Please choose 4 players, or write in your own. Polls are open until midnight Pacific time on Wed, Dec 17th. You can check on results using the link at the bottom of the ballot. If the ballot does not display on your browser, you can also vote here.

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54 Comments on "The Mount Rushmore of the Atlanta Braves"

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Dr. Doom
Guest

Aaron, Spahn, C. Jones, and Maddux for me. I REALLY wanted to vote for Mathews, but I couldn’t justify three guys from one team, even if it was the 50s Milwaukee Braves, the greatest team of all-time. 🙂

Steven
Guest

Murphy, Spahn, Mathews and Aaron. Thought about Bob Horner, but I pulled a muscle while typing his name.

David Horwich
Guest

I wish we could vote for a triptych of Maddux-Glavine-Smoltz…

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Zoinks. This one is busy.

Here’s what Kid Nichols did as a Beaneater…
From 1890 to 1901 (his years with the team), leaders:

WAR
110.2 .. Cyclone Young
108.5 .. Kid Nichols
68.9 … Amos Rusie
52.1 … Ted Breitenstein
50.9 … Clark Griffith
40.7 … Sadie McMahon
40.4 … Nig Cuppy
_____

Wins
329 … Kid Nichols
319 … Cy Young
234 … Rusie
191 … Jack Stivetts
190 … Clark Griffith
180 … Guy Weyhing

John
Guest

Aaron, Spahn, Chipper and Smoltz. I agree with David Horwich. I’d’ve preferred a three-headed monster of Smoltz Glavine and Maddox. Murph, Knucksie and Bobby Cox were tough to leave off. Andruw Jones is the poster child for someone who might be HOF-worthy who still leaves you wondering what might have been. He had that much potential. Chipper on my ballot because he grew up 30 miles from here.

no statistician but
Guest
Unlike the Reds and Phils, the Braves have a superfluity of worthy pitchers to choose from, so I’m going with four pitchers here—but which four? Kid Nichols, one of my all-time favorite players because he’s so often forgotten, half hidden in the shadow of Cy Young, even though he was probably better than the Cyclone overall in the 1890s. Warren Spahn, lost some time to WWII, otherwise might have rung up 400 wins. All right, didn’t like him much but—Phil Niekro, who was just a more recent version of Vic Willis in a way, laboring for lots of bad teams… Read more »
David Horwich
Guest

I voted Aaron, Spahn, Niekro, C Jones. Hard to leave off Mathews and the pitching troika of the ’90s, of course, not to mention Murphy and Nichols, but something’s got to give.

Darien
Guest

Hank Aaron, Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux, and John Smoltz.

David P
Guest

Phil Niekro, 90 WAR, 5% of the vote. Is there anyone else who has that level of WAR and received a really low vote percentage for their team´s Rushmore? Hard to imagine…

Artie Z.
Guest
On the other hand, his 90 WAR is 5th all-time for the Braves. And none of the 4 players ahead of him are from the 1990s era teams. When I first see these posts I try to think of who immediately comes to mind – I thought of Aaron, Spahn, and Mathews first, then Murphy, then Chipper, the pitching trio, and Andruw. From there I try to figure out who to vote for. Niekro never even registered in my mind, likely because he spent years pitching for teams that didn’t do very much. And Nichols is way too far back… Read more »
Steve
Guest

OK a given Hank Aaron then Warren Spahn and Eddie Mathews, John Smoltz & Chipper Jones but sorry but Kid Nichols spent too much time pre-1900 so no vote for him

Steve
Guest

Phil Niekro he of 90 WAR is just further proof that WAR is a useless stat. I do not think there are many if any people that can say with a straight face that Phil Niekro was a dominant pitcher and would be their choice in a must win situation.

mosc
Guest
You know I criticize stuff all the time. I don’t think WAR’s perfect. But I at least try to understand it and say what’s good and bad. It says Neikro allowed 3.89 Runs per 9 with a below average defense and mostly in hitters parks and expected the league average arm to allow about 4.66 runs per 9. That’s a significantly better than average result. Dominant? Maybe not. But he also pitched 5400 innings for a savings of 419 runs. Then you also have to consider that his replacement wouldn’t have been league average which equates to about 498 runs… Read more »
Steve
Guest

I’ll agree he was marginally better than average for a very above average length of service but still who would select him to win the one big game?

RJ
Guest
But no one statistic can answer that question. WAR is not useless because it cannot tell us who the most dominant one-game pitcher of all time is, in the same way that ERA or Ks or Wins are not useless because they cannot tell us the same thing either. Each statistic answers a specific question (in the case of WAR, how much value a player brought over a theoretical replacement level player). Just because Phil Niekro has more career WAR than, say, Pedro Martinez, it does not mean he is a more dominant pitcher. It just means he has more… Read more »
Dr. Doom
Guest

Bingo. Fantastic post.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest
WAR is a great ‘single-number’ stat as a starting point. It’s a whole lot better than the commonly used mainstream stats of Batting Average or RBI or Pitcher Wins, if you are going to use just one particular number to evaluate a player. It’s pretty good as a middle point too; usually as good or better than OPS+ or ERA+, or most other ‘non-mainstream’ stats you can use. BUT – and this is a big but – I would never use WAR as the as the endpoint for any evaluation of a player, as the final word in comparing one… Read more »
David P
Guest

Lawrence – Perhaps you`ve seen this already but Dave Cameron had a great article last year that said basically the same thing. Though it took him a lot more words. Bravo for succinctness!

http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/what-war-is-good-for/

Lawrence Azrin
Guest
@35, David P – thanks. I think that the best baseball minds of any generation have usually understood the importance of adjusting any hitting stat to ballpark and lineup position, plus factoring in defensive position and value, when determining their overall evaluation of any particular player. However, it’s only been in the past decade+, with the widespread availability of so many baseball stats through B-R, plus the ability to manipulate those numbers in an almost infinite number of ways through the use of PC’s, that the concept of Wins Above Replacement is even possible. So I wouldn’t be too tough… Read more »
Steve
Guest

Hey he could eat innings – very effectively – and as you say – It just means he has more WAR – I would love to see what a pitcher like Pedro would have been like if he had to pitch into the 8th and 9th every start – would his numbers still be so gaudy?

RJ
Guest
I see mosc has responded, but just adding on with some stuff I had already written: WAR is a counting stat and Phil Niekro pitched more innings than anyone else in the live-ball era. His 5404 innings pitched are more than the career totals of Pedro Martinez and Sandy Koufax put together. He had 15 seasons of recording 200 IP with an above average ERA+. In short, he was a good to great pitcher for a really, really long time. Niekro’s peak isn’t in the same category as the peaks of guys like Pedro and Sandy, but said peak was… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest
To flesh out what mosc said a little bit: 1) he pitched in a ballpark known as “The Launching Pad” that was also responsible for Hank Aaron’s hitting a remarkably consistent # of home runs each season until he was in his 40’s (by moving from a lousy home run park to a great one at age 32. 2) His teammates in key defensive positions were such immortals as Pepe Frias, Craig Robinson, Darrel Chaney and Rod Gilbreath not to mention a post knee-surgery Rico Carty lumbering around in left field (read what Whitey Herzog had to say about the… Read more »
RJ
Guest
This quote Hartvig? “With Alex Johnson and Rico Carty in Texas, I had two good hitters, but I still can’t tell you which in the hell was the worse left fielder. I’d DH one and play the other in left, then switch it around the next day. That way I could hide one of ’em and they never got tired.” http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=3uSbqUm8hSAC&pg=PA690 Incidentally, if I was to get myself one Bill James Abstract, is The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract the one to go for? I’m figuring some baseball literature might be a good Christmas present to myself. And apropos… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest

That’s it exactly.

And yes I’d go with the newer version of the HBA (originally published in 2001, I think) rather than the original. There’s some good stuff in the original that didn’t get carried forward but by and large the new incorporates the best of the original (often word for word) plus lots and lots of really good new stuff plus the player rankings are far less subjective.

My hardcover copy is quite literally falling apart at the seams it’s been read so often.

And I was thinking of catching Interstellar in an afternoon matinee this coming weekend.

no statistician but
Guest

Hey, R.J., treat yourself. You can pick up a used copy of the original for as little as 2 cents plus $3.99 shipping right now at Amazon. Otherwise you’ll miss some brilliant commentary on people like Reggie Jackson, Johnny Evers, Al Simmons, even Stan the Man, that does not appear in the later version.

RJ
Guest

Thanks Hartvig and nsb, I’ll look into it.

John Autin
Editor
Steve, here’s one way of comparing Phil Niekro and Warren Spahn: — In Niekro’s 17 qualified years with the Braves (1967-83), he made 593 starts, with a team record of 315-276. In all other games, the Braves went 969-1,125 (.463). Applying that non-Niekro record to Niekro’s starts gives an expected record of 273-318. Niekro’s starts beat that record by 42 wins. — In Spahn’s 18 qualified years with the Braves (1947-64), he made 617 starts, with a team record of 379-237. In all other games, the Braves went 1,156-1,024 (.530), creating an expected record of 327-289 in Spahn’s starts. He… Read more »
Jim
Guest

Aaron, Mathews, Aaron, and Aaron

J.R.
Guest

I went more with “feel” rather than metrics on this one. Hank was a no brainer, as was Chipper for me. You think of the Braves, you think of them. I went with Eddie Mathews and Greg Maddux as my other two selections, but it was awfully difficult to leave Warren Spahn off the list.

I would have loved to have done the two different Rushmore’s from their different cities. Would have made this much easier.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Too many great players. This is hard.
Makes the most sense to me to do it by era.

This makes Kid Nichols the #1 pick.

And brings a choice between Aaron, Mathews, and Spahn.
Yeesh. That’s just not fair.
Well, has to be Aaron.

Chipper-Smoltz-Glavine-Maddux-Andruw?
Maddux actually played the least number of years for the team (eleven), but I’m picking him, for reasons of awesomeness.

That leaves Knucksie with a vote for his 5000 fluttering IP in the dark years.
______

Vote:

Kid Nichols
Hank Aaron
Phil Niekro
Greg Maddux

Doug
Guest

Nichols, Spahn, Aaron and Chipper for me.

The 1890s Beaneaters won 5 pennants, so seemed there must be a player from those years. Spahn and Aaron for the 40s and 50s championship teams, and Chipper for the 90s.

Tough to leave off Mathews, Niekro and Smolgladdux.

Paul E
Guest

Aaron, Mathews, Spahn, Chipper.

According to Bill James, Nichols was every bit as good as Cy Young and the stats definitely back him up. Oh, that’s right – James is going entirely by statistical analysis and didn’t see the guy pitch, either. I’m too lazy to check, but I believe I recall seeing Nichols went to the minors in mid-to-late-career and won another 50 games there and returned to the majors and won another 50 or so in the bigs. Probably as many deserving Circle of Great caliber and Rushmore level players as any franchise we’ve reviewed thus far.

David Horwich
Guest

Nichols went to the minors at age 32, pitched 2 seasons with a 47-19 W-L record, then returned to the majors at age 34 for 2+ years, going 32-25 to finish his career.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Too lazy to check?
Right. Trip to the library, dewey decimal system, walk through the stacks, haul out the 40 pound encyclopedia, sift through to page 749, and squint for the information in 7-point type.
______

Or…
Sarcasm, click three buttons, and:

47 games won for the Kansas City Blue Stockings at age 32-33.
Player/Manager and part owner of the team.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Best Old School quote:

“You never heard anyone with a sore arm in my day. When we weren’t pitching, we either played the outfield or doubled as ticket takers. The biggest strain my arm ever underwent was at the Polo Grounds when I counted 30,000 tickets.”

– Kid Nichols, 1948

Lawrence Azrin
Guest

@25,

Did Nichols also add “We used to walk to school six miles uphill (in both directions)every day, whether it was raining or snowing”?

Paul E
Guest

“too lazy to check”

Yes, too lazy to open another tab 🙁 Not quite digging ditches

So, Nichols may have been a 400-game winner if he doesn’t get the offer of ownership. That’s high cotton.

The way the game is evolving (5 man rotation may have started with Mets and Dodgers in early 1970’s ?), we’re overdue for the sixth starter and further downfall of the “workhorse”. Aces will go 190 innings and get paid $ 100,000/inning

RJ
Guest
Lots of talk about how stacked the ballot is. How do the Braves compare to the other fifteen original teams in this regard? First, let’s look at which clubs have the most position players with X amount of WAR for their team: 60+: Tigers (7) 70+: Tigers/Yankees (5) 80+: Tigers/Yankees/Braves/Cardinals/Giants (3) 90+: Yankees/Giants (3) 100+: Yankees/Giants (3) Now pitchers: 60+: Braves (5) 70+: Braves (3) 80+: Braves (3) 90+: Braves (3) 100+: Braves/Senators (1) Combing pitchers and position players: 60+: Braves (9) 70+: Braves (6) 80+: Braves (6) 90+: Braves (5) 100+: Yankees/Giants(3) So indeed, the Braves have an unusual… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest
I was trying to remember another franchise that presented as many problems with trying to narrow down the field to just 4 and and I was coming up blank. It’s hardly ever easy- except maybe for a few of the expansion clubs- but this time around I am completely at a loss with even where to begin. How can you not include arguably the best third baseman in the games first 100 years or a pitcher who led his teams to 5 pennants in a decade or a 2 time MV? Just among the pitchers you have 4 guys who… Read more »
Lawrence Azrin
Guest

@40,

That’s a good argument for splitting the Original 16 MLB franchises into two eras, pre-expansion (before 1961) and post-expansion (post-1961). Even so, I still count 7/8 worthy candidates just post-expansion.

John Autin
Editor

Career pitching WAR from 60 feet (since 1893):
— 7th, Maddux
— 9th, Niekro
— 13th, Spahn
— 16th, Nichols
— 24th, Glavine

That’s a glut of Rushmore candidates, especially with only three spots really up for grabs.

I went for Bad Henry, Nichols, Spahn & Knucksie.

Alan
Guest

Man, this was a tough one. Had to let two 300-game winners go by the wayside, along with Smoltz, Chipper and Kid Nichols. Still, Aaron, Matthews, Spahn and Maddux rose highest in my mind, and got my votes.

Lawrence Azrin
Guest
Maddux vs. Chipper Jones is an interesting conundrum. Maddux was clearly a lot more dominant when comparing their respective peaks, but spent only half of his career with the Braves. Plus, Larry Wayne was hardly chopped liver, as when he retired he was almost certainly one of the five best 3Bmen ever (I have him behind Schmidt, Brett and Mathews, maybe ahead of Boggs – Beltre closing fast). This is one of those cases I was referring to in #33 above, where WAR is not going to give you the final answer. Chipper has nearly 20 more WAR than Maddux… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest
And of course Mathews is the 3rd leg of that quandary- how do you pick Jones and not pick Mathews if you rank Mathews higher (as I think most probably do)? Four dominant pitchers from different eras as well as 3 dominant pitchers from the same era, two of the greatest third basemen off all time and the all time home run leader (without an asterisk next to his name). I’m going with Nichols, Spahn, Aaron & Maddux. Nichols would be the “easiest” one to drop because he played so long ago and is not generally well known but he… Read more »
PP
Guest

Neutralize Chipper’s stats to 1960 and Eddie Lee blows him away. And I like Chipper.

Michael Sullivan
Guest
Of course for me the face of the Braves while I’ve known and watched them play, is Maddux, Smolz, Glavine, Jones, Jones and Murphy. Given how amazing all of them were, and that each, except maybe for Murphy had hall of fame level careers just with the Braves, it’s really weird to see them at #3-5 on the position player list and #4-6 on the pitcher WAR list. I forget just how much of Maddux’s great performance came with the cubbies. But that’s what happens when some inner circle greats played their whole careers with this team. For me then,… Read more »
bells
Guest
Late for the party, but agree with the obvious consensus that this one’s a toughie. Weighing the greatness of players with the amount of time they spent with the organization… it’s hard not to think of Maddux, and the trio of him and Glavine and Smoltz immediately after, when thinking about the Braves, because they were the face of the dominant team I grew up with (I was 11 when they went to the WS against Minnesota). But then, they kind of cancel each other out in a sense because of how intertwined they were – Maddux was clearly the… Read more »
Phil
Guest

Aaron, Matthews, Spahn, Maddux.

David Horwich
Guest

So we have a tie for the last spot – do the Braves get 5 on their Rushmore, or do we have a runoff?…

Alan
Guest

Naw, Maddog and Matthews are both all-timers, and the Braves are stacked with candidates. All 5 should be in!

David Horwich
Guest

Well, there are other franchises that are just as stacked – Yankees are the obvious example – but only have 4 Rushmorites. Doesn’t seem fair to give the Braves an extra just because of the luck of the drawn vote.

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