Notable Braves Players Over the Years

As the Braves begin their last season in the city of Atlanta, take a moment to remember some great names in baseball.
  • Hammerin' Hank Aaron, the all-time home run king, still works for the Braves.
    Hammerin' Hank Aaron, the all-time home run king, still works for the Braves.
  • Enjoy the final season at Turner Field this year.
    Enjoy the final season at Turner Field this year.

Opening Day 2016 for the Atlanta Braves was April 4, when the Braves faced the Washington Nationals. The Braves, who won 14 straight division championships from 1991 to 2005, are in a rebuilding phase now as they prepare to move out of Atlanta to the suburbs next year. Thus, April 4 marked the Braves’ final Opening Day at Turner Field.

The team became the Atlanta Braves in 1966. But the country’s oldest continuously operating pro sports franchise began in 1871 as the Boston Red Stockings. They played in Milwaukee from 1953 until they moved to Atlanta in 1966.

Over the years, many team members have become household names. Here are a few favorites from years past.

  • Hammerin' Hank Aaron, one of the best-known faces of the franchise, played both in Milwaukee and Atlanta. Aaron currently works for the Braves in its front office. When he left the baseball diamond, his career record included, according to "The Braves Encyclopedia," the most RBIs (2,297); total bases (6,856); and long hits (1,477). Much loved and respected in Atlanta and throughout baseball, Aaron is known, of course, as the "all-time home run king."

  • Phil Niekro, nicknamed Knucksie, and his 318 career wins are the most of any knuckleballer and 16th overall in the league.

  • Former third baseman Chipper Jones spent his entire career with the Atlanta Braves, was an eight-time All-Star and holds the Braves record for on-base percentage. He was recently hired as Braves special assistant to baseball operations.

  • Right-hander Greg Maddux played with both the Braves and the Chicago Cubs. He won the Cy Young Award for four consecutive years and is the only pitcher to win at least 15 games for 17 straight seasons. Maddux was part of the Braves’ dream pitching trio, which included John Smoltz and Tom Glavine, that won the World Series.

  • Outfielder, first baseman and catcher Dale Murphy was the most valuable player in 1982 and 1983. He won several prestigious honors including four straight Silver Slugger awards and five straight Gold Glove awards.

  • William DeVaughn "Bill" Lucas was the first African-American general manager in Major League Baseball and served as front-office boss of the Braves from mid-September 1976 until May 1979.

  • Selva Lewis "Lou" Burdette Jr. was a right-handed starter who mostly played for the Boston and Milwaukee Braves. The team's top right-hander during its years in Milwaukee, he was the MVP of the 1957 World Series, which was the franchise’s first championship in 43 years. His career average of 1.84 walks per nine innings places him fourth among pitchers with at least 3,000 innings since 1920.

  • Shortstop, second baseman, third baseman Walter James Vincent Maranville, better known as Rabbit Maranville due to his speed and small stature (5'5", 155 pounds), played 23 seasons, a record that wasn’t broken until along came Cincinnati Reds’ Pete Rose.

  • John Franklin “Johnny” Sain was a right-handed pitcher best known for teaming with left-hander Warren Spahn on the Boston Braves teams from 1946 to 1951.He later became further well known as one of the top pitching coaches in the majors.

  • Warren Spahn was a left-handed pitcher who won 20 games or more in 13 seasons. He played with the Boston and Milwaukee Braves and is acknowledged as one of the best pitchers in MLB history. Every year the Warren Spahn Award is given to the league’s best left-handed pitcher.

Journalist Mary Welch writes lifestyle and business stories for national and local publications.

 

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