So originally I planned on writing about who I would choose as the three greatest players in the history of the Atlanta Braves franchise. After going on Twitter to ask all of the good folks in #BravesCountry their thoughts on this, I decided to leave Hank Aaron out of the list. Indeed, there should not even be a debate regarding his place in Braves history. He is the best, plain and simple. For my money, he is the greatest player in the history of baseball. So for the sake of debate, here are my all-time three greatest Braves excluding Hammerin’ Hank:
Chipper Jones: A lifelong Brave who will go down as one of the greatest third basemen of all time as well as one of the top three greatest switch hitters ever. Even now during his farewell season, “The Old Grey Mare” is still getting it done at the plate with one of the sweetest swings in the history of the game.
Dale Murphy: A two-time National League MVP who was one of the greatest players of his era (you hear that Hall of Fame voters?). In addition to being one of the best on the field, he is also still one of the finest off of it. He will always be beloved in Atlanta, and you should follow him on Twitter (@DaleMurphy3) because he’s pretty awesome on there as well.
John Smoltz: The cornerstone pitcher of the franchise during their 14 consecutive division title run. He went from a dominant starter to an untouchable closer and then back to a dominant starter. And he is the only pitcher in the history of baseball with more than 200 wins AND 150 saves. Furthermore, he will go down as one of the most successful pitchers in Postseason history as well.
So there you have it. Believe me, the fact that I had to leave off names like Maddux, Glavine, Mathews, Spahn and Niekro drove me nuts inside, but hey, I could only pick three. That being said, which three would you choose? Let me know on Twitter @RickyMast and @MLBFanCave.