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all-time-braves-left-field | November | 2007 Articles

2007 Archives

All-Time Braves: Left Field

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Sorry for the short hiatus lately. College applications have gotten the better of me this past week (I have exhausted all available time before I absolutely must do them) but I thought I'd poke back in and keep moving towards the finish of the Chop-n-Change All-Time Braves team as voted by our readers. Chipper won third quite easily with two thirds of the vote. Eddie Mathews followed him up with 32% of the vote and both Terry Pendleton and Bob Horner each received only one vote. Now we'll move on to left field. 1. Rico Carty (1963-1972)- Carty, who was signed by the Braves out of the Dominican Republic in 1959, spent seven seasons with the Braves in both Milwaukee and Atlanta. After mashing in the minors in 1963, he got his first real shot in the majors the next year. In his rookie season, Carty hit .330 with 22 home runs. Over the course of his Braves career, Carty hit over .310 or over five times. His most prolific season came in 1970 when Carty hit .366 with 25 home runs and 101 RBIs. After the 1972 season, the Braves dealt Carty to the Rangers. Carty lost quite a bit of time over his career due to serious injuries and ailments but still managed to be one of the better and less known hitters of his time. 2. Ralph Garr (1968-1975)- Garr had a little time in the majors from '68-'70 but not until the '71 season did he earn a full-time starting job with Atlanta. Garr quickly proved himself as an impressive hitter, combining a high batting average with speed, power, and plate discipline. I his first four full seasons with the Braves, Garr's average was below .325 only once when he hit .299 in 1973. He proved to have double-digit home run power and totaled less than 25 steals only one year in his five seasons as a starter for Atlanta. Off the field, Garr was well known for a squeaky voice and a fairly comedic personality which included Hank Aaron impersonations. 3. Ron Gant (1987-1993)- Gant was known as one of Atlanta's biggest power-speed threats on the early-90's teams. He came up as a second baseman but played most of the '89 season at third before eventually finding his home in the outfield. Gant bounced up and down between the majors and minors his first couple seasons but earned a starting job in 1990 when he put together the best season of his career, hitting .303 with 32 home runs, 84 RBIs, and 33 steals. For the next three seasons with the Braves, he proved himself as an annual 30/30 threat despite a batting average that went up and down. Gant finished his time with Atlanta with 147 home runs and 157 stolen bases. 4. Ryan Klesko (1992-1999)- Klesko, the only nominee who is still an active major leaguer, was the Braves primary starter from 1994 on. He's had to deal with steroid speculation recently, but in his time with the Braves he was known for his consistent 20+ annual home runs. Klesko could be counted on .275-.300 with 20-35 home runs, however his biggest drawback came in his strikeouts. Klesko was quite prone to the punch-out, especially early in his career. During the '96-'97 seasons, Klesko struck out 259 times. Klesko was traded to San Diego after the 1999 season and in recent years has seen his production decline quite a bit. As always, there are well over 100 years of Braves history to go through so if you think I overlooked a worthy candidate, post a comment and I will add that player.
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