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all-time-braves-catcher | October | 2007 Articles

2007 Archives

All-Time Braves: Catcher

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The off-season, especially this early is full of just about nothing to report so Chop-n-Change is looking for other ways to keep our readers interested and coming back. The next of these is a series we'll be starting to put together the all-time Braves team. The Braves organization, which has been in existence since 1876, has seen many great players don their uniform in three different cities. 47 members of the organization have been enshrined in Cooperstown but for this, we will only be looking at those who made a significant impact with the team (sorry, Babe Ruth and Cy Young are out). We will be going position by position, with the poll on the sidebar displaying the choices (I understand the IP block doesn't really stop you from voting more than once, but for the sake of the poll, please try to limit your voting to one). You can discuss the choices in each thread and if there is a choice you would like added, please feel free to ask. We'll start behind the plate. This is a tough position to judge. Generally the position has been one that doesn't expect or require much offense. Any ability with the bat is just a bonus to the glove. The Braves have seen many catcher who have been offensive-minded players, very notably, the last three starting catchers for the team. Here are the choices: Del Crandall(1949-1963)- Crandall was a fairly light-hitting catcher with great defensive skills. He wasn't miserable with the bat, but wasn't exactly what you'd call an offensive superstar. He spent his first 13 seasons with the Braves in Boston and Milwaukee. Crandall was a six-time All-Star and three time Gold Glove winner with the Braves. He was considered a team leader and one of the best defensive catchers of his time. Crandall hit .257 in 4583 at bats in a Braves uniform with 170 home runs. Joe Torre (1960-1968)- Torre was signed as an undrafted free agent by Atlanta in 1959. He got two at bats with Milwaukee in 1960 at age 19 and landed the starting job a year later. In his time with Milwaukee and then Atlanta, Torre was a five-time All-Star and won a gold glove with the Braves. In nine years with the Braves, Torre hit .294 in 3700 at bats with 142 home runs. Javy Lopez (1992-2003)- Lopez spent 12 seasons with the Braves and not only became a huge fan favorite in Atlanta, but established himself as one of the elite offensive backstops in baseball. Lopez is a three-time All-Star, won the 1996 NLCS MVP, and after his mind-blowing 2003 season won a Silver Slugger and Comeback Player of the Year Award. Lopez hit .287 in 4003 at bats with Atlanta, blasting 214 homers. Brian McCann (2005-Present)- We have to include McCann in here after his 2006 season. He is very much like Lopez, an offensive catcher with not a heck of a lot to offer with the glove. McCann got his chance after a cheap hit by Darin Erstad sidelined Johnny Estrada with a concussion. He impressed a lot of people as a member of the "Baby Braves" in 2005, hitting .278 with five home runs in 59 games after jumping up from double-A. In the two years since as the full-time catcher, McCann has two All-Star appearances and a Silver Slugger award. So far in his career he is hitting .296 with 47 home runs in 1126 at bats.

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