This is the third in a series that looks at the five best players at each position for every Atlanta Braves, a team that won the World Series in 2021.
As with any other franchise, fans of the Braves want to see their favorite players from the current (or at least recent) team get a top spot on the all-time team list. Atlanta stars from the past 25 years did just that, with manager Bobby Cox, catcher Javier Lopez and third baseman Chipper Jones from the dominant Braves teams from the 1990s topping their respective positions, joined by first baseman Freddie Freeman from the 2021 title team.
Those of you looking for that trend to continue with the middle infielders will be sorely disappointed, however. The top second baseman and shortstop both played with the team long before anyone reading this story was born, but they formed the best double-play tandem of the 1890s.
The Best Second Basemen and Shortstops in Atlanta Braves History
Honorable Mention – Jack Burdock – In the early days of the National League, he was a stalwart at second base for the Red Stockings and later the Beaneaters. In 11 seasons, Burdock played in 760 games and drove in 349 runs. His best season by far was 1883, when he set career highs with 132 hits, 88 runs batted in, and a .330 batting average in 96 (of 98) games.
5. Mark Lemke – Here is a name modern Braves fans probably know. Lemke spent 10 seasons with Atlanta and was a starter during much of their early dynasty. He hit .272 and drove in 25 runs in 62 career playoff games while also racking up six hits during the 1995 World Series. He also missed playoff games in 1994 due to the lockout and 1997 thanks to an ankle injury. Lemke’s postseason numbers were better than in the regular season when he hit .248 with 270 RBIs in 1,069 games.
4. Glenn Hubbard – Another lighter hitter (.245) who drove in 403 runs in 1,196 games over 10 seasons from 1978-87, but he was solid at second base with a .980 fielding percentage. His best season was 1983, when he hit .263 with career-bests in home runs (12) and RBIs (70) and made his only All-Star team.
3. Felix Millan – He played 799 games with the Braves from 1966-72, and he was a starter during the first National League Championship Series in 1969. Millan was a three-time All-Star and a two-time gold glove recipient who hit .281 with 221 runs batted in over seven seasons.
2. Ozzie Albies – The team’s current second baseman could reach the top spot sooner, rather than later. In the midst of his seventh season, Albies already has three All-Star selections and two silver slugger awards. He has played 717 games, totaling 769 hits, 120 home runs, 412 RBIs and a .270 batting average. Albies has scored 100 runs in a season three times, led the National League with 189 hits in 2019 and hit 30 homers and drove in 106 runs in the 2021 title season. In 37 career playoff games, he hit .255 with three home runs and nine RBIs, and he would have had more if he didn’t miss most of the 2022 season with a broken foot and broken pinky finger.
1. Bobby Lowe – He started his career as an outfield before changing positions and becoming a slick-fielding second baseman on a Beaneaters team that won five National League pennants and the “world championship series” in 1892. Lowe hit .286 and hit 70 home runs in 1,411 games over 12 seasons (1890-1901). He ranks tied for fourth in steals (260), eighth in runs (1,000), tied for eighth in triples (71), ninth in runs batted in (872) and tenth in hits (1,608) in franchise history. Lowe’s greatest claim to fame was accomplished on May 30, 1894, when he became the first player in Major League history to hit four home runs in a game.
Honorable Mention – Rafael Furcal – He spent his first six seasons with Atlanta, winning the Rookie of the Year Award in 2000 after posting a .295 average and 40 stolen bases. Furcal’s lone All-Star season was 2003 when he had 194 hits, 15 home runs, 61 RBIs, 25 steals, and a league-leading 10 triples. In 817 games with the Braves, he scored 554 runs, had 924 hits, 292 runs batted in, and 180 stolen bases (which rank tenth in team history). He appeared in 22 playoff games with Atlanta and hit two home runs in the 2004 Division Series.
5. Dansby Swanson – Spent seven seasons with the Braves before signing with the Cubs as a free agent in 2023. Swanson had 102 home runs and 411 RBIs in 827 games. He had his best season in 2022 when he earned All-Star and gold glove honors after posting career bests with 99 runs, 177 hits, 96 RBIs, 18 steals, and a .277 average to go along with 25 home runs. Swanson hit two home runs to help Atlanta win the World Series in 2021, and he had five homers and 15 RBIs in 37 playoff games with the Braves.
4. Johnny Logan – He played 11 seasons, mostly when the franchise was located in Milwaukee. A four-time All-Star, Logan hit .270 with 1,329 hits, 624 runs scored, and 521 RBIs in 1,351 games. His best season was in 1955 when he posted career highs with a .297 average, 177 hits, 83 runs batted in, and a league-leading 37 doubles. Logan also hit a home run during the 1957 World Series, helping the Braves beat the Yankees.
3. Jeff Blauser – Lemke’s double play partner during Atlanta’s run of National League East titles in the 1990s hit five home runs and drove in 12 runs in 57 playoff games, although he missed the World Series win in 1995 with a thigh bruise. Blauser was a two-time All-Star and won a silver slugger in 1997, his final year with the team. He hit .268 with 1,060 hits, 109 home runs, and 461 RBIs in 1,184 games over 11 seasons.
2. Rabbit Maranville – He was a great range as a defensive player (although he holds the 20th-century record for errors with 711) who was perhaps better known for the practical jokes he played on teammates and coaches. Despite being only 5-foot-5 and 150 pounds, Walter “Rabbit” Maranville played 15 seasons in two stints with the Boston Braves (1912-20 and 29-35). He was the starting shortstop and drove in three runs for the “Miracle Braves” during the 1914 World Series.
Maranville is the all-time franchise leader with 103 triples, and he ranks fifth in games played (1,795), eighth in hits (1,696), ninth in steals (184), and tenth in doubles (244). He also had 802 runs scored and 558 runs batted in, but he might have had even better numbers if he hadn’t missed the entire 1934 season after breaking his leg on a slide while trying to steal home in an exhibition game. Maranville was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1954.
1. Herman Long – Long formed an elite middle infield duo with Lowe in the 1890s. Although he is credited with a Major League record 1,096 errors in his career, Long was a victim of scorers in the era (who oftentimes charged errors on balls that were touched by a fielder but not resulting in outs, which basically punished a fielder for having good range). He played 13 seasons in Boston and tops the franchise list with 434 stolen bases. Long also ranks third in triples (91), fourth in runs scored (1,292), fifth in hits (1,902), sixth in runs batted in (964), and eighth in games played (1,647). Long hit .280 with 88 home runs with the Beaneaters, and he was part of a team that won five pennants and a league title in 1892.
Other articles in the Braves series:
A look back at the Arizona Diamondbacks
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