Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Short Term Stops: The All-Braves Team (Pt. 2)

Shortstop

1999 Topps #301 Ozzie Guillen

"Short Term Stops" Braves Accolades:

Ozzie Guillen (1998-99 Atlanta Braves, 175 games)

Continuing on from Part 1, we're ready to meet the other half of the Braves "Short Term Stops" infield.

Ozzie Guillen's stint in Atlanta wasn't quite as short as most of the other players you'll see on these rosters. He spent a little over a year-and-a-half in the Braves organization, hitting .260 in the 175 games he'd play with the franchise.

In the end, the reason Guillen made this roster was because of sheer unfamiliarity. I'd bet that few fans even remember his stint with the Braves. The fact that the man spent the bulk of both his playing and managerial careers with the White Sox makes anything else seem way out of the ordinary.

Even though I've owned this particular card for as long as I can remember, I still can't get used to seeing Ozzie Guillen in a Braves uniform.

Honorable Mentions:

Jose Hernandez (1998 Atlanta Braves, 48 games, half-year stint)
Jack Wilson (2011-12 Atlanta Braves, 57 games, sunset season in '12)



Third Base

1988 Topps #574 Graig Nettles

Braves Accolades:

Graig Nettles (1987 Atlanta Braves, 112 games)

This is the very last Topps card of Graig Nettles.

One of the more gaping oversights in hobby history was the flat-out refusal of any company to give Nettles a true "sunset" issue. That is, any company except Score

Although he'd play in 80 games for the 1988 Expos, the Topps career of Graig Nettles ended in Atlanta.

At 43 years old at the time, he was basically a role player for the 1987 Braves. He racked up just 201 plate appearances in his 112 games for the franchise, hitting .209 with five homers in the process.

While 1988 Topps is a perfectly fine set, it shouldn't have been the last appearance of Graig Nettles in a Topps checklist.

Honorable Mention:

Ray Boone (1959-60 Milwaukee Braves, 20 games)



Outfielders

2009 Topps Update "Legends of the Game Gold" #LLG-23 Babe Ruth 

Braves Accolades:

Babe Ruth (1935 Boston Braves, 28 games, sunset season)

Here it is.

Quite possibly the ultimate "Short Term Stops" stint ever.

Of course, George Herman Ruth was arguably the greatest player in the history of baseball. He changed the way the game was played, demolishing the competition in the process.

By the time 1935 rolled around, though, the Babe's better years were long gone. After refusing to grant Ruth his lifelong dream of managing a ballclub, the Yankees released him.

The struggling Braves quickly snatched him up, giving "The Great Bambino" a hybrid-like role with the club. He played outfield, served as assistant manager, and was named vice president of the franchise.

Ruth had almost nothing left in the tank, hitting a paltry .181 with six homers in his 28 game with the Braves.

However, he showed a flash of brilliance in one of his final games, smashing three homers in a contest against the Pirates. One of those homers was the first and only ball to ever clear the roof of Forbes Field.

I paid a whole two bucks for the "Legends of the Game" insert you see above. I rarely pay more than a dollar for anything non-vintage these days, which should tell you just how awesome I think this card is.

You're not likely to find a better "Short Term Stops" candidate.



 1998 Topps #175 Kenny Lofton

Braves Accolades:

Kenny Lofton (1997 Atlanta Braves, 122 games)

Mr. Lofton joins Denny McLain as our second multiple "Short Term Stops" nominee.

If you'll remember, Lofton also made the Astros' roster, having played briefly for Houston during his rookie year.

By the time 1997 rolled around, he was a bonafide superstar. He led the American League in stolen bases every year from 1992 to '96.

In a move that I'm sure was a shocker back in the day, the Indians dealt him to the Braves in March of '97 for Marquis Grissom and David Justice. Atlanta would be the third of eleven franchises for which Lofton would play during his long career.

While still the team high, Lofton's 27 stolen bases were a far cry from the 75 he'd had the year prior. He did, however, hit .333 (with a .409 OBP) during his lone year in Atlanta.

But, in what would become his second of three stints with the Indians, Lofton returned to Cleveland via free agency the very next season.

While it's still not one of my favorite Topps sets, 1998 Flagship saw the speedster in a creative base-themed pose.

If the design wasn't so hideous, I'd like that set a lot more.



2009 Topps 206 #233 Garret Anderson

Braves Accolades:

Garret Anderson (2009 Atlanta Braves, 135 games)

Garret Anderson is an Angel.

No questions asked.

Though he could've well been a career Angel, Anderson spent his final two big league seasons toiling in mediocrity.

He hit .268 with 13 dingers in 135 games for the '09 Braves, his first season away from Anaheim. Anderson would spend the final year of his illustrious career with the 2010 Dodgers. But more on that in a future "Short Term Stops" post, I'm sure.

Although it's only been about four years since his stint in Atlanta, I constantly have to remind myself that Garret Anderson was actually a Brave at one point.

It just never seemed like a good fit.

Honorable Mentions:

Jimmy Wynn (1976 Atlanta Braves, 148 games)
Jermaine Dye (1996 Atlanta Braves, 98 games)
Rick Ankiel (2010 Atlanta Braves, 47 games, half-year stint)

Thanks for tuning in for another edition of "Short Term Stops".

2 comments:

John Miller said...

That Lofton (you sent me one), and is one that I have in the December favorite pile, LOL. Absolutely love that Ruth card too!

Michael Chase said...

Wow, there are so many squares in the Lofton that I've never noticed before! Another one for the rader : )