Best F’s in Franchise History

Best F’s in Franchise History

Our Team “E” squad was an awful one to write about. Team F, though, has some fun names – including a few current Braves. In fact, Team F carries a heavy-Atlanta flavor as Boston and Milwaukee are not represented all that well by this squad. There are some weak points – especially the outfield – but there are some real strengths as well. As always, at the end, we’ll match Team F up against our champion. Team B held off a big challenge from Team C, but has coasted in back-to-back games. Will this team finally unseat them?

As this series typically goes, we’ll start with our lineup and follow that up by going position-by-position.

Lineup

Here’s your position-by-position breakdown.

Catcher – Tyler Flowers

It should be a sign of the available competition when Flowers, who has just 192 games with the Braves, is the runaway choice for catcher. His competition? Jorge Fabregas and David Freitas. Fortunately, Flowers would have been at worst, a fun candidate, after hitting .276/.370/.432 with 20 homers in nearly 750 PA. Of course, what makes that production level so amazing is that Flowers was signed for his framing skills, not his offense. That was a good bet considering he hit .223/.289/.376 over parts of seven years with the Chicago White Sox. Guess the former 27th-round draft choice by the Braves in ’04 was just meant to be a Brave.

First Base – Dos Francos

We get our first platoon of the series. Back in 2002, these two combined to hit .283/.349/.419 with 18 home runs. Sure, in a huge offensive environment of that era, that kind of production from first base wasn’t significant. But for the Braves, who needed complimentary numbers at the very least from first base, it was a nice boost to the team. From the left side, Matt Franco had a .912 OPS over 233 PA while Julio Franco, in his first full season with the Braves, hit .284/.357/.382. Another option to consider is Robert Fick, who joined the team in 2003. Elbie Fletcher spent parts of six years with the franchise in the 30’s and 40’s. Jack Fournier finished up his 15-year career with one productive season for a 94-loss Boston squad in 1927.

Second Base – Hod Ford

You might be thinking – what kind of name is Hod? His full name was Horace Hill Ford. He broke in the majors in 1919 for a cup of coffee before becoming a regular player for Boston over the next four seasons. He’d return briefly in 1932-33 to close out his career, hitting .267/.318/.356 in just over 2,000 PA with the franchise. While no world-beater, Ford outclasses other options such as Kerby Farrell and Ed Fitzpatrick.

Shortstop – Rafael Furcal

Though he was, at times, infuriating and he later earned scorn for how he and his agent treated the Braves during a free agent period, Furcal was definitely productive in his six years with the franchise. He was once an All-Star and hit .284/.348/.409 while with the franchise. Three times, he posted a 3-fWAR or better season. His arm remained the best many Braves fans had seen from shortstop until Andrelton Simmons arrived. Certainly a better option than Pepe Frias and Leo Foster.

Freddie Freeman swinging a bat.
Freddie Freeman | Doug Anderson (dougandme) via Flickr
Third Base – Freddie Freeman

I mean…do I need to point out why? He still remains one of baseball’s most underrated superstars despite a .307/.406/.575 mark since the beginning of the 2016 season. And yeah, I know I’m cheating by putting Freeman at third base. For all of you Ryan Flaherty, Juan Francisco, and Nanny Fernandez fans, I’m sorry.

Left Field – Tito Francona

Acquired in 1967, Francona played parts of three seasons with the Braves. He hit .273/.350/.350 with the franchise and while the power is low, Francona’s ability to get on base makes him an easy pick here. And, yeah, that’s partly related to how poor the options are. Buck Freeman hit .301/.355/.452, but only played one year with the team in 1900 before jumping to the Red Sox.

Center Field – Gus Felix

By sheer lack of options, Felix makes the squad as a center fielder. His career was short – just five years – and mostly forgettable. He arrived in the majors in 1923 as a 28-year-old rookie for Boston. He hit .273 that year with a career-high six home runs. Injuries would limit him to just 59 games the following year, but he bounced back in 1925 for his best season. He slashed .307/.356/.405 with 25 doubles. That fall, Boston traded him to Brooklyn in a six-person deal and he played two seasons with the Robins, hitting just about the same as he had in Boston.

Right Field – Jeff Francoeur

While he never really became “The Natural,” Francoeur is a good fit on this squad. Over parts of six seasons, including 99 games in his final year, Francoeur hit .265/.307/.420 with the Braves. He bashed 85 home runs. While those marks aren’t nearly as gaudy as people expected out of him, Francoeur had his moments with the Braves. He now works for the team, doing analyst work both on pre-and-post game reports and the occasional radio when the Braves are on the road and Don Sutton takes time off.

Starting Pitcher – Lou Fette

I am a little surprised the options are so miserable here. You could go with Dana Fillingim, who threw 1028.1 innings for Boston. Or Hank Fischer, who primarily pitched during the team’s final years in Milwaukee. Or even Fred Frankhouse. He spent most of the 30’s with Boston. Mike Foltynewicz and Max Fried may eventually replace my choice of Fette, but for now, I’m rolling with the righty out of Alma, Missouri.

Fette was a 30-year-old rookie in 1937 when he led the NL in shutouts with five. His career is essentially just three years due to injuries, but before those injuries hit, he was an excellent pitcher in the NL. He was also an All-Star in 1939 and finished his Braves career with a 3.17 ERA in 688 innings. That included a brief comeback in 1945 after being brought back due to many players doing their part for the war effort.

Closer – Terry Forster

Oh, you could go with Kyle Farnsworth here if you wanted to. Forster, however, did have a 2.29 ERA over 165.1 innings during his three seasons with the Braves. He also finished with more saves with the franchise than Farnsworth. Finally, he didn’t give up a Grand Slam to Lance Berkman and a solo homer to Brad Ausmus in Game 4 of the 2005 NLDS. That alone makes Forster the better choice.

Manager and Owner – Judge Emil Fuchs

Born in Germany, Fuchs came to America as a child and by 24, he was Deputy Attorney General for New York. Later on, he became the attorney for the Giants under John McGraw and bought the Boston Braves with Christy Mathewson in 1922. He would be the principal owner until 1935. For a time, he even managed the club and later convinced Babe Ruth to come to the Braves as player, vice-president, and assistant manager. He even hinted that Ruth could become a manager one day. That was a lie and Ruth later retired and left the organization. Soon after, Fuchs sold his shares to his minority partner, Charles Adams.

Best Team by Letter: Team B vs. Team F

With Freeman in the fold, Team F has a superstar to rely on. The problem comes down to pitching. Team B will go to Lew Burdette in this game. While Burdette isn’t a Hall of Famer, he was a solid pitcher. Team F counters with Lou Fette, who might have fits navigating through the Jeff Blauser/Wally Berger/Dusty Baker-led squad. Yet again, Team B will advance.

Agree or disagree? Let me know below.

2 Comments

Tommy….Great win by The Braves tonight! 8-1 beatdown of The Marlins….Newcomb goes 6 innings (as I stated previously, our Rotation should be named ‘The 6 inning guys’, lol)….Carle (7 pitches) and Winkler (12 pitches) didnt extend themselves….with Biddle getting much needed outs in the 9th inning!

Hopefully our offense will get to Chen early tomorrow…giving our good bullpen guys a day off (best case scenario…Teheran goes 6-7 shutdown innings…Moylan pitches an inning…Biddle comes back out and pitches an inning or two).

Assuming The Braves take care of business tomorrow against The Fish…we’ll either have a half game lead OR 1 1/2 game lead when we go into Philly for another CRUCIAL 3 game series starting on Monday! I know, most people HATE saying that these are ‘must win games’….however I feel that as long as we get AT LEAST one win this series…The Braves will be FINE!

Sure, I’d love to see our guys win 2 or even SWEEP The Phillies…however, I recognize that it’s tough to win in Philly (and they have 3 good pitchers pitching in Pivetta, Velesquez and Arrieta lined up to pitch…while we have Folty, McCarthy and probably Gohara set to start for us). We’ve taken 6 of the 1st 9 games against Philly this season…so they’ll be raring to get as many of these 3 games as they can. Their crowd will be hella hyped as well.

If both The Braves and Phillies win tomorrow OR if The Phillies win and we lose tomorrow…then whoever wins the upcoming series in Philly…will be in 1st place going into Thursday. However if we win tomorrow and they lose tomorrow…then the only way we’d leave town out of 1st place..is if we get swept.

I’ve been maintaining all year…AVOID getting swept (we’ve done that…EXCEPT against The Giants). I’m ok with losing 2 of 3 on occasion! It happens….just dont lose all three in Philly!

Tommy….regardless of how the rest of The 2018 Season plays out…I REALLY LIKE this Braves team! These guys…play with heart/passion/love ‘going for it’ (whether it is the extra base or trying to make a great play on a catch or hitting the 1st pitch IF it is a good pitch to drive).

Sure, there are times where an apparent ‘silly base running error’ OR overrunning a ball that bounces off the wall OR making 3 outs in an inning while the opposing pitcher only threw 5 pitches….brings about some frustration.

Regardless….I’m ok with all of it! A 27-17 record to open The 2018 Season…is LIGHT YEARS better than I thought we’d be (even though I predicted 86 wins back when you guys posted your predictions..I thought we’d ‘hang around .500’…until after AA opened up roster spots for Soroka, Allard, Wright..and Riley. I felt that the youth infusion..to go along with Albies and Acuna already being on the Big Club…would lift The Braves record up ‘considerably’ in the last 2 months of the season).

When Washington gets Daniel Murphy, Anthony Rondon and Adam Eaton back…they will be primed to go ‘on a roll’! Also, they will NO DOUBT be SERIOUS PLAYERS at The July Trade Deadline.

However, I feel that Philly is positioned to ALSO be SERIOUS PLAYERS at The July Trade Deadline. They have a really good, solid ball club. In a lot of ways, they mirror The Braves (lots of youth who are making significant contributions). They have the money and prospects to GO AFTER a couple of upgrades this summer via The Trade Deadline.

I say…let them! Let Philly and Washington sacrifice the prospects chasing The Division Title/Wild Card spots!

The Braves future..IF we keep our prospects..is HELLA BRIGHT! I cannot wait to see how this team performs in September! By season’s end…AA will have a good idea..on what he needs to do VIA The 2018 Free Agent Offseason…to improve this team for 2019.

Sure, if we can make it into The Playoffs in 2018…great! However, only if AA STAYS PAT. I’ve made A SOLID ARGUMENT for AA to be a seller at The July Trade Deadline (trading McCarthy and possibly Teheran). I really feel that Soroka, Gohara and Kolby Allard (who had another solid start in AAA tonight. 7 innings…3 runs..0 walks…8 strikeouts. 2.02 ERA for the season so far) should be in The Braves Rotation by the end of June! That would mean that McCarthy and Teheran would have to go (sure, if Teheran somehow amps it up..meaning that he turns into ‘an ace’ within the next month..then of course I’d wait until The 2018 Offseason to trade him).

However, I feel that it is highly important..that Soroka, Gohara and Allard all get meaningful 2018 starts in Atlanta….in order to prepare all 3 to be effective members of The Braves Rotation in 2019 (to go along with Folty and Newcomb…whose slowly showing that he wants to be the next Braves Ace. I’d like to see him develop into a 7-8 inning pitcher 1st..before ‘anointing’ him our next ‘Ace’, lol).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *