ATLANTA -- As the Braves won 14 consecutive division titles, captured five National League pennants and won a World Series from 1991-2005, they enjoyed the greatest era within the franchise’s long history.
Here’s a look at which teams from that era rank among the best:
1) 1998, 106-56
This team had the most prolific offense and one of the best pitching staffs the Braves employed during the epic 1990s. But thanks to a six-game loss to the Padres in the National League Championship Series, this club didn’t win one of the five pennants captured by the franchise during the decade. Andres Galarraga hit a team-leading 44 home runs and Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones and Javy Lopez each hit 30-plus homers. Greg Maddux produced a MLB-best 2.22 ERA and Tom Glavine captured his second NL Cy Young Award. This team had everything, except for a fitting October conclusion.
2) 1993, 104-58
Other than the 1914 Miracle Braves, no team in franchise history had a better second half than this one. The late July acquisition of Fred McGriff sparked a 51-17 finish that enabled Atlanta to pass the Giants on the regular season’s final day and claim a third straight NL West crown. Maddux won a Cy Young Award during his first season with Atlanta and the MVP balloting resulted in a top five finish for David Justice, Ron Gant and McGriff. The team’s bid for a third straight NL pennant faded as it seemed to run out of steam while losing to the Phillies in the NLCS.
3) 1995, 90-54
This certainly wasn’t the best offense the Braves possessed during the 1990s and it wasn’t their most dominant pitching staff. But this bunch produced a 101-win pace and provided Atlanta its first World Series title during the strike-shortened season. Chipper Jones’ stellar rookie season was highlighted by many walk-off wins and Maddux secured his fourth consecutive Cy Young Award. The emergences of power hitter Ryan Klesko and closer Mark Wohlers helped set the stage for David Justice to preserve Tom Glavine’s season-ending masterpiece with a decisive solo homer.
4) 1957, 95-59
Via a midseason trade, the Braves acquired Red Schoendienst and gained the final piece they needed to secure a World Series championship in what was just their fifth season in Milwaukee. Schoendienst added to the firepower within a lineup that included fellow Hall of Famers Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews. Aaron hit 44 homers on his way to being named NL MVP and Warren Spahn notched 21 wins to earn the Cy Young Award. Incredibly, this marked the only year either of these legends won these top awards. Lew Burdette notched three complete game wins, including a pair of shutouts in Games 5 and 7 to give the Braves a World Series win over the Yankees.
5) 2003, 101-61
This club possessed one of the franchise's most powerful lineups. Lopez hit a team-leading 43 homers and both Gary Sheffield and Andruw Jones also flirted with the 40-homer mark. The pitching staff wasn’t nearly as strong as those the franchise featured throughout the 1990s. But Maddux proved effective in his final season with Atlanta and Russ Ortiz became a 20-game winner with the help of John Smoltz, who notched 40-plus saves for a second straight year. Thoughts of this club advancing to the World Series evaporated as the Cubs’ Kerry Wood and Mark Prior shut down Atlanta’s bats in the NLDS.