Best Braves player to wear each uni number

December 28th, 2020

ATLANTA -- Did you know that Freddie Freeman is wearing Hank Aaron’s first number and that Brian McCann wore the number first assigned to both Chipper Jones and Warren Spahn?

These are just a couple of facts found while attempting to determine which Braves player was the best to wear each number.

Form your own opinions and create some friendly debate after reviewing this list.

1 -- Rafael Furcal
We’ll recognize Furcal for now, with the understanding this spot will soon belong to Ozzie Albies.

2 -- Rafael Belliard
After serving as Atlanta’s starting shortstop in 1991 and ’92, the light-hitting Belliard was primarily a backup. But the defense he provided in place of an injured Jeff Blauser during the '95 World Series was enough to warrant him this spot.

3 -- Dale Murphy
Long before Murphy became an icon wearing this number it belonged to Babe Ruth, who played the last 28 games of his career for the 1935 Braves. Ruth wasn’t the only former Yankees legend to wear No. 3 for the Braves. Billy Martin wore it during a six-game stint with the club in '61.

4 -- Jeff Blauser
Blauser provided the greatest value while serving as the Braves’ starting shortstop throughout most of the 1990s. But the best player to ever wear No. 4 for the organization was Red Schoendienst, who was acquired from the Cardinals midway through the Braves’ '57 World Series-winning season. Unfortunately, the Hall of Famer developed tuberculosis the following year and was never the same.

5 -- Freddie Freeman
Even before winning the 2020 National League MVP Award, Freeman may have already secured his place as the best Braves player to ever wear this number. But Ron Gant, who had consecutive 30-30 seasons, and Bob Horner also created some good memories for Braves fans while wearing this number. And if you want good trivia, see if your friends know Hank Aaron wore No. 5 during his 1954 rookie season.

6 -- Bobby Cox
Before Cox wore this number while constructing his Hall of Fame managerial career, it was worn by a couple guys who would also become World Series-winning managers. Davey Johnson wore No. 6 for the Braves from 1973-75 and Tony La Russa had this number while playing nine games for Atlanta in '71.

7 -- Dansby Swanson
Strong consideration was given to Jeff Francoeur and Jeff Burroughs. But through his first four full seasons, Swanson has already produced a higher bWAR than both of those guys did during their days with the Braves.

8 -- Javy Lopez
The popular catcher helped the Braves reach the World Series three times and ended his 12-season stint with Atlanta by hitting 43 homers in 2003. David Ross wore No. 8 before he was on Dancing With the Stars and Bob Uecker wore this jersey long before he became a beloved broadcaster and beer pitchman.

9 -- Terry Pendleton
Pendleton became one of the most influential figures in Braves history when he came to Atlanta and earned the NL MVP Award during the worst-to-first 1991 season. After he spent four seasons in Atlanta, the jersey was given to Marquis Grissom, who had the honor of catching the final out of the '95 World Series for his hometown team. But while these might be the most recognizable guys to wear No. 9, the most productive might have been Joe Adcock, who hit 239 homers for the Braves from '53-62.

10 -- Chipper Jones
As Jones constructed his Hall of Fame career, he became the last Brave to ever wear No. 10. What’s interesting is, the two guys who wore this jersey immediately before him were Gregg Olson the pitcher (1994) and Greg Olson the catcher ('90-93).

11 -- Gary Sheffield
Darrell Evans had a tremendous 41-homer season in 1973 and Ender Inciarte won three Gold Glove Awards while wearing this jersey. But the best player to ever wear No. 11 for the Braves was Sheffield, who produced a 151 OPS+ during his two-season stint (2002-03) with Atlanta.

12 -- Dusty Baker
Eddie Perez was the 1999 NL Championship Series MVP Award winner and Sid (Bream) slid wearing this number. But the best Braves player to wear No. 12 was Dusty Baker, who tallied 77 of his 242 career homers with Atlanta.

13 -- Ronald Acuña Jr.
If a greater number of Hall of Fame voters further appreciate Billy Wagner’s greatness and if Acuña lives up to expectations, there’s a chance the Braves’ No. 13 jersey will have been worn by two Hall of Famers.

14 -- Andres Galarraga
Braves fans loved Martín Prado and Julio Franco, who counted No. 14 as one of the three numbers he wore for the Braves. But the best player to wear this number for the Braves was Galarraga, who totaled 72 homers during his two cancer-free seasons with Atlanta.

15 -- Tim Hudson and Joe Torre
Hudson is already in the team Hall of Fame and Torre will likely soon draw this honor in recognition of his days as a valuable catcher and the manager of the memorable 1982 Atlanta club.

16 -- Brian McCann
McCann established himself as one of the game’s top catchers while wearing this number, which also happened to be the first one Jones was given when he debuted in 1993.

17 -- Felix Millan
Millan, who earned three straight All-Star selections (1969-71), and Glenn Hubbard had successful stints with the Braves. But the best story about Atlanta’s No. 17 is that it was once assigned to Andy Messersmith in an effort to promote former owner Ted Turner’s Channel 17, which eventually became TBS.

18 -- Ryan Klesko
Klesko’s 3:4 postseason-at-bats-per-home-run ratio is the second-best mark produced by any Braves player who has totaled at least five homers in the playoffs.

19 -- Andrelton Simmons
Adam LaRoche’s sweet swing was not nearly as memorable as the countless jaw-dropping defensive gems Simmons produced while becoming one of the most exciting defensive players in baseball history.

20 -- Mark Lemke
Had Marcell Ozuna or Josh Donaldson been around for more than just one season, there’d be no need to debate whether Lemke or Bruce Benedict should fill this spot. Lemke’s postseason success gives him the nod over Benedict, who should receive hazard credit for enduring all of the 1980s with the Braves.

21 -- Warren Spahn
Spahn wore this number for each of the 19 seasons he played for the Braves after serving in World War II. But when he debuted in 1942, he was given No. 16 which, as previously mentioned, also served as fellow Hall of Famer Jones’ first number.

22 -- Jason Heyward
Nick Markakis played a key role in what has been a successful rebuild, but from the time Heyward homered on the first swing of his career, he has been the most recognizable and successful Braves player to wear No. 22.

23 -- David Justice
After Ted Simmons ended his Hall of Fame career wearing this number, it was given to Justice, who won the 1990 NL Rookie of the Year Award, earned two All-Star selections and, of course, hit the most memorable October home run in Atlanta history.

24 -- Mark Teixeira
You might be more likely to see a Braves fan wearing No. 24 to honor Evan Gattis or Deion Sanders. But the best player to wear this jersey was Teixeira, who hit 37 homers while totaling 157 games over two seasons for Atlanta.

25 -- Andruw Jones
As you continue to look at the numbers, you have to wonder if the Braves will eventually honor Jones by retiring No. 25.

26 -- Gene Garber
Tom House was wearing this number when he caught Aaron’s 715th homer while in the bullpen beyond the left-field wall at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. But when Braves fans think of No. 26, they are most likely reminiscing about Garber, whose franchise-record 557 career relief appearances might never be broken.

27 -- Fred McGriff
McGriff earned an All-Star selection during each of his first three full seasons in Atlanta, and his acquisition midway through the 1993 season remains one of the most valuable trades in franchise history.

28 -- Mike Lum
Unless you're willing to go with Gerald Perry, to find a productive player who wore this number for the Braves you have to go all the way back to Lum, who was primarily a backup during his stints (1967-75 and '79-81) with Atlanta.

29 -- John Smoltz
Before Smoltz constructed his Hall of Fame career with this number, it was worn by Felipe Alou, who became the first batter in Atlanta Braves history long before he was a successful big league manager.

30 -- Orlando Cepeda
Two years after winning the 1967 NL MVP Award with the Cardinals, Cepeda began a four-season stint with the Braves, who won the NL West with his help in '69.

31 -- Greg Maddux
Maddux wasn’t the only Hall of Famer to wear this number for the Braves. It was also worn by Paul Waner, who spent time with the Braves in 1941 and ’42.

32 -- Ernie Johnson
Before he became a beloved broadcaster, Johnson was a valuable reliever for the Milwaukee Braves. But his salary was never comparable to those drawn by Derek Lowe and Mike Hampton, who wore No. 32 long after he did.

33 -- Steve Avery
Brian Jordan was a key cog in the Braves’ lineup, but the nod goes to Avery, who stole the attention of the baseball world as a baby-faced pitcher who made great postseason memories during the early 1990s.

34 -- Kevin Millwood
Speaking of postseason memories, Millwood’s one-hit shutout against the Astros in Game 2 of the 1999 NL Division Series remains one of the best playoff starts in franchise history. This jersey number was more recently worn by Eric O’Flaherty, who produced an incredible 0.98 ERA over 73 2/3 innings in 2011.

35 -- Phil Niekro
Nobody else has worn the Braves’ No. 35 since Niekro began his Hall of Fame career against the Giants on April 15, 1964. The number was retired on Aug. 6, 1984, but the knuckleballer was wearing it again on Sept. 27, 1987, when he returned to the Braves at 48 years old to make one last start.

36 -- Mike Minor
The Braves took Minor with the seventh overall selection in the 2009 MLB Draft. His most memorable start for Atlanta occurred when he outdueled the Dodgers’ Zack Greinke in Game 2 of the '13 NLDS.

37 -- Mike Remlinger
Remlinger enjoyed a tremendous four-season stint that culminated with him producing a 1.99 ERA over 68 innings for the Braves in 2002. But the greatest player to ever wear this number for the Braves was Lloyd Waner, whose tenure with the club consisted of just 19 games in 1941.

38 -- Ron Reed
Reed earned an All-Star selection in 1968, which marked the start of a seven-season stretch within which he posted a 3.74 ERA over 203 appearances (188 starts) for the Braves.

39 -- Jonny Venters
Multiple Tommy John surgeries derailed Venters’ career. But many who faced him from 2010-12 recognize him as one of the nastiest relievers they ever faced.

40 -- Bruce Sutter
Mike Soroka will likely soon be the right answer. But for now, we’ll go with the Hall of Fame closer even though he wasn’t Hall of Fame-caliber during his Braves tenure (1985-88).

41 -- Eddie Mathews
Aaron (eight) and Mathews (four) are the only players to ever tally more than two 40-homer seasons with the Braves.

42 -- Rick Mahler
Mahler made five Opening Day starts for the Braves during the 1980s. Spahn (10), Niekro (8), Maddux (7) and Julio Teheran (6) are the only pitchers in franchise history to start more season openers.

43 -- Mark Wohlers
Before control issues wrecked him in 1998, Wohlers was a reliable closer who experienced the thrill of recording the final out of the '95 World Series.

44 -- Hank Aaron
Aaron hit exactly 44 home runs in four seasons. No other player in baseball history has done so more than twice.

45 -- Terry Mulholland
Mulholland gets the nod just based on the valuable innings he threw down the stretch in 1999, when he was acquired to compensate for Odalis Perez needing Tommy John surgery.

46 -- Craig Kimbrel
Kimbrel struck out 42 percent of the batters he faced over five seasons with Atlanta.

47 -- Tom Glavine
Glavine tallied five 20-win seasons from 1991-2000. Maddux ('93), Smoltz ('96) and Denny Neagle ('97) accounted for the club’s only other three such seasons within this 10-year span.

48 -- Ralph Garr
Garr had three 200-hit seasons from 1971-74. Grissom ('96) and Inciarte (2017) have accounted for the only two such seasons produced by a Braves player since then.

49 -- Julio Teheran
Teheran never became an ace, but he made six consecutive Opening Day starts and provided valuable consistency for the majority of a decade.

50 -- Kent Mercker
Mercker has been part of the Braves’ two most recent no-hitters. He started a combined no-hitter against the Padres on Sept. 11, 1991, and finished the job himself against the Dodgers on April 8, 1994.

51 -- Pedro Borbon
Will Smith might soon fit this spot. But for now we’ll go with Borbon, whose perfect appearance to end Game 4 of the 1995 World Series gives him the nod over fellow lefties Mike Gonzalez and Terry Forster.

52 – John Thomson
Thomson’s 14-win season in 2004 was enough to trump Brad Clontz’s three-year stint (1995-97) in Atlanta’s bullpen.

53 -- Jim Johnson
While cursing the Hector Olivera trade that included Johnson being sent to the Dodgers, remember the Braves received a Draft pick that became Joey Wentz, who was sent to the Tigers for Shane Greene, who helped Atlanta secure NL East titles in 2019 and ’20.

54 -- Kris Medlen
Max Fried might soon fill this spot. But he has not yet provided as much value as Medlen, who posted a 2.46 ERA over 43 starts from 2012-13 and then, unfortunately, saw his career derailed when he had to undergo a second Tommy John surgery in '14.

55 -- Chris Martin
Martin’s tenure in the No. 55 jersey consists of the 1.00 ERA he produced over 20 appearances in 2020. But that’s enough to best the next-best candidate, Mark Grant, who was a Braves reliever before he became one of the game’s most entertaining broadcasters.

56 -- Darren O’Day
O’Day’s tenure with the Braves has been short. But the next best options are Oscar Villarreal and the 2008-09 version of Blaine Boyer.

57 -- Jorge Campillo
Campillo ranked second on the Braves with 158 2/3 innings in 2008. The rest of his big league career consisted of 22 innings spread over four seasons.

58 -- Peter Moylan
From pharmaceutical rep to big leaguer within a couple months, Moylan constructed one of the most improbable stories in baseball history and then continued to enrich it over 12 big league seasons.

59 -- Paul Assenmacher
Assenmacher wore this jersey over the first three years (1986-88) of a 14-season big league career that included 884 career appearances, all but one as a reliever.

60 -- Dallas Keuchel
Those three-plus months Keuchel spent in the Braves’ rotation in 2019 were enough to warrant giving him this spot instead of the '08 version of Gregor Blanco.

61 -- Liván Hernández
Fifteen years after taking advantage of Eric Gregg’s horizontally generous strike zone in Game 5 of the 1997 NL Championship Series, Hernández joined the Braves to make 18 appearances in 2012.

62 -- Touki Toussaint
Toussaint’s career has been filled with inconsistency thus far, but he has fared better than the four other guys who have worn this number for the Braves.

63 -- Lucas Harrell
The two months Harrell spent with the Braves in 2016 were productive enough for him to be shipped to the Rangers in exchange for Travis Demeritte, who was also included in the '19 trade that brought Greene to Atlanta.

64 -- Emilio Bonifacio
Bonifacio wore No. 1 when he was with the Braves in 2014. But he had to settle for No. 64 when he returned in '16 and '17.

65 -- Kyle Wright
Wright wore this number during his rough 2019 season. But he has still had more overall success than Patrick Weigel and Jorge Julio, who are the only other Braves to wear this number.

66 -- Matt Marksberry
Marksberry produced a 5.01 ERA while making 31 appearances with this jersey number in 2015. But the only other Braves player to wear this number was Bryse Wilson, who did so while producing a 7.20 ERA over six appearances in '19.

67 -- A.J. Minter
Minter wore this number while striking out 43.3 percent of the batters he faced during the first 16 appearances of his career near the end of the 2017 season.

68 -- Tyler Matzek
Matzek posted a 2.79 ERA and struck out 35.5 percent of the batters he faced while constructing a great comeback story and helping the Braves finish a win shy of the 2020 World Series.

70 -- TBD
The 2015 version of Dan Winkler, the '19 version of Alex Jackson and the '00 version of Ismael Villegas have accounted for the seven total games this number has been worn in Braves history.

71 -- Jacob Webb
Webb exited 2020 looking like he has the potential to be an effective reliever for many years to come.

72 -- Bryse Wilson
Wilson wore this number while making the first three appearances of his career in 2018. He tossed five scoreless innings against the Pirates in his MLB debut.

73 -- Huascar Ynoa
It’s still too early to know how effective Ynoa might be. But the only other choice is the 2018 version of Wright, who already drew a default spot at No. 65.

74 -- Blake Lalli
Lalli’s 10-game stint with Atlanta in 2016 accounts for the only time this number has been worn in franchise history.

75 -- Grant Dayton
Dayton is the only player in franchise history to wear this number.

77 -- Luke Jackson
Jackson began wearing this number in 2019, when he recorded a career-best 18 saves.

78 -- Blaine Boyer
Boyer wore No. 48 during his 2005 rookie season. His two appearances in '16 account for the only times No. 78 has been worn in franchise history.

96 -- Bill Voiselle
Voiselle is the only player in franchise history to wear No. 96, and he became the first Major Leaguer to wear this number when he first donned it for the Braves in 1947.