No one likes to be stumped on a knowledge question, especially when it comes to your favorite sports team. While this may test your inner brain, it will hopefully help you in useless information when talking with friends.
I’m not trying to stump anybody…it’s the beauty of the language that I’m interested in.
– Buddy Holly
The back of Atlanta Braves’ third basemen, Chris Johnson, shows the number 23 – and ironically that’s how many days we are away from the 2014 OPENING DAY!!
So with opening day on the horizon, many have thought of the Braves opening day lineup and who will be the opening day starting pitcher. If things don’t go terribly south in the final weeks of Spring Training, I think we know the players that will be in the lineup on opening day (the order is a different story). Also, with the offseason “surgery” to Mike Minor, we can probably foresee who will be on the hill for the Braves.
That got me thinking about players throughout history for the Braves and how many we’ve had at the nine different positions.
Some historical facts/hints before I ask the trivia question of the day.
- Hank Aaron held the rightfield position for 16 seasons BUT they weren’t consecutive. In 1958, the Braves started Bob Hazle in RF while Aaron moved over to centerfield…Hazle didn’t last long with the Milwaukee Braves, on May 24, 1958 his contract was purchased by the Detroit Tigers. In 1962, the Braves again moved Aaron to centerfield and played Mack Jones in RF. And then again in 1965, when Felipe Alou started in RF and Aaron started at first base.
- From 1952 to 1966 – 15 seasons – Eddie Mathews secured the third base spot
- Del Crandall was the Braves catcher for 10 seasons
- Andruw Jones ran around in the outfield at the centerfield spot from 1998 to 2007. 10 consecutive seasons in the spot, Jones has the longest tenure at this position.
- In 1950, Warren Spahn received the prestigious honor of starting opening day. Then again in 1952, 1955 and from 1957 to 1962 and his last in 1964. Spahn has the most opening day starts from the Braves at the pitcher position with 10.
With that little history class, I present to you my question for the weekend….
SPOILER ALERT, ANSWER BELOW
The position with the most turnover through the years has been the leftfield spot. The Braves have used 68 different players at this spot. From 1950 to 1953 Sid Gordon held the leftfield spot for a whopping four years. Ralph Garr and Ryan Klesko also sustained this position for four seasons.
Four years is the shortest period of time for any position the Braves have had, the second highest turnover rate is first base with 52 players. Joe Adcock was at the Braves opening day first baseman from 1953 – 1957 and 1960 – 1962.
The least amount of players in one position is shortstop with 38 players. Rabbit Maranville and Johnny Logan each with nine seasons were the longest tenured Braves at short. Hopefully with the recent large contract of Andrelton Simmons, we may see a surge for this spot.