Braves: Nick Markakis’ best moments in Atlanta

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A man of very few words, outfielder Nick Markakis — or better known in Atlanta as “Kakes” — has played his final game with the Braves as the 37-year-old announced his retirement from baseball on Friday, ending an MLB career that spanned 15 seasons and featured 2,388 hits.

A three-time Gold Glove winner, an All-Star, and a career .288 hitter, Markakis might’ve been the last of his kind — the type to “play the right way,” as they say. Perhaps his level of play was declining on the field during his Braves days, but there’s no doubt his presence in Atlanta’s clubhouse was still very much top-notch.

Our own Chase Irle has already written a farewell to him, although today I’ve decided to highlight Markakis’ best moments as a Brave. 


March 29, 2018

Opening Day of the 2018 regular season, the Braves and Phillies were matched up at Suntrust Park — now Truist Park — with over 40,000 fans. Following a starting pitcher duel between the Philly’s Aaron Nola and Atlanta’s Julio Teheran, both teams began deploying their bullpens, going through a combined ten relievers by the final inning. 

With the score tied at five apiece and runners on first and second in the bottom of the 9th, Markakis came to the plate to face the Phillies Hector Neris. Markakis was all over the 1-1 pitch…



February 2020

Following the reports of the Astros cheating scandal, numerous people all over MLB voiced their thoughts regarding the news. Perhaps no one’s opinion was as noteworthy as Markakis’…


He doesn’t say much, but every word Markakis said in that interview was absolutely true. 


April 4, 2019

Perhaps his best overall game as Brave in the six seasons he spent in Atlanta, in an April 4 game two years ago, Markakis went a perfect 5 for 5 performance versus the Cubs, featuring three doubles and five RBI. 


This particular game was also Max Fried’s first start of the 2019 campaign, an outing in which he threw six scoreless innings, allowed just one hit, and struck out five for the win. 

But three doubles from Kakes?! Wow.

Markakis had (just) one five-hit game as a Brave; however, he managed six four-hit games.


First-half of 2018 season

Whether it was his lack of flashiness or quiet nature, somehow Markakis only played in one All-Star game during his 15-year career, though luckily it was during his time in Atlanta, coming in 2018. 


Kakes was a no-doubt star that season, posting 2.5 fWAR in 94 games leading up to the 2018 All-Star game, with a team-high .323 AVG and 10 home runs. His 133 wRC+ at that point was bested by only first baseman Freddie Freeman. Through the first half of 2018, Markakis was on pace to put up one of the best seasons of his career, right on track with the 6.1-WAR campaign he posted back in 2008 while with the Orioles. 

Although, as we know, that didn’t happen. Kakes cooled off dramatically during the second half of 2018, and by season’s end, he had added just 0.1 WAR to his total, though still ending the year with a .297 AVG, 14 homers, 93 RBI, and a 114 wRC+ in a full-162 game season. 


August 6, 2020

If you recall, last year Markakis missed the first few weeks of the 2020 season because he initially had decided to sit out due to COVID. The veteran outfielder didn’t debut until August 5 — a pinch-hit appearance late in the Braves 13th game against the Blue Jays. 

However, it didn’t take Kakes long to make an impact…

In Markakis’ second game the following night, after starting the contest 0 for 3 with a strikeout, he was due up in the bottom of the 9th with Atlanta and Toronto tied at three. Facing Wilmer Font with no one on base, Kakes won the game with one swing of the bat against a pretty impressive curveball…


That’s the type of professional Markakis was. He could just show up to the ballpark and hit. And that walk-off homer started a bit of a hot streak for Kakes. From that game forward, Markakis raked at the plate during August, slashing .375/.435/.607 with 11 XBH over a 17-game period, six of which featured multi-hit performances. Even at 36-years-old, Markakis had spurts of greatness last season. 

There were, of course, many more moments worthy of this list. Over the course of his 789 games as a Brave, Markakis seemed always to find a way to contribute positively. Even when he was scuffling at the plate, he never seemed to let it impact his play on defense. And no matter what, Markakis was always a leader in Atlanta’s clubhouse… even if he wasn’t always the most outspoken.

The man will certainly be missed. 

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