As the dust settles around the Matt Olson trade, Braves Country is coming to terms with Freddie Freeman leaving Atlanta for the first time in his career. After being drafted 78th overall at 17-years-old, Freeman spent more than a decade in a Braves uniform, inking a massive eight-year deal just before his 24th birthday and three years before his contract expired.
Since then, Freeman won an MVP and helped the Braves win their first World Series since 1995. As fans who’ve grown up with Freeman cope with losing their childhood hero, the celebration of his career in Atlanta begins. He’ll go down as one of the greatest Braves of all time, and at least one of his former teammates believes the organization should retire #5.
Dansby Swanson on what Freddie Freeman meant to the #Braves: “Easiest thing to say is, number 5 should never be worn again.”
— David O'Brien (@DOBrienATL) March 15, 2022
Dale Murphy hit 36 home runs and won the 1982 MVP, then did it all over again the following season — back-to-back 36 homerun seasons ending in MVP honors. Andruw Jones became the first player to reach 300 home runs before his 30th birthday and did it when he was 28. Tom Glavine‘s circle-change revolutionized pitching and applied the adage “drive for show, putt for dough” to pitching. During a 66-game stretch, Greg Maddux allowed two earned runs or less in 58 of them, while John Smoltz rounded out that Hall-of-Fame rotation for the Braves.
Chipper Jones is a fan favorite, but it wasn’t just because of his personality. He hit 13 homers with 47 RBIs and batted .287 in 93 postseason games. Phil Niekro‘s famous knuckler was infamous among major-league batters. Eddie Matthews’ swing was one of the prettiest in the sport’s history. Warren Spahn won an eye-popping 255 games after his 30th birthday and 75 games in his 40s.
Then, there’s Hank Aaron, who, by many, is considered the single greatest baseball player ever, averaging 37 homers per season in nine years with the Braves.
He might not be Hammerin’ Hank, but Freddie Freeman is in the same conversation as these Braves’ greats; Dansby has a case for retiring Freeman’s #5. It should never be worn by an Atlanta Brave again.
You must log in to post a comment.