59 thoughts on “Braves All-Time Team: Second Base”

  1. It’s gotta be Giles, especially now that his defensive skills have so vastly improved. There’s just no other comparison offensively. Plus, he’s my favorite player. How do I not vote for him?

    As an aside, I heard that the Red Sox picked up Remlinger.

  2. And I’m still getting popups all over the place, Mac. One of them locked up my computer. ???

  3. Survey Etiquette 101:

    You should put these names in alphabetical order to help foster an impartial sample.

  4. Jenny – are you using Firefox or IE? These pop-ups are persistent enough that I still get some every now and then. But it’s next to nothing. I won’t give you the whole “Microsoft is evil” business, but the Firefox browser just beats IE in every way.

  5. I doubt he’ll get many votes, but I gotta go with the original Cat (before, The Big Cat) Felix Millan. He has several things going for him. First, He was an original Atlanta Brave. For those of you who don’t know what its like to be ten years old and have a major league team show up in town, it’s about as good as it gets. Millan was the utility infielder the first couple of years before beating out Woody Woodward for the 2B job. He was smooth. Marcus will surely surpass him, but not yet. Loved Hubbard, too, but he was gritty where Millan was slick. Today, I’m going with slick. He won’t win, anyway, because nobody else remembers him, but I do. Thanks, Mac.

  6. I vote for Hubbard. He couldn’t hit (probably slightly below an average 2B) but by most accounts he played great defense. I can’t vote for Giles – with only one full season (on pace for another) he just hasn’t played enough yet.

  7. I voted for Giles, but I really enjoyed watching Hubbard back when I first started watching the Braves. He hung very tough on the double play, and used this tiny glove. Yeah, he had a horrible bat, but in those days, most middle infielders couldn’t hit much.

    One thing about Hubbard’s defensive ratings – the Braves pitchers were horrible back then, gave up tons of baserunners. That and the high grass meant the Braves always led the league in double plays, so that skews the defensive stats a bit.

  8. looking at the numbers and the longevity of his stand with the braves, i would have to go with bobby lowe. he had some pretty good seasons. i was amazed to look at bill sweeney’s stats and see 1hr and 100 rbi’s in the same year. oh, how much different the game is these days. just curious, has there ever been a person with 0hr’s and 100 rbi’s?

  9. Just voted for Hubbard. He was better offensively than folks think and a great defender. Ok so he wasn’t nearly as good as Giles but for awhile he was one of the few good players the Braves had during the bad old days.

  10. Lemke I think gets the nod as a defender over Hubbard, but it would be close. Lemke could also throw a mean kuckle ball. In fact, he went to the minors while with the Red Sox and pitched for a short time.

  11. I don’t think there’s any doubt that if Atlanta resigns Marcus and he remains healthy, he will be the best secondbaseman the Braves have had. But he hasn’t played long enough yet. I’ve always liked Hubbard and would vote for him. It’s kind of remarkable looking at the list how many similar types there are, Lemke; Hubbard; and Giles are all physically remarkably similar. Short, solid, scrappy, and good to have on your team.

  12. I’ve said this before, but several metrics have judged Glen Hubbard’s 1985 the best defensive season by a second baseman of all time. While I have no doubt that Marcus will catch him in career value if he continues to stay on the team, he’s still pretty well behind. Hubbard was about average on offense when adjusting for position and well-above average defensively for many years; Giles is only in his 3rd season as the full-time second baseman. So I voted for Hubbard.

  13. Aside from a slight edge in longevity, I’m not seeing much difference between Lemke and Hubbard. Assuming that Bill James is right and Lemke is one of the best defensive 2Bs ever, even Hubbard’s one apparently incredible season in the field doesn’t seem to be a huge difference maker. And I’m not sure that the offense at 2B was hugely better in the early-mid 90’s than it was in Hubbard’s day. This is not an easy one. Giles is clearly better than those guys, but he hasn’t been around long enough to be the best ever… and I guess we can’t be sure he will be.

  14. The mitigating factors in adjudging Hubbard’s 1985 the “best ever” defensive season have been noted here on a couple of occasions. He had an immense number of opportunities, and although he was a fine defensive player, I can’t give him credit for being the best ever simply because everyone hit the ball to him and Rafael Ramirez that season.

    I’m going to say Giles, based on a reasonable projection of what he’ll accomplish. Kind of like electing Shaq to the NBA Top 50 after 4 seasons — everyone knew he was going to end up there, so why not go ahead and admit it? Realizing full well this could touch off one of those testy “living document vs. intent-of-the-framer” arguments….

  15. I’m with creynolds, in that everything points to Marcus ending up the best, but he hasn’t been around long enough for us to give it to him yet. Maybe in even two years we could, but not yet. Nobody from the Old Days seems that much better than anyone else. Trying to choose between Hubbard and Lemmer. So much in me wants to give it to Lemke; something about you just believing that he would come through more than Hubbard if put in the same clutch– there’s that stupid word– situation. But I can’t quite do it. There’s just not enough there. Lemke had some gritty, memorable, well timed success at the plate; he rarely fell flat and seemed modest and likable. But the Hub’s career range factor difference, the fact that they’re not really all that different in the offensive numbers, that Hubbard’s yearly averages against the park adujusted league averages were closer consistently than were Lemke’s, swung me back. Back to my childhood, the Bruce Benedict blues, the Hub being in my head like the center of a wheel in the middle of the diamond, wheeling around and hanging in tough like any man with a beard would do while somebody ran toward him, back when the American League was just a bunch of strange teams from the faraway jungles of Cleveland, Canada and California who showed up twice a year and then disappeared again… too much. Voting Hubbard.

  16. I’m going with Hubbard based on the fact that he got some 900 more ABs than Lemke while being ever-so-slightly better overall offensively. I was tempted to give the Lemmer the nod for his postseason heroics, but those were atypical (even for him, as his overall PS numbers aren’t especially impressive) and there’s no reason to think that Hubbard couldn’t have done just the same given the opportunity. I’m willing to believe Lemke was better defensively, but that’s only because someone I trust says so… there’s just not enough evidence to give me a feel for the difference (at least none that I understand).

  17. OK, I’m guessing Marcus will top this list ONE DAY. But assuming the world ended tomorrow, I can’t in good faith vote for him. In a couple of seasons, sure. But not yet.

    That being said I’m going with the heart and voting for THE LEMMER! Just for his 1991 WS. How did he ever hit THREE triples? And didn’t he turn an unassisted double play to get out of a tough jam? I can’t remember if that was the same series or not. It doesn’t matter. For that one week, Mark Lemke was Rogers Hornsby.

  18. Cooch was good for his first couple of years with Boston, but after that was a pretty ordinary player, and after that a poor one. It would appear that the team dragged him out of retirement during the war shortages but he couldn’t play anymore. I don’t know how much to subtract for that.

  19. Marcus will get there someday, but right now my vote goes to Bobby Lowe for his days as a Beaneater.

  20. Voted for Hubbard, but it looks like Giles is going to win which is pretty silly. In a few years sure, but right now Hub’s got him beat hands down.

  21. Well, I held out right field, where anybody who wouldn’t vote for Aaron is insane, and third base, where Mathews first, Chipper second is, or should be, automatic. I may hold votes for second-best right fielder and third-best third baseman — there are at least three more third basemen who would rank ahead of any middle infielder. Center is the really interesting one.

  22. I vote for Hubbard, though I’ll never forget the day that my father took me to a game and walked me down to where Felix Millan was warming up, and we had a brief conversation with him in Spanish. Millan was patient and gracious with his time, and this encounter has left a lasting impression on me, as it would on any fan of the game, though perhaps more so because my father, a native of Perú, where béisbol is seldom played, didn’t know much about the game. In those days, it seemed like the only Latins in the stands were the same ones who attended Chiefs games.

  23. CF? Unless one has a significant timeline adjustment, Sliding Billy Hamilton wins in a landslide. Murph and Andruw battle it out with Orator Jim O’Rourke and Wally Berger for second.

  24. I voted for Dirt based on nostalgia, but should have voted Hubb based on numbers. Hubb had almost twice as many RBIs and Homers with only one extra season. Defense and BA were nearly identical anyway, with the exception of Hubbs one ridiculous season. Edge, numerically, goes to Hubb.

  25. p.s. Why is Mathews such an obvious choice over Chipper? I realize he is one of the all time greats in the sport, but Chipper has him whipped in B.A. and is approaching him in RBIs with seven seasons less. He could also put up HR numbers comparable by the end of his career, if he stays healthy.

  26. Maybe, but the battle is going to be between Murph and Andruw. Don’t forget Wally Berger, though. Orator Jim O’Rourke was the Braves’ CF at the birth of the NL.

  27. The 1948 NL champs had some players that,now with the current 14 year reign, are probably 3rd tier. Elliot and Holmes come to mind. But they had stellar years from their middle infielders Stanky and Dark. Maybe the best year offensively for Braves middle fielders. Unfortunately they were both traded. Some of the best single years for second basemen don’t make the list. Hornsby, Schoendienst, and Stanky.

  28. Paul, as much as I respect Chipper, unless he rebounds to his late nineties form it has to be Mathews. First, you have to realize that Mathews’ numbers include his decline phase.

    Second, Mathews spent most of his career playing his home games in a poor home run park. (How much so can be seen from Hank Aaron’s career splits; despite spending the second half of his career in the Launching Pad, the Hammer hit only a handful more homers at home for his career. Or Joe Adcock’s; he hit more homers in road games than Mel Ott.)

    Third, there’s a significant era adjustment. The average NL runs per game in the fifties was 4.46. From 1995-2004, the average runs per game was 4.69.

    Fourth, Mathews was a much better defensive player; not a gold glover, but a good glove man, with range factors well above the league.

  29. The “other” third basemen:

    Terry Pendleton
    Ken Oberkfell
    Bob Horner
    Darrell Evans (my man!)
    Clete Boyer
    Bob Elliott
    Tony Boeckel
    Red Smith
    Jimmy Collins
    Billy Nash
    Ezra Sutton

    In there you’ve got a Hall of Famer (Collins), another guy who should be in the Hall (Evans), two MVPs (Pendleton and Elliott). Even the guys you’ve never heard of were forces in their times. Plus Vinny, who doesn’t qualify.

  30. sansho, I was only 4 years old in 1985 so I’m certainly not one to state with much certainty on the quality of Hubbard’s defense. I’m just repeating what I’ve heard other people who are smarter than me allege.

    However, as I see it the only way to put up a truly incredible defensive season is to have lots of chances. I guess if most of them were hit directly at Hubbard in some incredible fluke (which is certainly possible), then you’re right, he was just lucky. Luck had a lot to do with it in any case. There are other reasons to suspect Hubbard was really an outstanding defensive player, though; along with that season (30 Bpro fielding runs above average), Hubbard had 5 more seasons of 10 or more runs above average, finishing his career 108 runs above average, 332 runs above replacement defensively. He gave half of those runs back on offense, but that still leaves you with 1200 games of an above-average 2b.

    I like the Shaq argument, but I’m not as confident as you that Marcus will reach Hubbard’s production while he’s still a Brave. He’ll have the better career, sure; I just hope most of it is with us :)

  31. Speaking of LF, that looks like a pretty good debate, with Rico Carty, Jeff Bouroughs, Ryan Klesko, Hugh Duffy, and Sid Gordon, and maybe some others I’ve missed.

  32. I counted Gant as a LF; he played slightly more games there than in center, plus he played left everywhere else. Hugh Duffy was more of a LF with Boston than a CF; they had Hamilton in center. I suppose Ralph Garr may still have his advocates as well. Lonnie Smith just missed the cut.

  33. I guess what I was trying (not very clearly) to say about Hubbard is that he put up a bunch of very good defensive seasons and one incredible one, according to the defensive stats available. Was he really a better defensive player in that one season than all the others? It doesn’t make much sense, which is why I chalk it up to opportunity. I can say that he was indeeed great to watch on the double play — sometimes it seemed like Raffy’s throws just bounced off his chest and went straight to first.

  34. Mac, thinking about Darrell Evans, are you going to do a multi-position entry for guys like him and…ummm…errr…maybe it’s not a great idea after all….

  35. There are a few. I’ve mentioned Felipe Alou, who played a lot of first base. And Chipper, of course. But Evans was mostly a third baseman with the Braves, except for his 42-year-old-has-been season.

  36. Ahh, okay, that makes more sense. I guess I think it’s still possible to have a truly “great” defensive season that stands head and shoulders above the rest of one’s career, just as it’s easily possible for Brady Anderson to hit 50 bombs (even if he was roided up) or Esteban Loaiza (however the hell you spell that) to put up a sub-3.00 ERA with 200+ strikeouts. Those seasons aren’t indicative of true talent, but they happened, and their teams benefitted from that production (even if it wasn’t reproducible).

  37. Sweeney’s big year must have been some sort of fluke, though I’ve never heard if there was a cause. Think Sweeney had a baseball age there? Peaked at 26, out of the game at 28. Well, out of the majors, I assume he played in the minors after that.

    Kyle, the question is if that is a fluke big year where Hubbard really produced something, or a fluke big year where he played the same as always but put up big stats because of the context. Is it like Brady Anderson hitting 50 HR, or like a 115 RBI guy getting 150 RBI one year because he’s hitting behind a guy with a .450 OBP?

  38. Where’s Keith Lockhart???

    Okay, that was largely a joke, but I agree with those who say Marcus will likely be it one day, but not yet. Coming into this season he had only 350 games played at 2B – less than Keith Lockhart had during his tenure as a Brave. He’s so far only completed one season of full-time play at 2B, the others marred by injury or his being too young to be a full timer.

    I think lemmer is underrated with respect to fielding overall. But I’m trying to figure out right now if I want to just vote for Bobby Lowe, who I think was also supposed to be s stellar fielder.

  39. Mac, that’s a good point. What I was trying to point out to sansho (and I’m sure he already knew) was that the presence of a season out of line with “established” production of any skill doesn’t necessarily indicate incredible context. Sure, maybe all those balls were hit right at Glenn that year, but it’s also possible that for whatever reason he was seeing the ball off the bat so well that he got to 15 more base hits and turned five more double plays over the course of that season than he did in previous years. It’s not something that can be proved conclusively either way (at least to my satisfaction).

    The simplest and hence most likely solution is that he got lucky. But maybe he was also really, really good. I’ll keep on thinking the latter, because I’m stubborn :)

  40. Poor old Skates. My man has been railroaded, I tell ya!

    I’m definately doing a write-in for Lonnie. He was the bridge from the bad Braves to the good Braves in my mind.

  41. Strange. Looks in the comments as if Hubbard or someone should be running away with this one, yet Marcus has a sizeable lead. Guess some people just aren’t commenting.

  42. I have to give Marcus a lot of credit for what he endured his 2nd year. This is from memory so I have may have some of this wrong but it went something like this. (1)Married (2) bad case of hemorrhoids after honeymoon (3) birth of baby (4) hurt ankle badly (5) baby died

  43. After the first two votes I don’t see much point in this. The most current brave is going to win regardless of the facts.

  44. had to go with lemke. he and john paxson are 2 of my favorite all-time athletes. I wish they made a starting lineup action figure of him I could put with my paxson, rik smits, & don majkowski ones.

  45. Mark Lemke. Giles hasn’t done enough yet and Lemke will always be remembered for his postseason exploits…

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