To beat the off-day blues, the TC staff put together our picks for our own Braves Mount Rushmore. Everyone had overlapping favorites, with a few differences here and there. Mine were the most personal picks, but that should surprise no one.
- Bobby Cox: Until Bobby's retirement, I'd never even seen another Braves manager. He was all I knew as I grew up a diehard fan, and nothing else made me happier than watching him passionately get thrown out of a game. He led Atlanta to an unprecedented streak of success, and his love for and faith in the ability of his players was evident throughout it.
- Skip Caray: Skip might've influenced me as a fan even more than Bobby. I'd fall asleep to his voice every night, and I've always wanted to be a sports broadcaster thanks to his tremendous skill. Seriously, nothing is funnier than his responses to people calling the pre-game show to ask about the infield fly, or the random hometowns he'd pick for fans catching foul balls. He, with Pete of course, put a funny and smart voice to go along with the Team of the 90s as Atlanta's popularity grew.
- Andruw Jones: My earliest baseball memory is cheering for Andruw on the Macon Braves when I was five years old. We had season tickets, so I saw him hit a home run his first at bat. He quickly moved up in the organization and showed how tremendously talented he was, and I loved following him. Watching him lay out for an insane diving catch was just spectacular. He showed me exactly why baseball is beautiful.
- Martín Prado: Anyone who has ever met/talked to/tweeted/seen me knows Marteen is my all time favorite Brave. I've always been one to have a favorite to focus on during his time in Atlanta (others being Furcal, Langerhans, etc), but Marteen meant even more than that to me. He is the embodiment of the word "precious," and having followed him closely for years now, I believe he's just as dedicated and kindhearted as his teammates say he is. I was able to get a ball he'd thrown me last year signed when the Diamondbacks came to town in June. I told him the day he was traded was genuinely the worst day of my life (no, he wasn't scared, I promise), and that's not even an exaggeration. I know we got the better end of the trade, but I'll miss him forever.
- Ted Turner: Personally, it would be hard not to include Ted Turner after thinking about all the great child memories I had watching the Braves every night while growing up in New York. Turner is one of the main reasons I'm a fan of the team today. The same can be said for half the TC staff and thousands across the country. Under his control, between his genius ideas with TBS and the franchises eventual success in the 90’s, the Braves became "America’s Team."
- Bobby Cox: Bobby would have made my list on his managerial merits alone. Guiding the teams he did to a World Series, 14 straight division titles and multiple 90 win seasons is just simply unheard of. He knew how to handle a clubhouse and deal with each type of personality, something I believe is much more important than most in game and tactical decisions made. We also can’t forget his time as GM and how he was the driving force behind the early 90’s rosters, including the drafting and signing of Chipper Jones.
- Hank Aaron: Although I never saw him play, Hank Aaron still makes the list not only because of his accomplishments, but doing so in the era he did. He played over 20 seasons for the franchise and retired as the Home Run King. Being able to persevere through the countless amounts of threats and racial slurs, he will always be remembered as a hero to not only the Braves but the city of Atlanta.
- Chipper Jones: I couldn’t make this list without including Chipper. He was the face of the franchise and will go down as one of the greatest third basemen to ever play the game. Whether it is right or wrong that he was my childhood hero growing up, it’s something that I’m okay with because of all the great memories that come back as a little kid. He was the reason I wore my socks up, tried to switch hit in t-ball and always wore the number 10. As irrational as it is, to me, he was simply the best.
- John Schuerholz: The man with the plan. Without John Schuerholz at the helm, it is unlikely that the Braves go on the type of run they were on during his tenure as the team's general manager. Not only did Scheurholz have a huge impact on that generation of the franchise but he essentially appointed Frank Wren as his successor. Since his move to allow Wren to take over and move to president of the team, the franchise has continued to compete at a very high level year after year and has done so mostly with talented young players.
- Bobby Cox: While Schuerholz put together the teams, someone had to manage them and during his time as manager of the Braves there was no one better across the league as Bobby Cox. What he did as well as any manager was get the most out of his utility players, fringe starters, and platoon men. The Braves had some incredibly talented teams year after year, but one of the big reasons they were able to win the division season after season was due to Cox's ability to get the most out of guys who were not expected to be too productive.
- Tom Glavine: Glavine is not my favorite Brave. He is not even my favorite Braves pitcher. But he was the first of the bunch to start the revolution that led to 14 straight division titles. Glavine was the guy drafted with the intention of him being the left-handed cog in the rotation that helps turn the franchise around and he was exactly that. While the team made a great trade for John Smoltz and a great signing of Greg Maddux, it was Glavine who was there for the tail end of the bad and the start of the good. On top of his importance to the franchise in this sense, he threw the most important game in franchise history and led the team to the 1995 World Series Championship.
- Hank Aaron: On my list I already have the best general manager, the best manager, and the most important player. Now let's add the best player. The Braves were not the power they were during the 90's when Aaron was a member of the franchise, but his skill as a player has to land him on this list. No player has hit more home runs for a team than Hank Aaron did for the Braves, which is a record that may never be broken. Aaron was the model of consistency as he hit home run after home run and drove in run after run for 20 years in a Braves uniform. Of all the people deserving of a spot on the Mount Rushmore of the Braves, nobody is more deserving than Hank Aaron.
- Ted Turner: Thanks to him and the platform of TBS, the Braves became a national team with one of the most diverse fanbases in baseball and all of sports. Turner's energy and extreme desire to put a winning team out on the field is what all fans of a team want to see from their owner, and he was vitally important in making the Braves what they are today.
- Chipper Jones: It's hard to imagine a better fit between player and team than Chipper Jones and the Atlanta Braves. Drafted first overall as a sweet swinging shortstop, he blossomed into one of the best third baseman to ever play the game. Chipper became a southern sports icon, the face of the region's most popular sports team, and played every game of his career in an Atlanta Braves uniform. When you think of the modern day Braves, Chipper's the first player to come to mind.
- Bobby Cox: I think Chipper said it best when he said that Bobby Cox is that favorite grandfather of yours that slips you a $20 bill every time he comes to visit. Cox endeared himself to both players and fans alike in a way that few managers have done in baseball history. He was the constant, the fiery and loyal leader in the dugout of a franchise that rose to prominence with him at the helm. As a GM, he doesn't get near enough credit for the players he brought to Atlanta.
- Hank Aaron: It can't be stated enough how important Hank Aaron was and is to baseball, the Braves, and the city of Atlanta. The best player to ever don a Braves uniform, he was the singular figure Braves fans could point to and be proud of before the division title run began.
- Bobby Cox, Skip Caray, Chipper Jones, and Hank Aaron: All pretty self-explanatory. Bobby is obviously the greatest manager in the franchise's history. Skip was the voice of the Braves during their 90's boom on TBS and is the voice of all of Atlanta's most iconic calls (Sid's slide, 95 series, etc). Chipper and Hank are the greatest two players to ever play for Atlanta. Chipper is the face of the team that won all those division titles, while Hank is probably the best player of all time to play in Atlanta.
- Bobby Cox: There aren't many baseball men who had the amount of success that Cox did as both a manager and general manager. He acquired a significant portion of the talent that he would later manage on the field during the run of 14 straight division titles. The man had an eye for talent and knew how to manage said talent. Dude's a legend.
- Paul Snyder: While Cox and Schuerholz (deservedly) garner a lion's share of the praise for the success during the 90's and early 2000's, Paul Snyder was either directly or indirectly involved in acquiring and/or identifying the players who led to this resounding success. As scouting director, Snyder drafted (among others) Glavine, Jones, Avery, Justice, and Blauser, all of whom helped to bring the first and only championship to Atlanta. There's really no telling how many players he identified and helped bring to Atlanta during his time as a scouting director, assistant to the general manager, and director of player development. He was always in the shadows, but he deserves the utmost recognition.
- Chipper Jones: Most of my childhood memories are set to the tune of Skip and Pete singing the praises of Larry Wayne Jones, Jr. As a person in his early 20s, Chipper was the player every kid wanted to be, especially in the area in which I grew up. He's a career .300/.400/.500 hitter as a switch hitter with over 450 home runs. That doesn't happen often.
- Henry Aaron: How many people - whether it be parents, aunts/uncles, or baseball fans in general - have told you exactly where they were when Hank hit his 715th home run? Exactly. The man is the epitome of class and is not only a Braves/baseball legend, he's a cultural legend.
- First Hank Aaron, because he's the most significant name in franchise history, and in such a racially heterogenous city as Atlanta, I think he actually did a lot to not only shape the Braves' organization, but the city of Atlanta itself. Hank gave us all something to rally around pre-1991, something and someone we could all be proud of, be you white, black, male or female. The home run champ beat Babe's record in Atlanta, and I think it's difficult to reconcile what the Braves, and Atlanta, became without recognizing Hank.
- Bobby Cox in many ways was both the architect and the guiding force of everything the Braves became in our lifetimes. He was the GM responsible for the most significant moves in recent franchise history and then later the man who guided that talent to 14 consecutive division titles and a World Series championship. As a GM, Bobby did much of the work that John Schuerholz later got credit for. Cox was responsible for the acquisitions of: Tom Glavine, Chipper Jones, John Smoltz, Ron Gant, David Justice, and many others, which was essentially the core group that formed the base of the run of consecutive titles that defines the Braves' organization. While John Schuerholz got all the credit for building the organization, in many ways he was just a steward of what Bobby built, and then guided on the field.
- It's hard to pick just one guy who defined what the Braves became, but I have to go with Tom Glavine. Greg Maddux and Chipper Jones weren't a part of the 1991 team that in many ways defined the turnaround, while Glavine was there then, and also clinched the Braves' only World Series title in perhaps the most significant single game performance in Braves' franchise history. Glavine also was the leader of almost all the teams he was on and had much to do with the demeanor of the clubhouse as being professional. Glavine was a major product and guiding force of "The Braves Way."
- Ted Turner was my last pick, and it was close between him and Skip. I ultimately went with Ted, because it was his choice to bring Bobby back as the GM and essentially let him run the team that turned the organization around, and Ted's putting the Braves on TBS essentially led to the entire aura of the Braves being America's team. His money then allowed the Braves to sustain their excellence past the initial core that Bobby built, while never killing our farm.
- Ted Turner: It's hard to imagine the Braves being the Braves without Turner. I wouldn't even be a Braves fans without him. Starting TBS, broadcasting Braves games to the entire country, and owning the Braves were all essential to the Braves growing into a successful organization and sustaining that success. Instead of the Braves simply being a southeastern franchise, they have fans all over the country because of what Turner was able to accomplish.
- Bobby Cox: It's hard to think of how the Braves would have become the team they were/are on the field without Bobby Cox. Many of the great Braves players were acquired by Bobby, and he handed the franchise over to John Schuerholz, who continued to help the organization blossom. During the Braves' unprecedented amount of success, Cox was the father, guider, and the face of the team.
- Chipper Jones: I suppose we need a recent player to put up as part of it, and I don't think too many other players can say they were Braves "through and through" like Chipper. Drafted first overall, Chipper spent his entire career with the Braves, and he became a no-doubt Hall of Fame talent. When you ask most people what player you think of when you think the Braves, it's Chipper. Players like John Smoltz, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Andruw Jones, and others were fantastic players, but none of them were Braves players from start-to-finish.
- Hank Aaron: You can't have a list like this and not include The Hammer. One of the best and most famous players in baseball history, Aaron was a Braves for 21 of his 23 seasons, and he remains a hero to the city of Atlanta and Braves fans.
- Honorable Mentions: John Schuerholz, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Eddie Mathews, Dale Murphy
- Bobby Cox: Bobby's impact on the club will be felt for much longer than just the time he served as the club's skipper. The way he handled his business laid the foundation for how the Braves will build their organization for years to come. Work hard, don't say much and do what you're told -- the Bobby Cox way.
- Chipper Jones: My childhood hero and one of the greatest switch hitters and third basemen to ever play the game, Chipper will forever be loved in Atlanta. My favorite thing about him is that he never wore any other uniform as a professional ball player.
- Hank Aaron: You can't have a Braves Mount Rushmore and not include the true home run king. The Hammer handled a rough era with class and never lowered himself to the many scumbags who aimed to bring him down. It's always a joy to see him at the ballpark.
- Ted Turner: Turner is the reason I'm a diehard Braves fan. Some of my earliest childhood memories are sitting on the couch with my parents and watching the team on TBS every night. He always put the club's interest ahead of his own, and we can only hope the next owner(s) of the franchise have as much passion as Turner did.