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The 29 Most Important Braves during the Streak: 7-10

Time for an extra helping of the "Top Braves during the Streak," and with it we see some of the biggest offensive stars the Braves have had in the last decade and half.

  1. Fred McGriff - The day he got here in 1993 was the day the Atlanta Braves caught fire, both literally and figuratively. Before McGriff's first game as a Brave on July 20th, the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium press box caught on fire. And during the game McGriff's sixth inning homerun tied it up before the team went ahead in the eighth. The Braves marched on to a 51-17 record after his arrival en route to the most wins in franchise history (to that point) and another division title. The Crime Dog was about as steady as one could be in solidifying the middle of the Atlanta lineup for the next four years, producing at least 20 homeruns and 90 RBI in each year. He was also an All-Star in each of his first three years in Atlanta.
  2. David Justice - The oft-injured outfield slugger will always be remembered in Atlanta for that sweet sweeping swing he had that at times seemed more like a golf swing than a baseball swing. Justice burst onto the scene a year before the streak started and won the Rookie of the Year award in a nearly unanimous vote. As a slugger, Justice possessed great plate discipline which got better as he gained more experience, and he routinely posted more walks than strikeouts. He was a very streaky player, prone to long dry spells followed by bursts of power and production. His best year was in '93 when he benefited from the presence of Fred McGriff in the lineup by posting a whopping 40 homeruns and 120 RBI.
  3. Rafael Furcal - Fookey is another player who burst onto the scene in Atlanta. After only getting as high as A+ ball the year before, Furcal won a spot on the Atlanta roster splitting time with Walt Weiss, and took over the lead-off duties half way through the season. With his 40 stolen bases and almost .400 on-base percentage Furcal won the Rookie of the Year award. As the years went on he grew into more power, but he seemed to lose much of his plate discipline and never again came within 40 points of the .394 OBP he put up his rookie year. Furcal also added value in the field with perhaps the best shortstop arm in either league. He was at times error-prone, but he also took away a lot of hits with his range and ability to get the ball to first base a half-step faster than most everyone else. The way in which Furcal solidified the lead-off position in Atlanta was not completely felt until after he left - very few can match him as a 40-steal threat with power.
  4. Javy Lopez - Three times an all star and twice in the MVP voting, Javy enjoyed almost ten full seasons with the Braves. Often criticized for his sluggishness behind the plate, and lack of fully realized potential, Lopez was nonetheless the best catcher by far that the Braves had during the streak. Let's also face the fact that anytime a team can get 20 homeruns and 65+ RBI a year from their catcher they should be happy, and Javy did that in five of those ten seasons. With MVP-worthy years in '98 and '03 he built up an average of 28 homeruns and 93 RBI per 162 games played for his career - not bad at all for a catcher.

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