In celebrating the final year of the Braves playing at Turner Field, the team announced that they would be doing a fan voting contest to determine the All-Turner Field Team. In short, any player that had played a minimum of two seasons at Turner Field were eligible to be voted for by fans via online ballot.
Without further adieu, here is the All-Turner Field Team as voted on by fans (with the other options and occasional comments by yours truly thrown in)
Catcher - Javy Lopez
Others on the ballot: Eddie Perez, Johnny Estrada, and Brian McCann. Pretty surprised that McCann didn’t get the votes for this spot, but Javy has a lot of love in Braves country and there is a non-zero number of fans that will never forgive McCann for leaving to sign with the Yankees.
First Baseman - Freddie Freeman
Others on the ballot: Andres Galarraga, Julio Franco, Adam LaRoche. Pretty straightforward choice here although all three of the other candidates have special places in fans’ hearts. Galarraga coming back from cancer and Julio Franco defying all things we know about aging were highlights here.
Second Baseman - Marcus Giles
Other candidates on the ballot: Keith Lockhart and Dan Uggla. I was a bit surprised to see Giles get the nod here until I saw the other candidates. Giles played well for the Braves while Dan Uggla quite famously flamed out and Keith Lockhart played 6 seasons for the Braves and accumulated a total of 3 WAR.
Shortstop - Rafael Furcal
Other candidates on the ballot: Walt Weiss, Edgar Renteria, Yunel Escobar, Andrelton Simmons. Andrelton deserves some love here, but Furcal did play 6 seasons with the Braves and his offensive game likely endeared himself to fans especially during a time when the team was successful. Walt Weiss went on to manage the trainwreck that is the Colorado Rockies, Escobar was ran out of town as a clubhouse cancer but has been a serviceable to good player for multiple teams since, and Edgar Renteria played just two seasons with the Braves where he was excellent before finishing his career four seasons later.
Third Baseman - Chipper Jones
Other Candidates - Vinny Castilla. Yeah....about that Vinny...
Left Field - Ryan Klesko
Other Candidates: Matt Diaz and Ryan Langerhans. Again, amongst the eligible candidates and the “Defense Against the Dark Arts” type curse amongst Braves’ left fielders....Klesko is a pretty easy choice here.
Center Field - Andruw Jones
Other Candidates: Michael Bourn. Nothing against Bourn who played great for the Braves in his first go-around, but Andruw was easily the best choice and has a relatively decent, if unlikely, Hall of Fame resume.
Right Field - Brian Jordan
Other Candidates: Gary Sheffield, Jeff Francoeur, and Jason Heyward. Brian is a well-known media personality around the Braves these days which clearly kept him in the minds of fans. He accumulated a 9.5 WAR during his career which puts him 3rd amongst these candidates behind Sheff and J-Hey. I look forward to your civil and well-reasoned opinions in the comments section about the results of this vote.
Utility Player - Martin Prado
Other Candidates: BJ Surhoff, Kelly Johnson, Mark DeRosa. I had almost forgotten that BJ Surhoff had been a Brave, but thats on me. Prado is adored by fans even now (some are cringing the Braves couldn’t sign him back this offseason now given his extension). Kelly Johnson deserves a bit of love as the guy most likely to be traded away only to re-sign again in the offseason as being a true “utility” guy but Prado is a fine choice.
Starting Rotation - Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Tim Hudson, Julio Teheran
Other Candidates: Kevin Millwood, Kris Medlen, Tommy Hanson, Jair Jurrjens. Nothing against any of these guys, but this wasn’t close. Some love is deserved for Kris Medlen, who was excellent before re-injuring his arm, and Tommy Hanson who sadly passed away this past offseason.
Reliever - Craig Kimbrel
Other Candidates: John Smoltz, Peter Moylan, Jonny Venters, and Eric O’Flaherty. The only reasonable competition for this spot is Smoltz and he made it easily into the starting rotation. Fans love Kimbrel and he is incredibly deserving of this spot. Hats off to Jonny Venters who was dominating for a time, but after his 4th UCL tear in 2016 appears to be completely done as a pitcher.