The Sweetest Swings in Atlanta Braves History.

There's been a lot of sweet swings in Atlanta Braves history, but which ones were the sweetest?


Sometimes I think back to the time before the Civil War. Abner Doubleday chillin' outside, with some of his buddies, in Cooperstown, New York, bored out of their minds. Doubleday brings up this game idea he had and they start playing. The game, of course, is baseball.

They're all having a good time and then one of the guys steps up, bat in hand, and he just naturally has this sweet swing. He swings and hits the ball so hard it travels some ungodly distance. I imagine everyone just stopping in their tracks and saying to him, "Do that again!"

I wonder who that guy was. This guy who didn't give birth to the game, but showed what could be. He's the guy that kept everyone wanting to watch it and play it. Those swings are the ones we see and talk about to this day. They're the ones that we remember, which got me thinking.

Which players have the sweetest swing in Atlanta Braves history?

So I went to the lab and I watched the tapes. Then I watched the tapes again, and then I watched them again, and again (Look, that's really all you can do when you're judging who has the sweetest swing). It took me somewhere between 4 to 5 minutes and 45 minutes and in the end I was able to make a list.

None of this is based on lifetime results. It doesn't matter if you have one home run in your career, or 755 home runs. What matters is whether the swing is sweet or not; that's it. Maybe you'll agree with the players, but the order is all wrong. Maybe you think I left some deserving players out. Feel free to let me know below.

Honorable Mentions:

Rick Camp

Does it make any sense to add a guy with one career home run to this list? Nope, but it’s Rick Camp. Any time a pitcher hits a home run in the 18th inning to improbably tie the game, he’s making the list of the sweetest swings. That’s just a fact.

Fun fact: 1985 was Camp’s last year in the majors and it happened to be the best offensive year of his career. Besides hitting his only home run, the .071 lifetime hitter hit .231 that year.

Javy Lopez

I don’t normally say stuff like this, but Lopez was easy on the eyes, and so was his swing. Everything about Lopez just oozed silky smooth. For example, I imagine him hitting home runs was like how he’d hit on women; he didn’t really have to do too much to have things work out in his favor.

Fun fact: In 2003, Lopez slashed .328/.378/.687/1.065 with 43 home runs, 109 RBIs, 89 runs, a 170 wRC+ for the Braves, but, according to MVP voters, was the 2nd best player on the team behind Gary Sheffield.

Bob Horner

Bob Horner was country strong. If you told me that Horner never stepped foot in a gym, smoked 2 packs a day, and downed a sixer before every game, I wouldn’t be surprised. The ball didn’t so much jump off his bat as it flew away to avoid further abuse.

Fun fact: Horner never spent a day in the minor leagues. On June 6th, 1979, the Braves drafted Horner 1st overall and 9 days later, in his debut, he hit a home run off future Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven. That year, he won Rookie of the Year over Ozzie Smith.

Josh Donaldson

I like to believe that Donaldson carrying an umbrella in the dugout was the beginning of the "props in the dugout" evolution that's so common today. Kind of like Donaldson himself, his swing was compact, but explosive. He could hit any kind of home run you could think of and earned the moniker "Bringer of Rain" while with the Braves.

Fun fact: Before games, Donaldson looks for reasons to hate the opposing pitcher. That kind of explains the whole Joe Musgrove blow up, doesn’t it?

Ryan Klesko

Klesko didn’t really swing the bat, he more exploded and the bat happened to hit the ball. It’s not unlike how they used to ignite dynamite back in the 1800’s with the old timey box and plunger. Push down on the plunger and "BOOM!!!".

Fun fact: In Game 5 of the 1995 World Series, Klesko hit a home run and his mom almost caught it. Klesko wound up trading an autographed Greg Maddux baseball for it, but knowing Maddux, he probably had Ed Giovanola sign it.

The Top-10:

Number #10: Hank Aaron

Now we’re in the nitty gritty. It’ll probably ruffle a few feathers having Aaron so low, but when you see the other nine, you’ll know why. Aaron crushed baseball after baseball, but it was more of a working man’s way of crushing baseballs. It was his consistency that made his swing so sweet.

Fun fact: $50 was the only difference between Aaron playing for the Braves or alongside Willie Mays and the New York Giants. The Boston Braves offered Aaron $50 more a month and the Giants didn’t beat it. Could you imagine how good the Giants would have been with both Mays and Aaron? Unreal.

Number #9: Andres Galarraga

I call Galarraga’s swing the "Dad swing". Like a child, back in the day, that got out of line, Galarraga spanked baseballs. I don’t know exactly what baseballs did to deserve such a punishment, but Galarraga did, and he made sure to take care of it.

Fun fact: When Galarraga was drafted at 18 years old, he was 6’3", 235lbs. If you think that’s why they called him the "Big Cat", you’re sort of right. He got that nickname because of his fielding ability around first base and the fact that he was, you know, big.

Number #8: Freddie Freeman

Freeman's swing, at first glance, doesn’t look like your prototypical "sweet swing". The more you watch it though, like we have, the more you see that it’s arguably one of the sweetest swings in the game today. There isn’t a pitch he can’t hit for power and no place on, or off, the field he can’t hit it.

Fun fact: At the age of six, Freeman practiced with Little League ballplayers who were twice his age. At age seven, he was placed on a team of nine-year-olds. When he turned nine, he was assigned to play on a team of twelve-year-olds. Is any of this surprising? Not really.

Number #7: Fred McGriff

McGriff’s swing was sweet, but his follow through was sweeter. His follow through always looked like the bat was a sword and he just sliced the ball out into the stands. What I loved so much about McGriff’s swing was how he stood so far away from the plate and would step then lean in. He’d just crush baseballs. I’m sure he learned that trick from Tom Emanski; the man responsible for back-to-back-to-back AAU National Championship teams.

Fun fact: This is more my opinion, but if MLB hadn’t locked out the players and cut the 1994 season short, I have no doubt that McGriff would have hit 500 home runs and would have been inducted into the HOF many years ago. At the time the season ended, McGriff had 34 home runs and was on pace to hit an additional 9 to 12 more had he played 145 to 150 games, which he had done routinely up to that point.

Number #6: Justin Upton

Upton’s two years with the Braves came out the gate hot but fizzled out in the end. That takes nothing away from his swing, though. There was always something about Upton’s calm stance and then his ability to just load up and crush a baseball. His swing always struck me as a right-handed version of a left-handed swing; if that makes any sense at all. It was just a really smooth stroke.

Fun fact: Justin Upton is not related to the model, Kate Upton. I don’t know if you knew that. He is related to incessant whiner, Melvin "B.J." Upton. I’m sure you already knew that.

Number #5: Adam LaRoche

This is actually the only video I could find of LaRoche hitting a home run as a part of the Braves, but what a swing it was. LaRoche, practically standing at military attention, sliding the bat through the zone, and the ball just flying away. It even looks like LaRoche gave it a little wave goodbye.

Fun fact: LaRoche retired because the White Sox asked that his son not be in the clubhouse so much then changed it to not at all. This was after they told him before he signed that his son could be in the clubhouse. Adam LaRoche, great dad.

Number #4: Ronald Acuna Jr.

When we were younger, my brother got this sling shot. Maybe two hours later, I had already got hit in the arm with a BB; hurt like hell. I look at RAJ’s swing like that sling shot and the bat is his BB (I feel your pain, baseballs). One of his more impressive swings is his upper cutters (like the one above) that he throws out there against pitches at the bottom of the strike zone.

Fun fact: I wrote this piece about how MLB needs to promote Acuna Jr. more.

Number #3: Gary Sheffield

Ah, the #1 swing emulated by boys and girls across America. None of us can hit baseballs as hard, or as far, as Sheffield did, but when we emulate his swing, we feel like we can. There’s just something about whipping the bat back and forth that makes you feel like you’re about to inflict some serious violence on a baseball. Sheffield did.

Fun fact: In 2006, Sheffield went down with a wrist injury, and he was never the same after that. I’ve done his stance so many times my wrists would hurt if I did it for too long. Could his iconic stance have been the cause? I think so.

Number #2: Chipper Jones

It’s not really a debate that Jones’ left-handed swing is the swing we’re talking about. Jones had what I would consider a "professional" swing. Like, if you drew up how a stance, load, and swing should look, all rolled into one, you'd get him. There isn’t a swing I’ve seen more than Jones’ and when I would think of sweet baseball swings over the years (well, up until I saw #1 on this list), I would think of his.

Fun fact: Man, what don't we already know about Chipper? He saved Freeman’s life. We know why his nickname is "Chipper". We know he named his son Shea after Shea Stadium. Here’s one, in his 1999 MVP season, Jones didn’t have a hitting drought longer than two games. Think about that.

Number #1: Matt Olson

It’s perfect, it’s smooth, it’s powerful. It’s Matt Olson’s sweet, sweet swing. I’ve been watching baseball for years and I’ve never seen a sweeter swing. Say all you want about Griffey (It’s certainly a top-2 swing), but Olson’s looping, long-armed, stroke is a thing of beauty. It’s so sweet I swear it’s giving kids cavities.

Fun fact: Matt Olson wore #21 in the minors in honor of Jeff Francoeur (both played for the same high school) but couldn’t in the majors because it was already worn by Stephen Vogt. Olson considers Chipper Jones his favorite player growing up, though.


It's certainly a list. Is it the preeminent list? No, I'm sure you're already chomping at the bit to disagree. Tell me all about how I'm wrong below. Of course, it's all opinion, so nobody is really right or wrong, but when has that ever stopped a debate?

This FanPost does not express the views or opinions of Battery Power.