When they talk about the “meat of the order”, the GM of the 1973 Atlanta Braves served up filet mignon. Even the vaunted 1927 Yankees would have admired watching these guy smash the ball out of the park routinely.
Most baseball fans aren’t familiar with this bunch, thus are missing out on having them in their baseball game collection of MLB teams. I will remove the shroud of secrecy and unveil this incredibly great team to have in your arsenal of teams as a must have and why.
The 1927 Murders’ Row nickname was directed towards the first 6 players in their order: Earle Combs, Mark Koenig, Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bob Meusel, and Tony Lazzeri. Their collective on-base plus slugging (OPS) average was: 5.893
The top 6 batters in the 1973 Atlanta Braves lineup had a collective OPS of: 5.283. Not too shabby for a team that finished 22 ½ games out in fifth place with a losing record of 76 and 85. Okay, so their pitching staff allowed the most runs in the National League and they weren’t the slickest of fielders, but they led the NL in hitting, OPS, slugging, HR’s and many other offensive categories. These guys have great cards, their Baseball Classics cards light up like a Christmas tree!
Their batting order on any given day behind the OPS stated above was Ralph Garr, Mike Lum, Darrell Evans, Hank Aaron, Dusty Baker, and Davey Johnson. Aaron, Evans, and Johnson each hit 40 home runs or more that season. Can you believe Darrell Evans only made $27,500 for his effort that season? Today, some guys practically get paid that much per every 7 pitches they face.
Pitches, not Pitchers!
Speedster Ralph Garr set the table at the top of the order with 200 hits that season, calculating to a dependable .299 batting average that included good extra base pop for a rather speedy player. Mike Lum was 5th on the teams in home runs with 16 and batted .294. Darrell Evans clobbered 41 homers, 124 walks, while still leading the team in RBI’s with 104 despite all those free passes. Hammerin’ Hank had 40 long balls, an OPS of 1.045 while posting a .301 batting average. Keeping the line moving was Dusty Baker with 21 round trippers, 99 RBI’s, and batted .288. Last, but not least of the top 6 was Davey Johnson and his career high, team leading 43 blasts, 99 RBI’s, and contributed with a rugged .546 slugging average.
Here’s a strip of their Baseball Classics player card Result columns side-by-side.
4 of the 6 1973 Braves hitters have stronger home run power than the 1927 Yankees with Aaron holding out fairly comparable to Ruth in that category. Though at clean-up Evans has an impressive card, Gehrig’s Results are just far too awesome to come close.
The green and yellows towards the center of the cards indicating where dice rolls occur more frequently graphically represent why the Yankees have a higher OPS. Considering the 1927 New York Yankees 110 winning team are rated as the best lineup ever, you can see why I tout having the 1973 Atlanta Braves in your collection. They are a fun bunch to play if you like power. A bonus if you play Dick Dietz off the bench; another high OPS player card to enjoy with his banana peel stripes prominently displayed.
What do you think of this comparison? What are some of your favorite MLB teams you would like to compare to the powerhouse ’27 Yanks and why?