As I’m sure you heard, yesterday the Braves formally released Adrian Gonzalez. It was a shot to the gut of Braves fans, as it seems like Gonzalez was barely on the roster a day. I guess that’s how time goes. You don’t really appreciate things until they’re gone, and that’s likely how it will be for Braves fans and Adrian Gonzalez. The former #1 overall pick is one of the best first basemen in history to call themselves an Atlanta Brave. He has led his respective league in hits, walks, and RBI. He’s been in the top-20 in MVP voting 8 times in his career!
However, much of that was accomplished with other teams, and this is going to be more of a look back at Adrian Gonzalez, the Atlanta Brave. It’s important to hold onto these memories so that his legacy may always shine brightly in the hearts and minds of Braves fans. Let’s look back at the highlights.
Remember when, after acquiring Fred McGriff in the summer of 1993, the press box at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium caught fire? On Saturday, Atlanta acquired yet another All-Star 1B, and yet again, there was a fire. This fire was in an underground Georgia Power facility, and it left Hartsfield-Jackson Airport without power for 11 hours. It would prove to be the spark that would light the fire to burn the NL East down.
Gonzalez may not have been a Brave extremely long, but if he had qualified, he would have departed with the 30th best fWAR in Braves history among first basemen. That puts him ahead of Tommie Aaron, who, along with his brother Henry, combined for the most home runs in MLB history by a pair of brothers. It puts him ahead of Gerald Perry, a 1988 NL All-Star. It even puts him ahead of the legendary Walter Holke, AKA “Union Man”, the first baseman who recorded 42 putouts in a single game and would go on to hit into the first unassisted triple play in National League history. Holke would go on to manage the Terre Haute Tots to the 1932 Three-I League title, so I don’t think we can overstate his importance to baseball history here. And yet, as a Brave, Gonzalez was more valuable!
He was more valuable than Joey Terdoslavich, holder of the Carolina League’s single season doubles record. He was more valuable than Wes Helms, Lyle Overbay, or Barbaro Canizares. He was more valuable than Tommy Gregg, Ken Caminiti, or Rico Brogna. And he was more valuable than Scott Thorman. Yep, that Scott Thorman.
Thanks for the memories, Adrian. While you were a Brave, Chile put a former President back into office, Jerry Richardson announced he’d sell the Panthers, and Star Wars fanboys lost their collective minds when The Last Jedi challenged them in new ways with its storytelling and tone. Most importantly, you helped bring a city out of the darkness (and the Airplane! Johnny memes that came with that darkness) and into the light of a new day, and for that we will forever be grateful.
Godspeed, El Titan.