As we count down the days to 2018’s opening day, we take a look at the greatest Braves to wear each jersey number that’s been worn.
The best Brave to wear #49 is the current Brave that wears #49, Julio Teheran.
You don’t really need much background on Teheran and where he came from. You’ve been watching him for years. We’re just over 1000 innings into his career, and he has a 58-53 record (despite more than half those innings coming during a rebuild), 860 Ks, and 2 All-Star appearances. He just turned 27, so we should be in for plenty more Teheran production going forward (or, we’ll be in for none, because pitchers are volatile and can’t be trusted).
So, let’s have a shorter post today and just enjoy some Julio videos:
Julio Fact #1: If Teheran is on the mound to open the 2018 season, he’ll be the first Atlanta Brave to start 5 consecutive opening days.
Julio Fact #2: Since the beginning of the 2013 season, Teheran leads all MLB pitchers with 26 pickoffs. Have a look:
What’s remarkable is that Teheran is right-handed. The only two other pitchers with 20 or more since 2013 are lefties. The next closest righties are R.A. Dickey and Kyle Hendricks with 14 each, though Hendricks’ rate rivals Teheran’s. The point is – Julio Teheran’s pickoff move is a rarity in today’s sport, so enjoy it while you have it.
Carl Morton (1973-1976) went 52-47 with a 3.47 ERA in over 900 innings, and most of that production came in a 3-year period.
Jair Jurrjens (2008-2012) had a 3rd place Rookie of the Year finish in 2008, had a 2.60 ERA over 34 starts in ’09, and was a 2011 All-Star.
John Rocker (1998-2001) was more than just a loudmouth who said some idiotic things to Sports Illustrated. In 195.1 innings with Atlanta, he boasted a 2.63 ERA, struck out 259 batters, and saved 83 games. For a brief period, Rocker was one of the best lefty relievers in the game. He also played Survivor!
Who is the best ever to wear #49?
In research for this, I learned that #49 is traditionally sought by knuckleball pitchers. Perhaps it’s an homage to Hoyt Wilhelm, who wore #49 from 1952-1956 with the New York Giants. Whatever the reason, Tom Candiotti, Charlie Hough, and Tim Wakefield all predominantly wore #49 throughout their careers. You still see knuckleballers wear #49, like Dennis Springer with the 1999 Marlins and Charlie Haeger with the ’08 Padres and ’10 Dodgers.
This is all irrelevant, however, because the greatest #49 wasn’t a knuckleball pitcher. It’s 1978 AL Cy Young winner, 4 time All-Star, 5 time Gold Glover, and 2 time World Champion Yankee Ron Guidry. The career Yankee southpaw won 20 or more games 3 times, won 2 ERA crowns, and got CYA votes in 6 seasons. Louisiana Lightning’s 1978 season is one of the more impressive of its era: 25-3 record (the .892 win % is a record among 20-game winners), a 1.74 ERA, 248 K’s, and 9 shutouts. He made 4 starts across 3 World Series, going 3-1 with a 1.69 ERA and 2 complete games.
Check him out:
Also, he was a Pepper.