For a time, it appeared the Atlanta Braves would be remembered as the team of the 1990s. Then, Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees came along with a dynasty that made everyone forget about the likes of Chipper Jones and Greg Maddux regardless of how many World Series titles they tried to win.
There is still plenty of time for Freddie Freeman and friends to provide Braves fans with similar experiences throughout the 2020s, except potentially with more championships to celebrate this time.
The Atlanta Braves are hoping for their first World Series run in over 20 years
In the grand scheme of things, it’s hard to say the Braves have had a tough time since the 21st century began.
Remember, the Braves made the playoffs 12 times between 2000 and 2020. Even if you refuse to include 2012 because the team lost in the Wild Card Game, that’s still an impressive stretch.
With all due respect to Braves fans, there’s only so much complaining they can do about that stretch. New York Mets fans would sell their souls for such a streak.
The problem, and we’ll give the fans this one, is a lack of pennants. The Braves haven’t made the World Series since Jeter and the Yankees swept them in 1999. Atlanta also blew a 2-0 series lead in the Fall Classic three years earlier against those same Yankees.
The Braves haven’t won the World Series since 1995
Those born in October 1995 are old enough to have voted in the last two U.S presidential Elections. They’re also too young to remember the Braves’ last World Series title.
That year’s Fall Classic featured some of that generation’s greatest players. The Braves had three starting pitchers — Maddux, John Smoltz, and Tom Glavine — who all landed in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Jones, the team’s switch-hitting third baseman, joined them in 2018.
The Cleveland Indians also had two Hall of Famers in their lineup. Eddie Murray, the switch-hitting designated hitter, and third baseman Jim Thome — who earned his bronze plaque on the same day as Jones — each homered in the series. Cleveland had two outfielders, Albert Belle and Kenny Lofton, who should also warrant added discussion for the Hall of Fame one day.
In large part because of stellar pitching, the Braves won the series in six games. Glavine, a crafty lefty who retired with 305 career regular-season victories, earned World Series MVP honors after going 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts.
Maddux went 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA across 16 innings. Braves left fielder Ryan Klesko made his case for World Series MVP by hitting .313 with three homers in six games.
The Braves have only won a single championship since moving to Atlanta in 1966
Despite existing since 1871, the Braves only won three World Series titles through the end of the 2020 season. The good news is fans in all three cities the team called home experienced a title at some point.
After sitting in last place on July 4, 1914, the Boston Braves dominated the rest of the season and swept the then-Philadelphia Athletics in that year’s World Series. That series marked the first four-game sweep in World Series history.
The Braves, then playing in Milwaukee, won another title in 1957. A promising young outfielder named Hank Aaron hit .393 with three home runs and seven RBIs in a seven-game series against Mickey Mantle and the Yankees. Veteran pitcher Lew Burdette earned World Series MVP honors by going 3-0 with a 0.67 ERA and pitching two complete-game shutouts.
The two teams squared off again a year later. Although the Braves held Mantle to a .250 average and two RBIs in seven games, the Yankees won their 18th World Series title. It wasn’t until 1991, when the Braves played in Atlanta, that the team reached the Fall Classic again.