Baseball Gems: Five of the Greatest First Round Draft Selections by the Atlanta Braves

 

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The Atlanta Braves have been one of the most successful Major League Baseball franchises of the past 25 years. Here is a look at five of the most fruitful first round draft selections in the history of the Atlanta organization.

Dale Murphy (1974 – 5th selection – Woodrow Wilson High School – Portland, Oregon)

Making his major league debut in 1976, Dale Murphy is one of the most beloved sports figures in Atlanta history. Winning back-to-back MVP honors in 1982 and 1983, Murphy was a seven-time All-Star as well as the recipient of five Gold Glove awards. Departing from the game in 1993, Murphy had his number (3) retired by the Braves in 1994. Six years later, Murphy was inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame.

Bob Horner (1978 – 1st selection – Arizona State University – Tempe, Arizona)

Making his MLB debut the same year he was drafted, Bob Horner was always a fan favorite in Atlanta. Playing both first and third base, Horner earned 1978 Rookie of the Year honors, edging out one of the greatest shortstops in history, Ozzie Smith. Voted to the All-Star game in 1982, Horner is one of only 16 MLB players to hit four home runs in a single game.

Chipper Jones (1990 – 1st selection – Bolles School – Jacksonville, Florida)

Arguably the greatest player in the history of the Atlanta baseball franchise, along with Henry Aaron, Chipper Jones is an iconic sports figure. Initially signed as a shortstop before moving to third base prior to his rookie season in 1995, Jones is regarded, statistically, as one of the most prolific switch-hitters in the history of professional baseball. Earning National League MVP honors in 1999, as well as the National League batting crown in 2008, Jones, an eight-time All-Star, finished his career with a .303 batting average. Honored with the retirement of his number (10) by the Atlanta organization, as well as induction into the Braves Hall of Fame, Jones, per many experts, will likely be a first ballot MLB Hall of Fame inductee.

Adam Wainwright (2000 – 29th selection – Glynn Academy – Brunswick, Georgia)

The Atlanta Braves drafted Adam Wainwright, thus making him eligible for this list. What the Atlanta organization did next, many Braves fans would likely choose to forget. After spending roughly three years in Atlanta’s minor league system, the Braves traded Wainwright to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2003. To the dismay of the Braves, Wainwright has gone on to become one of the most consistent pitchers in all of baseball.

Jason Heyward (2007 – 14th selection – Henry County High School – McDonough, Georgia)

Making his MLB debut in 2010, Jason Heyward hit a three-run home run during his first major league at-bat. The rest, as they say…is history. Considered an offensive and defensive stalwart in the Atlanta lineup, Heyward has proven his worth as a solid professional player. Named the 2010 Rookie of the Year by both the Sporting News and Baseball America, Heyward was a 2010 All-Star selection as well as a 2012 Gold Glove recipient.