Maddux, Glavine and Smoltz

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1998 Topps Andrés Galarraga 295 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

I was sad to see the Braves send Fred McGriff to the Devil Rays and wondered what the Braves plans were for first base. My first thought was that Ryan Klesko was going to get the chance to be the everyday guy at first. Two days after the McGriff deal though, the Braves signed the Big Cat.

At the time, there was a lot of questioning about why the Braves would bring Galarraga in. After a strong start to his career in Montreal and St Louis, he became a true superstar over his five seasons in Colorado. For a lot of people, great statistical seasons in Denver don’t count. In 1998 we would find out, was Galarraga’s stardom a creation of Coors Field, or was he the real deal?

He was the real deal. In fact, he was better than McGriff had been during any of his Braves seasons. He was also another example of Braves ownership doing whatever they can to win baseball games. At the time, his 8+ million a year price tag was not cheap. He was also 37 years old and received a three year deal. When you’re trying to win, sometimes you gamble. It sure worked with the Big Cat.