I had this fear that after a year or so in the league, Frenchy would hit a wall. I was afraid that his free swinging ways would lead to him striking out often and in the most embarrassing fashion, and I feared he would never walk enough. I was worried that his average would vary from year to year at the mercy of the BABIP gods. If I’m completely honest, I thought there was an outside chance he’d be the worst every day player in baseball. Sure, there would be the highlight reel throws from right, but all they would do is hide his otherwise awful defense.
Fortunately, as you all know, the man we call “The Natural” didn’t just live up to his hype, he exceeded it. It was on Frenchy’s back that the Braves carried their division championship streak into a second decade. While he wasn’t enough to fully get the Braves over their World Series disappointments, he at least brought two more rings to Atlanta. At the time of his retirement, the only Braves player that we can definitively say was better is Hank Aaron, and Aaron only won a single ring. Now, we just wait for his eventual induction to Cooperstown.