Over the course of Atlanta Braves history, there have been a ton of tremendous power hitters on the team's rosters. From some of the absolute all-time greatest such as Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews to more recent greats such as Chipper Jones and Andruw Jones (no relation), the annals of the Braves are littered with great hitters who were very adept at putting the ball over the fence.
With that in mind, we thought it would be fun to take a look at the cream of the crop when it comes to power output since the Braves existed. I will go ahead and spoil one thing for you, Hank Aaron features on this list quite a bit which is, well, not the least bit surprising. In fact, this list was going to be a top 10, but because of Hank, we had to stretch it to 12 and you will see why below.
We do want to give a hat tip to some honorable mentions that just didn't quite make the cut such as Davey Johnson (1973) and Javy Lopez (2003) who hit 43 home runs in a season and Eddie Mathews, Andruw Jones, Ronald Acuna Jr., Jeff Burroughs, and Darrell Evans who all have 41 home run seasons. Their seasons were tremendous, but we had to make the cut-off somewhere, so here are the top 12 seasons in terms of home runs in Atlanta Braves franchise history.
Top 12 Most home runs hit in a single season by an Atlanta Braves player
T-7: Hank Aaron - 44 (1957, 1963, 1966, 1969)
Yeah, this is why we had to go to a top 12 because, well, Hank Aaron is ridiculous. Not only does Hank appear further up this list, but he was also the model of consistency. Case in point, he hit 44 home runs four times and eclipsed the 40 homer threshold eight times in his career. In short, Hank just mashed and we miss him terribly.
T-7: Dale Murphy - 44 (1987)
Certainly one of the more under-appreciated players in franchise history, Dale Murphy makes his one and only appearance on this particular list thanks to his monster 1987 season. Weirdly, Murph would only finish 11th in the MVP vote this year (his MVPs came in 1982 and 1983) although if you look at WAR, he was pretty clearly a top 3 player.
T-7: Andres Galarraga - 44 (1998)
Finally, we come to the "Big Cat" Andres Galarraga whose 1998 monster season at the plate was a very successful debut in a Braves uniform after he hit 41 homers his last season in Colorado. Sadly, Galarraga would be diagnosed with cancer and miss the 1999 season while undergoing chemotherapy. He did return and play pretty well in 2000, but he wasn't ever really the same threat at the plate.
T-5. Chipper Jones - 45 (1999)
Well, it probably isn't an all-time Atlanta Braves list without some sort of Chipper Jones appearance on it. This was the only time that Chipper eclipsed 40 home runs in his career (although he did have five 30+ homer seasons) and it was his best season overall by fWAR. Unsurprisingly, he won the NL MVP that year pretty convincingly (Jeff Bagwell was awesome that year, too, fwiw).
T-5. Hank Aaron - 45 (1962)
Yeah, another Hank season is on the list. Man, he was a force of nature in his career. We'll highlight some more of the eye-popping stats that Hank put up in his career, but here is a nice piece that SI put together on some lesser known facts about Hank immediately after he passed away. Somehow, Hank didn't even place in the top 5 in MVP voting in 1962, although I highly recommend looking at Willie Mays' season that year because he has an even bigger gripe.
4. Eddie Mathews - 46 (1959)
I was actually a little surprised that we had to wait this long for an Eddie Mathews entry here, but he did have two spots in the top 4, so that seems pretty good. Mathews hit 40+ homers four times in his career and added another six 30+ home run season during his time with the Braves. Mathews would finish second in the MVP voting that year, but this one was justified as Ernie Banks' season in 1959 was an absolutely absurd 10.2 rWAR campaign.
T-3. Hank Aaron - 47 (1971)
We have now reached the summit of Hank's single season home run marks, but not the summit of our list. This one came late in Hank's career, but he still was a very real threat at 37 years of age. This would be the last time he finished in the top three of MVP voting (he did that a total of seven times). Here is a timeline of Hank's career including some of the statistical milestones he hit along the way.
T-3. Eddie Mathews - 47 (1953)
It does seem somewhat fitting that both Hank and Eddie tied on this list. Mathews does not get the love he deserves amongst the all-time greats, so here is one quick note. On eight separate occasions, Eddie finished with 7 rWAR or more seven times and somehow, he only finished in the top 5 of MVP voting twice.
1. Andruw Jones - 51 (2005)
And now we have made it to one of, if not the, best defensive centerfielders of all-time Andruw Jones. While the end of his career featured a very serious fall off, Andruw was an absolute monster for a while including in 2005 which he became the first (and so far only) Braves hitter to eclipse the 50 homer mark. I wanted to be mad that Andruw didn't win the MVP in that year, but then I remember that that was when Albert Pujols was at the height of his powers and, well, sometimes you just get got.