1956 Topps Hank Aaron 31 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

Topps has always screwed up. Sometimes the errors are from pure sloppiness, as would be the case on the 1957 Hank Aaron card which used a reverse negative showing him as a left handed hitter. Other times, Topps just doesn’t care. In this case, for the action photo on Aaron’s 56 card, Topps chose to airbrush a Braves cap and plain white uniform onto a photo of Willie Mays. If you know anything about Mays and Aaron and their personal history, you have a pretty good idea why the Hammer was offended by the card.

Seriously, how do you screw up a Hank Aaron baseball card? Well, you can’t. Not really. Every Aaron card is great. Every Aaron card from his playing career is especially special. That said, Topps should have done better by Aaron in 1956.

1988 Topps Jeff Dedmon 46 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

The Braves teams of the mid to late 1980s were full of really bad baseball players, but looking back, there were a few guys who weren’t bad at all. Dedmon took a few years to find his footing as a big league reliever, but he ended up as a solid member of the Braves bullpen turning in an excellent season in 1986 and a solid one in 1987. The Braves would deal him away after the 87 season and he wasn’t in organized ball but another year or two.

Of course, the Braves of this time period had problems that were far too large to be solved by a single solid reliever. Still, Dedmon performed relatively well.

1990 Topps Mark Lemke 451 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

Did Mark Lemke ever look young?

1989 Topps Traded Tommy Gregg 39T - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

Word on the street in the early 90s was that Tommy Gregg was a “professional hitter”, but lacked the other skills needed to be a regular at the major league level. In actuality, he wasn’t a very good hitter either, especially in the big leagues.

His greatest contribution to the Braves? He was the return from the Pirates for getting the pointless Ken Oberkfell the hell out of Atlanta. So, there’s that.

Tommy Gregg is now working as a hitting coach in the Marlins organization. Hopefully, he’s better at coaching hitting than he was at actually hitting.

1987 Topps Gerald Perry 639 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

A lot of long time Braves fans, like myself, thought Perry was a pretty good baseball player. We based that on his .300 batting average in 1988 and the two near .270 seasons that led up to it. At the time, we thought it was a breakout season. We thought he was destined for greater things. We were wrong.

Perry’s reputation was that of a “professional hitter”, but he really wasn’t. He was a guy that the Braves kept running out at first base because the Braves really didn’t have any other options.

Of course, now I look at Fangraphs and Baseball Reference and see that not only was Perry not as good as I thought at the time, but he really wasn’t very good at all. That said, he played first base for the Braves and he was one of our guys. I’m astounded at the number of bad baseball players of which I have fond memories.

1985 Topps Pete Falcone 618 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

I tend to think of Pete Falcone as a New York Met, because my first card of him was in 1980 Topps. I also think of him as a Met because despite watching or listening to almost every Braves game in 1984, I cannot remember him as a Brave. Without the baseball cards to prove it, if you had asked me if Falcone has been a Brave, I would have said no way. That’s the impression some guys leave: none.

2015 Topps Chris Johnson 283 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

My favorite players on the Braves aren’t always among the best players on the team, and my least favorite are rarely the worst. Chris Johnson is one of my least favorite players in the history of the franchise, and he was pretty damned awful. The great irony of this card is showing Johnson making a play on defense. His range at third consisted of one step to the left and falling, or one step to the right and falling.

That said, he did not have a bad year at all in 2013. It has to rank among the biggest fluke seasons in the game’s history.

The highlight of his Braves career? Terry Pendleton going after him in the Braves dugout. When comparing the list of great Braves third basemen, Johnson ranks slightly behind TP. That’s sarcasm.

2015 Topps Alberto Callaspo 543 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

How bad where the 2015 Atlanta Braves? Alberto Callaspo started 28 games.

More than anything, the year was a massive missed opportunity. If they had tried just a little harder, they could have hit that magical number of 100 losses. It was disappointing that they came up short.

This is why the 1988 Braves will always be a better remembered team than the 2015 Braves. The 1988 Braves were a historically bad baseball team. The 2015 Braves were just another team that sucked.

1952 Topps Eddie Mathews 407- Braves Card of the Day ⚾

Here’s the rookie card of the man who might be the Braves best third baseman of all-time, Eddie Mathews. This is also the most expensive baseball card I’ve ever purchased, even though I bought it graded as a PSA 1. I keep my Braves team card sets in pages in a binder so I couldn’t keep it in that damn enclosure. Plus, if it’s in an enclosure, I can’t pull it out and touch it with my hands. So, I busted it out. I freed the card from the shackles of rigid plastic!

I’m still sort of amazed that I own this baseball card. Of all the vintage Topps Braves baseball cards, it’s the hardest to find and seems to be the most expensive. Yes, more expensive than the 1954 Topps Hank Aaron rookie card. Scarcity and the 1952 high number effect will do that. Consider that of the 1952 high numbers, the Mantle, the pre-eminent card of all Topps cards, was double printed. The Mathews was single printed. It was also the last card in the set which meant it ended up on the bottom of piles held together with rubber bands. I own this rare card. I’m still amazed that’s the case.

I really don’t think I’m worthy of it. (No, that doesn’t mean I’m giving it to you.)

2014 Topps Joey Terdoslavich 408 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

I am the last person that anyone should ever listen to when it comes to prospects. Here’s an example: Terdo. I believed that he would hit enough, with just enough pop, to ensure a long career as a backup outfielder in the big leagues. Instead, he hasn’t even hit enough to be a AAAA player. He’s currently playing for Lancaster in the Atlantic League, an independent league, and he’s not hitting. It’s a damned shame.