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2002 Atlanta Braves
2002 Atlanta Braves / Franchise: Atlanta Braves / BR Team Page
Clinched Division: September 9, 2002
General Manager: John Schuerholz, Jr.
Managed by Bobby Cox
Owner: AOL Time Warner
History, Comments, Contributions
- John Smoltz: 55 SV, 9.5 K/9 IP, 75 G
- Chris Hammond: 0.95 ERA, 441 ERA+, 63 G
- Mike Remlinger: 1.99 ERA, 210 ERA+, 73 G
- Darren Holmes: 1.81 ERA, 210 ERA+, 55 G
- Kerry Ligtenberg: 2.97 ERA, 141 ERA+, 52 G
- Tim Spooneybarger: 2.63 ERA, 159 ERA+, 51 G
- Kevin Gryboski: 3.48 ERA, 120 ERA+, 57 G
This was the only time in history a team featured seven relievers who each had 50 or more appearances and ERAs of 3.50 or better.
Numerous otherwise "no-name" players had their career years at the same time.
Although he looked poised for a solid career since he was only 22 years old, after being traded to the Florida Marlins Spooneybarger was mediocre in 2003 and never pitched in the big leagues again. His career ended at 23.
Ligtenberg, who had had success before 2002 (he had a 143 ERA+ to that point), was signed by the Baltimore Orioles as a free-agent following the campaign, had a solid but not spectacular 2003, bombed in 2004 and was out of the big leagues after 2005.
Before his breakout campaign, Hammond was a failed starter who had a 4.54 ERA from 1990 to 1998. He didn't even pitch in the big leagues from 1999 to 2001. After 2002, he had two more very good years, then faltered and was done after 2006.
Though he had a few solid campaigns, Holmes was largely a failed reliever before his big season, posting a 4.47 ERA and 106 ERA+ from 1990 to 2000. Like Hammond, he didn't even play in the big leagues in 2001. Then after the season, he pitched one more (mediocre) campaign with the Braves and his big league career was over.
Remlinger established himself as one of the game's better relievers in 1999, when he went 10-1 with a 2.37 ERA. But before that, his career ERA was 4.63 (and his record was 19-31) -- he was both a failed starter and reliever. Then after 2002, he posted a 4.35 ERA and was done after 2006.
2002 was Gryboski's rookie year. He did worse in 2003, had a slightly better year in 2004, then bombed out (6.87 ERA in 2005-2006) and was done.
That pitching staff also featured a bunch of pitchers who were supposed to be good but never panned out - 21-year-old Jung Bong, who'd dominated the low- and mid-minors but couldn't quite cut it at Triple-A or in the big leagues made a start that year, but was out of the big leagues by 24. Trey Hodges, 2001's Carolina League Pitcher of the Year who won 15 games in both 2001 and 2002, made a handful of relief appearances, then spent considerable time in the Braves bullpen in 2003. That was his last big league campaign. John Ennis, a strikeout artist who had 259 Ks in 237 innings between 2000 and 2001 made a single start in 2002 before pitching very briefly in the majors in 2004 and 2007. Andy Pratt, a high draft pick (9th round) with a penchant for Ks (682 in minor league 730 IP from 1998 to 2003) made a relief appearance, walking 4 batters in 1 1/3 innings. He returned to the majors for 4 games in 2004. John Foster looked promising, ascending to the big leagues quickly (less than four years), after mastering opposing batsmen in 1999 and 2000. He made 5 appearances for Atlanta in 2002, went to the Milwaukee Brewers for 2003, did not pitch in 2004 and returned to the Braves system in 2005, where he served as their LOOGY. Then he, too, was done in the big leagues.
Bong became one of the better relievers in the Korea Baseball Organization. Hodges spent some time in Japan. Ennis played 13 years in the minor leagues and pitched briefly in Korea. Pratt tanked after his stay in the Braves system. Foster never reached dominance again after his 1999 and 2000 campaigns.
Awards and Honors
- All-Stars: Tom Glavine, Andruw Jones, Mike Remlinger and John Smoltz
- NL Rolaids Relief Award: John Smoltz
- NL Gold Glove: Andruw Jones (OF) and Greg Maddux (P)
- 2022 Atlanta Braves Media Guide, pg. 293
- Associated Press: "Braves hire Schuerholz", Times Daily, October 11, 1990