Last Updated on November 8, 2023 by Matt Musico
The Braves have been around as an organization since 1871, and there have been some monster seasons at the dish by plenty of hitters along the way. We’ve discussed the single-season and all-time home run leaders in franchise history quite a bit. Which of those players are among the single-season Braves RBI leaders, though?
There have been 97 total occurrences of a Braves player eclipsing the 100 RBI mark in one season. The top 37 are all right here. First, we’ll talk about the top six in detail before running down the remainder of the list.
Single-Season Braves RBI Leaders: Top 6
Hugh Duffy: 145 RBI in 1894
Measuring how legendary a player is can be done by seeing how long they stick around the top of leaderboards after they retire. It’s safe to say that Hugh Duffy checks the boxes for the purposes of this exercise. It’s been well more than 100 years since he set the franchise record with 145 RBI in 1894. And, that record was only recently getting contested on a serious level.
Duffy racked up 1,302 RBI throughout his 17-year MLB career. What he did in 1894 was a single-season career-high mark for him, but it was one of eight times he surpassed the century mark. He did a little bit of everything in this particular campaign, too. Those RBI were accompanied by a .440/.502/.694 line, 18 homers (led the league) 51 doubles (also led the league), 16 triples, 160 runs scored, and 48 steals.
Matt Olson: 139 RBI in 2023
The 2023 season was a landmark one for Matt Olson. He not only became the second Braves player ever to eclipse the 50-homer mark, but he overtook the top spot on the single-season leaderboard from Andruw Jones. And, as we can see here, he nearly got himself past Duffy on the single-season RBI leaderboard, as well.
This was Olson’s third straight 100-RBI campaign, and the 139 he collected blew past his previous career high, which was 111 in 2021. It’s hard to be as consistent as the first baseman was while playing every regular-season game. He produced fewer than 20 RBI in a month just once when he drove in 17 in May. Outside of that, his monthly RBI totals settled in somewhere between 22 and 27.
Eddie Mathews: 135 RBI in 1953
Eddie Mathews finished third in the 1952 Rookie of the Year voting after hitting 25 homers with 58 and a .767 OPS. How did he follow that up? Well, but slugging a league-leading 47 homers with 135 RBI and a 1.033 OPS. The infielder found his way to the All-Star Game that year and finished second in MVP Award voting.
Not bad for a 23-year-old in his second big-league season.
He played in at least 22 games against seven NL opponents. The only squad he slugged double-digit homers against? That’d be Cincinnati. Mathews hit 11 homers with 27 RBI to go along with a .342/.432/.781 triple slash in 95 plate appearances. He also put together four straight months of 20-plus RBI. The third baseman went to another level between June and August, though, driving in at least 24 runs in each month.
His best month within this span was August. He slugged 11 homers with 31 RBI and a 1.155 OPS.
Jimmy Collins: 132 RBI in 1897
And we’ve got another player from the 1800s. Jimmy Collins spent 14 years in the big leagues and eclipsed the 100 RBI mark twice. They happened in consecutive years, too. His 132 RBI in 1897 was the first occurrence. He followed that with another 111 in 1898. Although Collins never got himself back over the century mark, he accumulated at least 90 RBI from 1899 to 1901.
Collins was a .294 lifetime hitter, but the .346 mark he produced in 1897 was a single-season career-high mark.
Hank Aaron: 132 RBI in 1957
It took a while, but you knew this list wouldn’t be complete without an appearance from Hank Aaron. Hammerin’ Hank’s 2,297 career RBI are the most in MLB history. The 132 he collected in 1957 as a 23-year-old ended up being his highest total in a single season. That number also led the league, as did his 44 homers, en route to winning his only MVP Award.
This was the second time Aaron surpassed the 100 RBI mark. He’d end up accomplishing that feat a total of 11 times before hanging up his spikes. There were four different occasions where Aaron collected at least 20 RBI in a month during 1957. On three of those occasions (May, June, and August), he drove in exactly 28 runs. It’s also worth noting that 83 of his 132 RBI came in road games.
Gary Sheffield: 132 RBI in 2003
Gary Sheffield spent two years in Atlanta with the Braves. The 2003 season was his last, and he ended on as strong a note as he possibly could. The right-handed slugger hit 39 homers with 132 RBI to go along with a 1.023 OPS. Sheff was selected to the All-Star Game, won a Silver Slugger Award, and finished third in NL MVP Award voting.
Sheffield was good in just about every situation during this particular campaign. However, he really enjoyed starting fast in the first inning. He accumulated 154 plate appearances in the first frame of games and produced a .313/.396/.573 triple slash. That was accompanied by eight homers and 30 RBI. Those were his highest totals of any inning in 2003.
Single-Season Braves RBI Leaders: The Rest
As mentioned above, there have been 97 different 100 RBI seasons in Braves history. Here’s the rest of the top 37.
- Wally Berger, 1935: 130 RBI
- Hank Aaron, 1963: 130
- Hugh Duffy, 1897: 129
- Andruw Jones, 2006: 129
- Hank Aaron, 1962: 128
- Andruw Jones, 2005: 128
- Hank Aaron, 1966: 127
- Tommy McCarthy, 1894: 126
- Hank Aaron, 1960: 126
- Eddie Mathews, 1960: 124
- Billy Nash, 1893: 123
- Hank Aaron, 1959: 123
- Wally Berger, 1934: 121
- Dale Murphy, 1983: 121
- Andres Galarraga, 1998: 121
- Freddie Freeman, 2019: 121
- Hank Aaron, 1961: 120
- David Justice, 1993: 120
- Wally Berger, 1930: 119
- Dan Brouthers, 1889: 118
- Hugh Duffy, 1893: 118
- Hank Aaron, 1970 and 1971: 118
- Tommy Holmes, 1945: 117
- Ron Gant, 1993: 117
- Andruw Jones, 2003: 116
- Bobby Lowe, 1894: 115
- Brian Jordan, 1999: 115
- Jimmy Bannon, 1894: 114
- Eddie Mathews, 1959: 114
- Jeff Burroughs, 1977: 114
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