Atlanta Braves Mount Rushmore

ATLANTA, GA - MAY 15: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron is honored prior to the MLB Civil Rights between the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies at Turner Field on May 15, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - MAY 15: Hall of Famer Hank Aaron is honored prior to the MLB Civil Rights between the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies at Turner Field on May 15, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
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Kid Nichols (1890-1901)

The winningest pitcher of the 1890s, Kid Nichols took pride in two things in his career – his eventual induction into the Hall of Fame, and how he was rarely removed for a reliever.

Nichols was a dominant force from the start. As a 20 year old rookie in 1890, he won 27 games and led the league with seven shutouts. He won at least 21 games each year in the 1890s, and had seven seasons with 30 or more wins. While he was rarely removed for a reliever, Nichols was occasionally used to close out games, retroactively leading the league in saves four times.

As one can imagine, Nichols put together an impressive career with the Beaneaters, as the Braves were called at the time. During his dozen years in Boston, he posted a stellar 329-183 record, along with a 3.00 ERA and a 1.234 WHiP. He struck out 1680 batters in 4549 innings, and was renowned for his control, issuing only 1163 walks. Of his 502 starts, Nichols completed 476, an impressive amount.

He was an impressive workhorse during that time as well. He threw over 300 innings in all but one of his seasons in Boston, and topped the 400 inning mark five times. Despite his heavy workload, and how many games he completed, Nichols claimed that he never had a sore arm from pitching. In fact, the only time he recalled his arm hurting was after counting 30,000 tickets at the Polo Grounds, when he worked as a ticket taker during a game he was not playing in.

Kid Nichols was one of the greatest pitchers of the 19th century. His performance still places him amongst the best players in Braves history.