Justice made his major league debut in May 1989, playing for the last-place Atlanta Braves. The then 23-year-old right fielder earned the starting job after Braves fan favorite Dale Murphywas traded to the Philadelphia Phillies. Justice promptly went on an offensive tear during the second half of the 1990 season, finishing with 28 home runs, which helped him claim the National League‘s Rookie of the Year Award. In 1991, the upstart Braves surged to the top of their division and Justice was leading the National League in runs batted in when he was sidelined by a nagging back injury in June. He finished with 87 runs batted in despite the injury and played in his first World Series.
After seeing his production slide slightly in 1992, Justice enjoyed a solid 1993 season. He clubbed 40 home runs and 120 runs batted in (RBIs) with 78 walks, finishing third in MVP voting behind Barry Bonds and Lenny Dykstra. Justice was batting .313 with a .427 on-base percentage and .531 slugging average when the strike ended play in 1994.
In 1995, Justice helped his Braves to the World Series against the Cleveland Indians. Justice ended up a hero when his crucial home run in Game 6 provided the only run in a 1–0 game that clinched the championship.
Before the 1997 season, the Braves traded Justice to the Cleveland Indians for outfielder Kenny Lofton and relief pitcher Alan Embree. He hit .329 with a .418 OBP and .596 slugging average in 1997, with 33 home runs, while making another World Series appearance. He posted solid numbers in 1998 and 1999 with the Cleveland Indians. In 2000, he hit a combined .286 with a .377 OBP and .584 slugging average, and slugged 41 home runs with 118 RBIs.
New York Yankees
The Yankees traded Justice to the New York Mets on December 7, 2001 who then sent him to the Oakland Athletics on December 14th. He played a final season on an Oakland team which reached the playoffs in 2002 and was named the American League Player of the Week for the first week of the season.
Justice finished his career with a .279 batting average, with a .378 OBP and .500 slugging percentage, 305 home runs, 903 walks and 1,017 RBIs in 1,610 games. From 1991 to his last season in 2002, Justice’s teams made the postseason every year (with the exception of the strike-shortened 1994 season). Of those times, he made the World Series six times, winning twice. He is in the top ten in a number of career postseason categories, such as at-bats, games played, hits, and home runs.
On May 9, 1994, Justice was listed in People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People” issue (Vol. 41 No. 17).
In March 2007, it was announced that Justice would be inducted into the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame. He was the first member of any of the Braves’ fourteen consecutive division title teams (1991–2005, excluding the strike-shortened season in 1994) to be inducted in the Braves Hall of Fame.