Milwaukee clears the way for the Boston Braves to become the Milwaukee Braves (March 17, 1953)

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It is March 17, 1953. A very good deal is about to happen. The Milwaukee County Board, which oversees County Stadium, tears up their three-year deal with its minor league team and offers the use of the ballpark to the Boston Braves at the reduced rate of $1,000 for the first two years. In exchange, the city would receive five percent of the gate receipts and the majority of the concession sales for the initial three seasons.

Even before it was completed, the new “Milwaukee County Municipal Stadium” drew the interest of major league clubs. The St. Louis Browns, who had played in Milwaukee in 1901, the inaugural season of the American League, applied for permission to relocate back to the city they had left half a century before. The Boston Braves, the parent club of the Brewers, blocked the proposed move. The Braves had long been struggling at the gate in Boston, and rumors of them relocating had been floating for some time. The move to keep Milwaukee available as a new home indicated to many observers that the Braves would move to Milwaukee themselves.

Three weeks before the beginning of the 1953 season, and right before the new stadium was ready to open, the Braves made it official, applying for permission to relocate. The other National League owners agreed, with the team becoming the Milwaukee Braves. The Braves’ first regular season home game was on April 14 against the St. Louis Cardinals. Bill Bruton hit a 10th inning home run to win the game (3-2) in dramatic style. In their first season in Milwaukee, the Braves set the National League attendance record of 1.8 million. The first published issue of Sports Illustrated on August 16, 1954, featured County Stadium and batter Eddie Mathews on its cover.

On July 12, 1955, County Stadium hosted the 22nd All-Star Game. The National League won, 6–5, on a 12th-inning home run by Stan Musial. The Braves hosted back-to-back World Series in 1957 and 1958, both against the New York Yankees. The Braves defeated the Yankees in seven games in 1957, but the Yankees returned the favor the next year.

The stadium continued to be the National League’s top draw until 1959 when the Dodgers, who had moved to Los Angeles two years before, overtook the Braves (both in the stands and on the field). In the early 1960s attendance fell, along with the Braves’ standings, amid an unstable ownership situation. The Milwaukee Braves used the stadium through the 1965 season when new owners, seeking a larger television market, moved the team to Atlanta.

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Jim Thorpe can’t help the Boston Braves (1919)

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1919 saw a very slight improvement from the previous year. The Boston Braves, under manager George Stallings, finished sixth with a 57-82 record. It was Stallings 7th season. They were only 38 games behind the leader.

Now to take a shot at things, they acquired the “worlds greatest athlete”, Olympic champion Jim Thorpe. The still finished sixth. Yee gads!

Now the challenge was that Thorpe wasn’t really a baseball player. He was a big name but he wasn’t going to win any games for Boston. The got him on May 21 from the Giants. He came over for the waiver price of $1,500. He ended the year for a .327 average but couldn’t hit a curve ball. He didn’t play any more baseball after 1919 and devoted himself to pro football.

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Willie Mays hits a homer off of Warren Spahn in the bottom of the 16th (July 2, 1963)

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It was July 2, 1963. Even though it is July, they are playing at Candlestick Park so it probably wasn’t hot. 15,921 were in attendance at the start. Wonder how many stayed to the end.

In one of baseball’s most memorable pitching duels, Giants’ right-hander Juan Marichal and the Braves’ southpaw Warren Spahn both hurl 15 scoreless innings before Willie Mays ends the marathon contest with a homer off Spahnie in the bottom of the 16th giving San Francisco a 1-0 win.

I can’t imagine pitching 16 innings. Now that is a feat in and of itself. And then to loose. Ouch.

Hank Aaron would go 0 for 6 that day. Not much help from Hammerin’ Hank will not get you too far.

Here are the results for the game.

Milwaukee Braves Table
Batting AB R H RBI BB SO PA BA SLG OPS
Lee Maye LF 6 0 0 0 1 0 7 .246 .400 .693
Frank Bolling 2B 7 0 2 0 0 0 7 .223 .295 .570
Hank Aaron RF 6 0 0 0 1 1 7 .312 .584 .970
Eddie Mathews 3B 2 0 0 0 0 2 2 .247 .416 .796
Denis Menke 3B 5 0 2 0 0 1 5 .237 .343 .635
Norm Larker 1B 5 0 0 0 2 0 7 .189 .262 .582
Mack Jones CF 5 0 1 0 0 2 5 .225 .346 .670
Don Dillard PH-CF 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .239 .375 .652
Del Crandall C 6 0 2 0 0 0 6 .181 .219 .469
Roy McMillan SS 6 0 0 0 0 0 6 .222 .347 .615
Warren Spahn P 6 0 1 0 0 3 6 .167 .292 .507
Team Totals 55 0 8 0 4 10 59 .145 .164 .367
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/11/2017.

Warren Spahn – Milwaukee Braves

Native son Tony Kubek hits two home runs in the 9-3 rout of the hometown Braves (October 5, 1957)

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On October 5, 1957, in the first World Series game ever played in Milwaukee, native son Tony Kubek hits two home runs in the 9-3 rout of the hometown Braves, that puts his Bronx Bombers ahead two games to one in the Fall classic.

The Yankee shortstop becomes the second rookie to hit two round-trippers in a Fall Classic game, a feat first accomplished by Charlie Keller, who hit a pair of homers in Game 3 in 1939.

The 1957 Milwaukee Braves season was the fifth in Milwaukee and the 87th overall season of the franchise. It was the year that the team won its first and only World Series championship while based in Milwaukee. The Braves won 95 games and lost 59 to win the National League pennant by eight games over the second-place St. Louis Cardinals.

The club went on to the 1957 World Series, where they faced the New York Yankees. Pitcher Lew Burdette was the star and Most Valuable Player, winning three games, including the crucial seventh game played in New York City.

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“I’m married to football, baseball is my girlfriend.” ~Deion Sanders

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This is a great quote and I think it tells the story.

“I’m married to football,” Sanders said in a 1989 Sports Illustrated cover story. “Baseball is my girlfriend.”

Read more here: Deion Sanders’ Career in Baseball, Potential | The MMQB with Peter King

Rabbit enlists in the Navy and the Braves slid continues (1918)

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The slide continued for the Boston Braves in 1918. With a 53-71 record, they finished seventh, 28 1/2 games behind under the leadership of George Stallings. This was Stallings 6th year at the helm.

They started the year without Rabbit Maranville. Rabbit had enlisted in the Navy. Amazingly enough though, he did play during his 10-day leave. Incredibly he hit .316 in 11 games and didn’t strike out in 38 at bats. I guess the reprieve from the Navy suited him well.

Of course many teams were losing players to the war effort. One underutilized outfielder, Larry Chappell, didn’t return from the war, dying of influenza at an army camp during the winter. Larry was on 27 at the time. In May 1916, the Braves purchased him, and in 53 at-bats with them he hit .226. Overall, Chappell hit .218 with nine RBI and two stolen bases in 1916. Chappell played his final season in 1917, appearing in four games for the Braves, collecting no hits in two at-bats. He played his final game on April 25. Overall, Chappell hit .226 with no home runs, 26 RBI and nine stolen bases in 109 career games. He walked 25 times and struck out 42 times.

The war also shortened the season. In July, the leagues voted to end the season on September 2, Labor Day. The Braves were probably happy to leave early. They had lost 15 games in a row, only to win the last game of the season against the Giants.

Rabbit Maranville

Tim Hudson is one of the greatest Atlanta Braves players of the 2,000’s

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After spending his college years at Chattahoochee Valley Community College and Auburn University, Tim Hudson played in the major leagues for the Oakland Athletics (1999–2004), the Atlanta Braves (2005–13) and the San Francisco Giants (2014–15). With the Giants, he won the 2014 World Series over the Kansas City Royals, giving him his only world title.

During his 17-season career, Hudson established himself as one of baseball’s most consistent pitchers and until 2014 had never had a season where he suffered more losses than wins. Hudson was also named an All-Star four times: twice with Oakland, once with Atlanta, and once with San Francisco.

Before retiring in 2015, Hudson was the winningest active Major League pitcher, as well as one of four active pitchers with at least 200 career wins. With a win against the Oakland A’s on July 26, 2015, he has won a game against every team in the majors, the 15th pitcher to do so.

Hudson is one of twenty-one pitchers in Major League history to win at least 200 games, strikeout 2,000 batters and have a win-loss percentage above 0.600. Of those twenty-one, fourteen are in the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Before the 2005 season, Hudson was traded to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for Charles Thomas, Dan Meyer, and Juan Cruz. On August 6, 2005, Hudson won his 100th career game, defeating the St. Louis Cardinals 8–1.

In January 2006, Hudson was named to the Team USA roster for the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

His second season with the Braves was disappointing. He posted career-highs in losses  and ERA (4.86) in 2006. He returned to his earlier form in 2007 however, finishing with a 16–10 record and a 3.33 ERA. He was in the midst of a 9-game winning streak, the second of his career, at one point in the season. Hudson struck out a career-high 12 batters on April 25 against the Florida Marlins.

Hudson is one of only 7 ballplayers who pitched in the NL in 2007 who won at least 12 games in each year from 2004–07, the others being Carlos Zambrano, Greg Maddux, Roy Oswalt, Jason Marquis, Derek Lowe, and Jeff Suppan.

On August 2, 2008, Hudson revealed that he would undergo Tommy John ligament transplant surgery on his pitching elbow, and missed the remainder of the 2008 season. He started the 2009 season on the 60-day DL, and did not play prior to the All Star break. On July 2, 2009, he threw a 90-pitch bullpen session and Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox said: “He’s ready to go. … He’s really come along. He’s got major-league stuff right now, his normal stuff.” But Cox added that the Braves would not rush the timetable on Hudson’s return, which was scheduled for mid- to late-August. Hudson’s first minor-league rehab start was tentatively scheduled for July 19 at Class A Myrtle Beach. After completing several minor league rehab sessions, Hudson returned to the Atlanta Braves starting pitching rotation on September 1, 2009. He gave up only two runs and earned his first win of the 2009 season.

On November 12, 2009, Hudson signed a $28 million, three-year extension with the Braves with a $9 million option for a fourth year. On August 28, 2010 against the Florida Marlins, Hudson set a career high in strikeouts with 13.

On October 5, 2010, Hudson was awarded the 2010 NL Comeback Player of the Year award.

On June 20, 2011, in Atlanta, Hudson hit his second career home run, a two-run home run which provided the only scoring of the game in a 2–0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. On the same day, he got his 1,600th strikeout in the top of the fifth inning against J. P. Arencibia. On July 15, 2011, Hudson was the winning pitcher in the Braves’ 10,000th win in franchise history.

Hudson went 16–7 with a 3.62 ERA in 2012. On October 30, 2012, Hudson had his $9 million option exercised by the Braves.

On April 30, 2013, Hudson became the 113th major league pitcher to reach 200 wins, with an 8-1 victory over the Washington Nationals at Turner Field. Hudson went 7 innings, giving up only 3 hits and 1 run while recording 6 strikeouts and 2 walks. Hudson also went 2 for 3 at the plate with a double and a home run. On July 24, 2013, Hudson was pitching a 4-hit shutout against the New York Mets when Eric Young, Jr., who was trying to beat a throw to first base, accidentally stepped on Hudson’s leg above the ankle. This resulted in an ankle fracture that ended Hudson’s 2013 season. After the season, Hudson became a free agent. His record with the Braves was 113–72 with an ERA of 3.56.

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Braves play their ninth double header in a row (September 15, 1928

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On September 15, 1928 the Boston Braves play their ninth consecutive doubleheader. Now that is a lot of work.

The streak, which began on September 4th, sees the team lose five in a row, including four to the Giants.

Here is the box score of the second game against Chicago Cubs at Boston Braves Box Score, September 15, 1928. The Braves lost 6-1. Lance Richbourg scored the lone Braves run.

Boston Braves Table
Batting AB R H RBI BB SO PA BA
Lance Richbourg RF 3 1 1 0 0 1 4 .336
Jack Smith CF 3 0 1 1 1 0 4 .267
George Sisler 1B 4 0 1 0 0 0 4 .338
Rogers Hornsby 2B 3 0 1 0 1 0 4 .382
Eddie Brown LF 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 .272
Les Bell 3B 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 .262
Doc Farrell SS 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 .202
Al Spohrer C 2 0 0 0 1 0 3 .228
Ed Brandt P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .254
   Foster Edwards P 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .100
   Charlie Fitzberger 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .500
   Bill Clarkson P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
   Virgil Barnes P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .077
   Kent Greenfield P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .061
   Howard Freigau 0 0 0 0 1 0 1 .246
   Clay Touchstone P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Team Totals 28 1 4 1 4 2 33 .143
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 11/25/2017.

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Former Atlanta Braves GM John Coppolella given lifetime ban from baseball (November 21, 2017)

Well, we knew it wouldn’t be good news for Atlanta Braves GM John Coppoelella. A lifetime ban is a big deal but will it stick?

Even two of baseball’s biggest icons were once handed lifetime bans. But for Mickey Mantle  and Willie Mays, it had nothing to do with their playing careers. Then-commissioner Bowie Kuhn banned the duo after they began working as greeters for casinos in Atlantic City. Kuhn was rankled by the gambling connection when he handed down the ban, which was reversed two years later by Peter Ueberroth.

Arguably the most infamous scandal in baseball history, the Chicago White Sox throwing of the 1919 World Series led to lifetime bans for eight players. “Shoeless” Joe was the most controversial of the bunch, given that he rocked a .375 average in the series and maintained his innocence. None of the eight have been reinstated.

This is perhaps baseball’s best-known lifetime ban — if only because Pete Rose makes sure we don’t forget about him. Managing the Cincinnati Reds after years starring for them, Pete Rose was booted from the game in 1989 for gambling on baseball. He’s made four bids for reinstatement, all denied, eventually coming clean about his misdeeds in 2004 (with a tell-all book and publicity tour, of course.) Still, baseball’s all-time hits king remains out of baseball and out of the Hall of Fame.

Texas Rangers pitcher Ferguson Jenkins was thrown out of baseball by commissioner Bowie Kuhn after getting caught with a small array of recreational drugs during a customs search in Toronto. Like Kuhn’s other two lifetime bans, Jenkins’ was overturned. In fact, he was back playing the very next season and was elected to the Hall of Fame 11 years later.

Steve Howe took baseball by storm, winning Rookie of the Year in 1980, saving the clinching game of the 1981 World Series and making the All-Star team in 1982. But after that, there was all sorts of trouble — well, one sort of trouble (drugs) and all sorts of suspensions (seven). He was handed a lifetime ban in 1992, but managed to win an appeal and get reinstated. His return was short-lived; he was out of the game by 1996. Howe died in 2006 after his truck flipped in Coachella, Calif.

The only woman to have received a lifetime ban, former Cincinnati Reds owner Marge Schott made the list when Bud Selig gave her the boot in 1996 for disparaging comments about African-Americans, Asians, Jews and homosexuals. She also expressed her support for the policies of Adolf Hitler (Schott said he “was good in the beginning, but went too far.”) Schott was reinstated in 1998, but sold the team a year later and died in 2005 at age 75.

Even The Boss can get banned. George Steinbrenner was kicked out by commissioner Fay Vincent in 1990 for hiring a private investigator to dig up dirt on his own player (Dave Winfield). Bud Selig reinstated Steinbrenner three years later and he stayed in the game until 2006, when he turned the Yankees over to his sons.

So now former Atlanta Braves General Manager John Coppolella is banned from working in professional baseball for life (announced Tuesday, November 21, 2017) over rule violations the club committed in signing international players.

Coppolella was forced to resign as general manager on Oct. 2 after MLB investigators disclosed that the Braves had flouted international signing rules between 2015 and 2017. Former Braves Special Assistant Gordon Blakeley, the team’s international scouting chief, was suspended from performing services for any team for one year.

Braves’ Maddux drops first Opening-Day start (March 31, 2003)

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Baseball’s road warriors, the Montreal Expos, started with a win, appropriately, on the road.

The Expos sent Greg Maddux to his first Opening-Day loss, defeating the Atlanta Braves 10-2 on Monday behind Jeff Liefer’s four RBI and Orlando Cabrera’s two-run homer. Maddux, 6-0 with a 1.66 ERA in seven previous Opening-Day starts, gave up four runs in the first inning. The four-time NL Cy Young Award winner went seven innings, giving up five runs — four earned — and nine hits.

Tony Armas Jr., in his first Opening-Day start, allowed one run and five hits in six innings to get the win for the vagabond Expos.

“It’s a good way to start,” Montreal manager Frank Robinson said. “We didn’t have a particularly good road record last year, and it’s something we talked about this spring. We have to improve this year on that.”

Greg Maddux

 

Matt Kemp hits 3 HRs, powers Braves to fourth straight victory (April 29, 2017)

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Matt Kemp had a night like he had never had in his career. He was more than happy to share the good vibes.

Kemp homered three times and drove in five runs to help the surging Atlanta Braves pound the Milwaukee Brewers 11-3 on April 29.

“It was everybody’s night,” he said. “Everybody was swinging the bat well. That’s a good sign for us.”

Rogers Hornsby has one season for the Braves (1928)

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Rogers Hornsby played for the Braves as a second baseman in 1928. Hornsby was born in Winters, Texas on April 27, 1896. He passed away on January 5, 1963.

Hornsby was very, very talented. Talented enough that he won the batting title in his first year and was so controversial that he was traded at the end of the season.

Only nine men in Braves history have led the National League in hitting. Hornsby was the first in the 20th century to do so. He hit .361, second in the league for the Giants.

Where did that get him? Traded to the Braves. The New York manager knew what was going on. He wasn’t going to put up with it, no matter how good Hornsby was.n He was traded for Shanty Hogan, a very promising catcher and Jimmy Welsh, a so-so outfielder.

The Braves would learn the same lesson. Fortunately, it only took them one season.

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Rogers Hornsby – 1928

The Braves print tickets and almost go to the series (1916)

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George Stallings entered his fourth season as manager for Boston Braves in 1916. They finished third, four games behind with a record of 89-63. Not a bad season continuing to decline from the miracle performance of 1914.

The World Series was back at Braves Field in 1916 but it was the Boston Red Sox who played not the Braves.

It would have been very special if it was an all Beantown series. It came close to happening. The Braves were in first as late as September 4th. The were close enough that they even printed tickets up. They weren’t eliminated until October 2 with only 2 games left to play.

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Braves name Alex Anthopoulos as next general manager (2017)

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Hoping this is very good news. We need some help and he has a very good track record.

The Braves are in deep with the league over rules violations in connection with the signing of international players. They are still likely facing big penalties for that and, for the time being, remain in limbo. While there were some noises coming out of Atlanta about who, possibly, might take over as the next general manager, they were decidedly muted.

The big potential move — luring Dayton Moore back to Atlanta from Kansas City — was blocked by Royals owner David Glass who would not grant the Braves permission to interview him. The remaining names bandied about as a replacement GM were less-than-inspiring. Dan Jennings? Ugh.

It appeared as if Atlanta was going to enter this week’s General Manager Meetings with placeholder GM John Hart at the helm. Given that he was likely to be pushed aside eventually, the Braves offseason looked pretty bleak.

According to FoxSports “The Atlanta Braves named Alex Anthopoulos as their new general manager and executive vice president on Monday afternoon — a masterstroke hire for an organization looking to climb out of offseason turmoil and rejoin Major League Baseball’s first class.

“Landing the former Toronto Blue Jays general manager and current Dodgers vice president of baseball operations ends the search for John Coppolella’s replacement and installs long-term leadership in Atlanta, answering waves of offseason question marks surrounding the front office.

“Anthopoulos, 40, will take over baseball operations with “full control” of baseball operations. He signed a four-year contract through the 2021 season.”

Source: Braves to name Alex Anthopoulos as next general manager

Tommy Thevenow is traded to the Boston Bees (January 6, 1937)

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On January 6, 1937 the Giants purchase the services of Tommy Thevenow from the Reds. The shortstop will never see action for New York, when the team trades the 33 year-old to the Bees (Braves) for infielder Billy Urbanski, who will also never play a game for the club.

Thevenow epitomized the good-fielding / weak-hitting shortstops that prevailed in the era, ending his career with a fielding percentage of .947, but a batting average of .248 while hitting only two home runs in his 15-year career.

He hit two home runs in 1926, both inside-the-park home runs, and then never hit another home run in his next 12 seasons, setting a major league record of 3,347 consecutive at bats without a home run.

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As a catcher, Ernie Lombardi becomes an All-Star and batting champ winner (1942)

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1942 Reds general manager Warren Giles announces the team has traded veteran catcher Ernie Lombardi to the Boston Braves for two players to be named later.

The 33 year-old future Hall of Famer will hit .330 during his one season with his new team, capturing the batting crown, a feat that will not be repeated by a catcher until 2006 when Twins backstop Joe Mauer leads the American League.

He became an All-Star and led the NL and Braves that season with a .330 batting average (albeit, in only 309 at-bats). As of 2017, Lombardi remains only one of three NL catchers to win a batting title (the others are Cincinnati Reds catcher Bubbles Hargrove in 1926 and SF Giants catcher Buster Posey in 2012). His final All-Star selection was during the 1943 season.

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After the miracle of 1914, the Braves couldn’t repeat in 1915

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Following the miracle of 1914, was it a fluke? Could the Braves repeat?

It was George Stallings 3rd year as manager. While they couldn’t repeat, they did come in second, 7 games behind the leader with a 83-69 record.

It was a year of injury and illness. Johnny Evers, the league’s MVP in 1914, hurt his ankle sliding. He had to be carried off the field. The injury on April 18 took him out for over two months. Not good timing early in the season.

The biggest blow came to their ace pitcher from 1914. “Seattle Bill” James led the league in winning percentage the year before. He had 26 victories in 1914. He got ill (developed a sore arm) and had to spend the season at home. Ouch!

James pitched in 33 fewer games and won 21 less games. At age 23, his career was over.

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Jeff Francouer, “Frenchy”, played around a lot (Braves from 2005 – 09)

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Jeff Francouer,  known as”Frenchy”, has played around. Starting off with the Braves for a while (2005 to 2009) and then the Mets, Rangers, Royals, Giants, Padres, Phillies, Braves again and Marlins.

His career started off great in 2005, but the end wasn’t as good for Francouer.

On the day that his Sports Illustrated cover came out, Jeff Francoeur learned just how hard the major leagues could be.

It was Aug. 22, 2005, and as Francoeur and his Atlanta Braves got ready to play the Cubs in Chicago, the then-21-year-old outfielder was being billed to the world as “THE NATURAL,” the first baseball player to get that treatment from the magazine since Ken Griffey Jr.

And why not? Starting with his major league debut on July 7, Francoeur had played like the second coming of Roy Hobbs: a .370 batting average, 10 home runs in 34 games, a starring role on a first-place team. A precocious rookie displaying uncommon power at the plate and brilliant defense in rightfield, the Atlanta-area native seemed to have the majors all figured out.

That night at Wrigley Field, Francoeur received an abrupt course correction when he stepped in against flamethrowing Chicago righthander Carlos Zambrano.

“He was throwing 99 to 100 [mph], [and] he struck me out all three times,” Francoeur said. “And I’m like, okay, now I see what some of these guys can do.”

Still, Francoeur had good stats from 2005-09 and deserves to be a highly ranked player for the Braves.

During his more than four years in Atlanta, he hit .266 with 78 home runs and 359 RBI. He also had 653 hits, with 129 of those being doubles, and he scored 310 runs.

Defensively, he won the Gold Glove in 2007 and had 65 total outfield assists in more than four years.

Standard Batting
Year Age Tm Lg G AB R H HR RBI
2005 21 ATL NL 70 257 41 77 14 45
2006 22 ATL NL 162 651 83 169 29 103
2007 23 ATL NL 162 642 84 188 19 105
2008 24 ATL NL 155 599 70 143 11 71
2009 25 TOT NL 157 593 72 166 15 76
2009 25 ATL NL 82 304 32 76 5 35
2009 25 NYM NL 75 289 40 90 10 41
2010 26 TOT MLB 139 454 52 113 13 65
2010 26 NYM NL 124 401 43 95 11 54
2010 26 TEX AL 15 53 9 18 2 11
2011 27 KCR AL 153 601 77 171 20 87
2012 28 KCR AL 148 561 58 132 16 49
2013 29 TOT MLB 81 245 20 50 3 17
2013 29 KCR AL 59 183 19 38 3 13
2013 29 SFG NL 22 62 1 12 0 4
2014 30 SDP NL 10 24 2 2 0 1
2015 31 PHI NL 118 326 34 84 13 45
2016 32 TOT NL 125 307 33 78 7 34
2016 32 ATL NL 99 257 29 64 7 33
2016 32 MIA NL 26 50 4 14 0 1
12 Y 12 Y 12 Y 12 Y 1481 5260 626 1373 160 698
162 162 162 162 162 575 68 150 18 76
G AB R H HR RBI
ATL ATL ATL ATL 730 2710 339 717 85 392
KCR KCR KCR KCR 360 1345 154 341 39 149
NYM NYM NYM NYM 199 690 83 185 21 95
SFG SFG SFG SFG 22 62 1 12 0 4
PHI PHI PHI PHI 118 326 34 84 13 45
TEX TEX TEX TEX 15 53 9 18 2 11
SDP SDP SDP SDP 10 24 2 2 0 1
MIA MIA MIA MIA 26 50 4 14 0 1
NL ( NL ( NL ( NL ( 1105 3862 463 1014 119 538
AL ( AL ( AL ( AL ( 375 1398 163 359 41 160
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/22/2017.

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George Stallings makes a difference as manager (1913)

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The Braves 1913 were stunningly horrible, except for one thing. They had a 69-82 record finishing 5th, 31 1/2 games behind. It was the first year for the new manager, George Stallings, and what a change he would make for the Braves.

In 1914, he would earn the title of “The Miracle Man”.

When Stallings took over in 1913, he was the teams eighth manager in seven seasons. No one had held the job for two years in a row since Fred Tenney in 1906-07.

The Braves had finished last in four consecutive seasons, averaging 104 losses and 55 1/2 games out of first.

He would improve things, in 1913, by three places and 20 1/2 games in standings. The fifth place finish was its highest in 11 years.

Managerial Stats Table
Rk Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L%
1 1897 29 Philadelphia Phillies NL 55 77 .417
2 1898 30 Philadelphia Phillies NL 19 27 .413
3 1901 33 Detroit Tigers AL 74 61 .548
4 1909 41 New York Highlanders AL 74 77 .490
5 1910 42 New York Highlanders AL 78 59 .569
6 1913 45 Boston Braves NL 69 82 .457
7 1914 46 Boston Braves NL 94 59 .614
8 1915 47 Boston Braves NL 83 69 .546
9 1916 48 Boston Braves NL 89 63 .586
10 1917 49 Boston Braves NL 72 81 .471
11 1918 50 Boston Braves NL 53 71 .427
12 1919 51 Boston Braves NL 57 82 .410
13 1920 52 Boston Braves NL 62 90 .408
Philadelphia Phillies 74 104 .416
Detroit Tigers 74 61 .548
New York Highlanders 152 136 .528
Boston Braves 579 597 .492
879 898 .495
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/22/2017.
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‘Slidin’ Billy Hamilton sets a record with 83 stolen bases (1896)

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1900 is generally considered the start of the modern era in baseball. So how do you evaluate players before then to players today? Not easily is the answer.

Billy Hamilton was a center fielder for the Boston Beaneaters (Braves) from 1896 to 1901. Billy was born in Newark, NJ on February 16, 1866.

As a pre-modern league player, it is easy to say he would be a star today. He set many base stealing records that stood until Lou Brock and Ricky Henderson came along and broke them.

Hamilton, a Hall of Famer, was known as “Slidin’ Billy”. Now this is amazing. He is the only player in history to have more lifetime runs scored than games played.

Although the rules changed, Hamilton held both career (937) and single season (115) stolen base records until Brock and Henderson broke them.

In his first year (he was 30 at the time) with Boston in 1896, he stole 83 bases. A record that still stands.

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Fred Frankhouse is the only bright spot (1935)

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Image result for fred frankhouseWhen you can win games on the worst team in the history of the Braves, that deserves a note. Not a footnote but a note.

Fred Frankhouse played for the Braves and the Bees from 1930-35 and 1939. He was a right handed pitcher born on April 9, 1904.

The 1935 Braves were flat out horrible. They lost a modern day record of 115 games. That was a record of .248, the worst in franchise history.

What about Frank? He managed to win 11 games and finish with a .423 record. Not bad all things considered. No other Braves pitcher won more than 8 games in 1935 and only one other, Bob Smith, managed to win more than five.

His specialty pitch was “the old roundhouse curve”, and he was often referred to as a “spitballer” during his career as a pitcher.  Frankhouse pitched in Babe Ruth’s final game that year.

Standard Pitching
Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G
1927 23 STL NL 5 1 .833 2.70 6
1928 24 STL NL 3 2 .600 3.96 21
1929 25 STL NL 7 2 .778 4.12 30
1930 26 TOT NL 9 9 .500 5.87 35
1930 26 STL NL 2 3 .400 7.32 8
1930 26 BSN NL 7 6 .538 5.61 27
1931 27 BSN NL 8 8 .500 4.03 26
1932 28 BSN NL 4 6 .400 3.56 37
1933 29 BSN NL 16 15 .516 3.16 43
1934 30 BSN NL 17 9 .654 3.20 37
1935 31 BSN NL 11 15 .423 4.76 40
1936 32 BRO NL 13 10 .565 3.65 41
1937 33 BRO NL 10 13 .435 4.27 33
1938 34 BRO NL 3 5 .375 4.04 30
1939 35 BSN NL 0 2 .000 2.61 23
13 Y 13 Y 13 Y 13 Y 106 97 .522 3.92 402
162 162 162 162 12 11 .522 3.92 44
BSN BSN BSN BSN 63 61 .508 3.88 233
STL STL STL STL 17 8 .680 4.05 65
BRO BRO BRO BRO 26 28 .481 3.94 104
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 10/18/2017.

Freddie Freeman of Atlanta Braves calls Milwaukee Brewers’ Miller Park ‘bad-lit Little League field’ (April 29, 2017)

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Atlanta Braves first baseman Freddie Freeman looked forward to the 2017 series finale against Milwaukee on April 29. It was mostly because he was apparently tired of playing at the Brewers’ Miller Park.

Miller Park was completed in 2001 as a replacement for Milwaukee County Stadium. The park is located just southwest of the intersection of Interstate 94 and Miller Park Way. The title sponsor is the Miller Brewing Company. Miller’s contract with the stadium was for $40 million, and runs until 2020.

It is unique in that features North America’s only fan-shaped convertible roof, which can open and close in less than 10 minutes. Large panes of glass allow natural grass to grow, augmented with heat lamp structures wheeled out across the field during the off-season.

I remember the original domed stadium, the Astrodome, in Houston. They didn’t have a convertible roof and thought the grass would grow anyway. It didn’t, thus creating Astroturf.

Speaking before the Braves’ 11-3 win, Freeman was critical of the stadium.

“I think it’s a bad-lit Little League field,” Freeman said, according to the Atlanta Journal Constitution. “I can’t see anything here.”

You have to love the honesty.

The Beaneaters and a season of lasts (1906)

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1906 would be a year of lasts for the Beaneaters. With a 49-102 record, the Beaneaters would finish last. An astonishing 66 1/2 games behind the leader. They would also be last in hitting, pitching and fielding. This was also the last year they would be called the Beaneaters. It was Fred Tenney’s second season as manager and what a disaster he oversaw.

This was the first time the Braves had ever finished last. The team had a batting average of 226, a staff ERA of 3.14 and a composite fielding percentage of .947. And amazingly, for the second year in a row, four 20 game losers for pitchers.

Opening day was a highlight however. This is rare. Johnny Bates is a rookie outfielder. At his first at bat, he hits a homer. This is first time a rookie player had hit a home run in his first at bat.  In addition, Irv Young had a great outing pitching. He threw a one-hitter. The Beaneaters won, beating Brooklyn 2-0.

They should have stopped there. Embarrassment only followed for the next six months.

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John Morrill takes Harry Wright’s place as manager (1882)

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John Morrill

John Morrill – Boston manager 1882

1882 brought  the first time that the Boston Red Caps (now the Atlanta Braves) would change managers. Harry Wright was out. John Morrill was in. This would be the first of many managerial changes over the years.

As a player, he was known as “Honest John”.

The Red Caps improved. They moved up from sixth place the year before to tie for third. A fairly impressive 45-39 record.

Change. It is constant. It is baseball.

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Fred Tenney gets a bonus for losing (1905)

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How low can the Braves (then known as the Boston Beaneaters) go? Pretty low some years.

In 1905 Boston Beaneaters finished seventh with a record of 51-102. That’s right.

They were 54 and 1/2 behind the leader. It was Fred Tenney’s 1st year as manager. What a start that was. Spoiler alert. It would get worse next year.

The owners didn’t do Fred any favors. A veteran Beaneater, he knew what he was getting into.

This was Moneyball in reverse. The owners, Arthur Soden and William Conant were only interested in getting a profit out of the team. They literally told Tenney not to worry about losing. Seriously.

What kind of bonus did the offer him? More money if the team didn’t lose money.

So what did he do? He took them seriously. He even went to climbing into the stands to retrieve balls. He got into a fight with umpire Bill Klem. He accused Klem of keeping balls.

As a side note, Tenney tried to sign William Clarence Matthews, an African-American middle infielder from Harvard University, to a contract. Tenney later retracted his offer due to pressure from the players.

So … Tenney got his bonus and the Braves got worse.

Be careful what you ask for!

Fred Tenney

 

58-80 isn’t a good enough record in anybody’s world (1903)

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1903 was a disastrous year for the Beaneaters. It was Al Buckenberger’s second year as manager. They ended the season in sixth place with a 58-80 record. Ouch!

This would be the first year for what would be known as the modern World Series. A Boston team did win it. It was managed by the former Beaneaters third-base great Jimmy Collins.

Only once before in the Braves short history at this point did the franchise finish with a worse percentage or further from first than they did in 1903. That was way back in 1885 when they ended up with a 46-66 record. Under John Morrill’s leadership they were 41 games behind Chicago.

The Boston team that won the World Series was the Boston Pilgrims, an American League team with former Beaneaters Chick Stahl and Bill Dinneen. They beat Pittsburgh in a best of nine match-up.

As a side note, for years many sources have listed “Pilgrims” as the early Boston AL team’s official nickname, but researcher Bill Nowlin has demonstrated that the name was barely used, if at all, during the team’s early years. The origin of the nickname appears to be a poem entitled “The Pilgrims At Home” written by Edwin Fitzwilliam that was sung at the 1907 home opener (“Rory O’More” melody). This nickname was commonly used during that season, perhaps because the team had a new manager and several rookie players. John I. Taylor had said in December 1907 that the Pilgrims “sounded too much like homeless wanderers.” And so … we now know them as the Boston Red Sox.

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The Beaneaters win the pennant with a 93-39 record (1897)

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Frank Selee is in his 8th season in 1897. The Beaneaters (now known as the Atlanta Braves) radically improve from a fourth place finish in 1896 to first in 1897 with a 93-39 record.

It wasn’t all a bed of roses though. It was, in fact, very tough. Boston didn’t actually clinch the pennant until September 30. They finished just 2 games ahead of Baltimore. They were true adversaries that year.

The Beaneaters had four players headed for the Hall of Fame.

Contrast that with Baltimore. They had won the pennant the previous three years and would end up with five in the Hall of Fame.

Boston had Jimmy Collins, the best third baseman of the day, the amazing pitcher Kid Nichols along with outfielders Hugh Duffy and “slidin’ Billy” Hamilton.

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Is King Kelly really the Captain? (1887)

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So who is in charge of the 1887 Beaneaters (now known as the Atlanta Braves)?

John Morrill had the title of manager. He had the year before as well. It was his 6th year with the title.

King Kelly, newly arrived from Chicago with a $10,000 price tag, was named Captain. Somehow he thought he was in charge. What did the players think? They were confused.

Late in the season, the Triumvers, as the owners were known, recognized they had a problem and gave the title of Captain back to Morrill. A case of “too little, too late”.

The Beaneaters ended the season with a 61-60 record, good enough for fifth place.

Mike “King” Kelly

The Players League decimates the Beaneaters (1890)

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1890 was the year of the Player League. At the time, baseball had a thing known as the reserve clause and the $2,000 salary cap. To protest that, the players started the National Brotherhood of Base Ball Players.

It had a big impact on the Beaneaters (now known as the Atlanta Braves) in that “King” Kelly left the Beaneaters to manage and captain the rival Boston entry in the Players League.

That opened the floodgates. Nine other Beaneaters signed with new league. That included Dan Brouthers who won the batting title the year before. Charles “Old Hoss” Redbourn also left. While near the end of his career, he had a 20 victory season the year before.

Imagine the loss if the 1993 Braves would have lost Tom Glavine, Terry Pendleton, David Justice and seven other players just prior to the season start. That is what the 1890 Beaneaters would face.

The had an 1890 record of 76-57, finishing 5th, 12 games behind. Frank Selee was in his first season. Welcome to the big leagues!

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Frank Selee was on a roll finishing first with a 86-43 record (1893)

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Frank Selee – Boston Beaneaters

1893 would be Frank Selee’s 4th year as manager. He was on a roll. His record would be 86-43 for a first place finish. That would be 5 games ahead of Pittsburgh.

It was another year and another pennant for the Boston Beaneaters. In 1991-93, the Atlanta Braves would come close to winning three consecutive National League pennants only to lose to Philadelphia. 100 years earlier, the Beaneaters (now known as the Braves) accomplished this rare feat. These victories gave Boston an amazing six of the first 18 pennant flags.

There were a couple of big changes in 1893. The split-season format of 1892 was dropped.  Major league baseball had been through a trying experience with the players revolt of 1890 which resulted in the one year operation of the Players’ League, and then the collapse of the American Association after the 1891 season.

The National League picked up four AA cities and expanded from eight teams to 12 for the 1892 season. Consideration was given to adopting a first half and a second half of the season based on an apparently successful experiment in the Eastern League in 1891. It was not a very successful season. As the editor of the Reach Guide stated: “The clubs have this year acknowledged their error in both the double championship and the lengthened season by abolishing both. This year (1893) there will be one continuing season beginning late in April and ending about the first of October.”

The biggest change came to pitching. The pitching distance was moved back five feet to a total of 60 feet, 6 inches in 1893. None of this seemed to effect Boston. By late June, they assumed the lead for good and coasted to the end of the season. They were so good that year that not a single player was released during the season, a National League first.

The Beaneaters win the season pennant on November 11 (1891)

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The 1891 championship took a long time to complete. It wasn’t until November 11 that it was official.

In late September, the New York Giants came to Boston. They were out of the pennant race. They were there for a 5 game series. New York decided to leave a few players at home. They didn’t bring their 2 best pitchers, Amos Rusie and John Ewing. They also didn’t bring their best hitter, Roger Connor.

The Beaneaters swept the five game series on September 30. Chicago, suspecting some collusion filed a protest.

On October 1, Boston clinched the title beating Philadelphia 6-1. That was amazingly their 17th straight win. The next day they won again making it 18 in row.

Because of the protest, the announcement of the champion was delayed until November 11. The protest was denied by the League.

After a long delay the Braves won the pennant.

Boston Beaneaters

Lou Fette wins 20 games as a 30 year old rookie (1937)

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Image result for lou fetteYou are 30 years old. You have repeatedly won in the minors. You’ve been doing it a long time. You probably begin to think you won’t win in the majors. Your fastball isn’t so zippy any longer. You’ve got a good curve ball and control. Clubs are becoming reluctant to take a chance on you.

In 1937, the Boston Bees are pretty hard up for good pitching. There is no money for high priced pitching talent. They decide to pay $3,000 to St. Paul of the American Association for Lou Fette. He had won 25 games in 1936. Most fans did not think this was a good investment and General Manager Bob Quinn would come to regret it.

But he didn’t regret it.

Fette was one of the top pitchers in 1937 winning 20 games. His partner in crime, Jim Turner (a rookie) also won 20 games. It was the only time in history that two rookies won 20 games each for the same team. And it was the Bees. Go figure.

Fette played for the Bees 1937 to 1940 and again in 1945. He was from Alma, Missouri, born on March 15, 1907. He would pass away on January 3, 1981.

Al Dark was Deion Sanders before Deion Sanders (1948)

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Al Dark played for the Braves in 1946, 1948-49 and then again in 1960. Al was born on January 7, 1922 and mainly played shortstop.

1948 was an amazing year for the Braves. Al Dark played a major role in what happened that summer.

We all remember Deion Sanders. Dark did even better being a three sport star at LSU. In addition to his baseball talent, he was the high scorer on the basketball team and a backfield player in football and drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles.

After serving a tour of duty during WWII in the Marines, Dark signed with the Braves for $40k bonus. When Dark joined the Braves, we had not won a pennant since 1914. He was a rookie at age 26.

The Braves would turn the corner in 1948 and Dark led the way. As a rookie he batted .322, fourth in the Majors, and was also third in doubles (39) and fifth in hits (175). He also managed a 23 game hitting streak, equaling the modern (post 1900) rookie record.

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Francisco Cabrera helps the Atlanta Braves win the NL pennant series (1992)

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We all remember Francisco Cabrera. A catcher for the Braves from 1989 to 1993, he batted and threw right handed. Origionally from the Dominican Republic and born on October 10, 1966.

With one swing of the bat, he became my hero.

Perhaps unfairly, he was known as a “good hit/no field” label. Hard to live a label like that down. He was used very irregularly as a catcher. In the 1992 NL pennant series last game, he came off the bench to deliver a stunning, ninth inning hit that won the game. He hit a two out single to left off of Pittsburgh’s Stan Belinda to drive in David Justice and Sid Bream. That ended the NL Championship Series. So there. All done!

What a bases loaded hit it was. This would be the second straight NL pennant. This was the first time in history to win a postseason championship for a team that went from losing to winning on the final pitch.

Cabrera was a reserve. He spent most of 1992 at Triple-A Richmond. He had only 10 major league bats in 1992. His hit brought him instant stardom. He even got a key to the city from Mayor Maynard Jackson.

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Dusty Baker as an Atlanta Brave outfielder (1968 — 1975)

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Dusty Baker became a bitter rival of the Braves but contributed mightily as a player from 1968 to 1975. Dusty was born on June 15, 1949 in Riverside, California. He batted right and threw right.

Dusty kind of got lost in the Hank Aaron era. He was a regular center fielder in 1972 and 1973. He replaced Hank Aaron in right field for most of 1974 when the ‘Hammer cut back on his playing time after hitting number 715 and then again in 1975 when he was traded to Milwaukee.

Baker had a challenging time in Atlanta. In 1972, his first full season in the Majors, he hit a career-high .321. Notice I said career-high. He never repeated that again disappointing many of the fans. In 1973 he batted .288 with 99 RBIs and joined Aaron in the 20-20 club hitting over 20 home runs and stealing over 20 bases. It would take Dale Murphy to do the same again in 1982.

1974 and 1975 saw a big decline in his numbers. Contract discussions became difficult. He became a part of a six person trade the Los Angeles Dodgers. He would flourish there. Go figure!

Some of his career highlights were:

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Dusty Baker – Atlanta Braves

Johnny Antonelli is traded to New York Giants for Bobby Thomson (1953)

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Johnny Antonelli

Johnny Antonelli played with the Braves from 1948 to 1950, again in 1953 and 1961. Born on April 12, 1930 in Rochester, New York, he was a pitcher who batted and threw left.

It isn’t easy to cause a riot in New York City, but Braves General Manager John Quinn nearly accomplished it prior to the 1954 season. Several months later there was a celebration.

The two principles to the deal were Bobby Thomson and the young left handed pitcher Johnny Antonelli. Thompson hit the most dramatic home run in history in 1951.

The Braves needed a power hitting outfielder. The didn’t know that the future all-time home run king (Aaron) was about to make his presence known. So the Braves traded the 23 year old Antonelli to the Giants. That was a tough trade as Antonelli just finished fourth in the National League with a 3.18 ERA in 1953.

Understandably, the Giants were madder than a hornet at losing Thomson, who was coming off a 106 RBI season. It didn’t take long to change their thinking. Antonelli was 21-7 in 1954 and helped propel the Giants to win the NL pennant. He had a winning percentage of .750, 6 shutouts, and an ERA of 2.30. He also won a game in the World Series.

Thomson broke his leg in spring training, leading the Milwaukee Braves to insert Hank Aaron in the line up.

Boston Beaneaters and Frank Selee finish fifth (1895)

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Frank Selee was in his 6th year as manager. He clearly was on a slide in 1895 having finished 1st in 1893, 3rd in 1894 and now 5th in 1895. The Beaneaters ended up 16 and 1/2 games out of 1st place with a 71-60 record. Ouch!

This is the first year that the team would have spring training in the south. While not in Florida yet, Columbia, South Carolina was the spring home. The team left SC feeling they could win the pennant again. Misplaced optimism for sure.

The first half of the season did see them in contention. They actually moved past Pittsburgh and into 1st by beating Louisville on June 11 by a score of 11-0. They then dropped out of the lead on July 3. That was a pretty important time.  The race was a toss up between Boston, Baltimore, Chicago and Pittsburgh. As of July 8, only one game separated the four teams.

A lot would go downhill from there.

Frank Selee – Boston Beaneaters

George Wright leaves the Boston Red Caps for Providence, Rhode Island (1879)

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So, Harry and George Wright parted ways from the Red Caps in 1879. Providence, Rhode Island was eager. They were hungry. They decided they could dethrone Boston from the top of the National League.

How could they do it? They decided to raid their “neighbor’s kitchen”. They decided to split up the Wright brothers.

George Wright was the younger of the two but very talented. He was very popular in Boston. The fans nicknamed him “Our George”. Like most players, he had a price as well as an ego. Providence figured out they could take advantage of that. They wanted to win the pennant.

Providence approach George and he decided to listen. So he bolted for Rhode Island. He didn’t go alone though. He took Jim O’Rourke with him. Jim was Boston’s best hitter.

He also persuaded Lew Brown, a great catcher and outfielder to go as well.

Why did O’Rourke go? He was in a feud with management. He became one of the games first hold outs. He refused to sign a contract. This is how bad it was then for players. He objected to paying $20 a year for the uniform and 50 cents a day for travel expenses. Both sides were suborn and wouldn’t budge. The fans took up a collection to pay for it. O’Rourke left anyway.

The fans were outraged. Who could blame them? They lost three of their best players. And they lost them to an upstart like Providence.

What happened as a result? Providence won the pennant! The Braves ended the season second with a 54-30 record and 5 games behind.

George Wright

John Smoltz – The most beloved pitcher for the Atlanta Braves

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John Smoltz

John Smoltz is probably the most beloved pitcher in Atlanta history.

Consider this, from 2001-08 (injured in 2000), Smoltz started 110 games and finished 204 games.

During that time, he was 55-34 with a 3.04 ERA, 913 strikeouts and had 154 saves in 980.2 innings pitched. He also had a 1.127 ERA.

Furthermore, Smoltz is the only pitcher in baseball history to have 200 wins and 150 saves in his career.

Mighty good in anybody’s book. Not bad for a kid who was the 574th selection of the 1985 draft.

 

Atlanta Braves play in the first ever National League Division play off games (October 3, 1995)

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We are used to it now but it wasn’t that long ago there weren’t Division playoff games in MLB.

The 1995 National League Division Series (NLDS), the opening round of the 1995 National League playoffs, began on Tuesday, October 3, and ended on Saturday, October 7, with the champions of the three NL divisions—along with a “wild card” team—participating in two best-of-five series. As a result of both leagues realigning into three divisions in 1994, it marked the first time in major league history that a team could qualify for postseason play without finishing in first place in its league or division. The teams were:

  • (1) Atlanta Braves (Eastern Division champion, 90–54) vs. (4) Colorado Rockies (Wild Card, 77–67): Braves win series, 3–1.
  • (2) Cincinnati Reds (Central Division champion, 85–59) vs. (3) Los Angeles Dodgers(Western Division champion, 78–66): Reds win series, 3–0.

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Javy Lopez – Atlanta Brave from 1992 to 2003

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Javy Lopez played for the team for four years during the 2000s and was a favorite among Braves’ fans. He was one of my favorites as well since he was a catcher.

On the final out of the 1995 World Series championship season: “I remember Carlos Baerga was at the plate and I called for a fastball away from Mark (Wohlers). We were trying to stay away from the middle of the plate. When it first left his bat I was thinking he hit it hard, but then I saw (center fielder) Marquis (Grissom) pick up on it quickly and knew we had the out. I then remember running to the mound and jumping on Mark. I don’t remember much after that.’’

During that time, he had a .282 average with 95 home runs and 316 RBI. He had 486 hits, scored 225 runs, hit 81 doubles and had a .500 slugging percentage.

The 2003 season saw him bat .318 with 43 home runs and 109 RBI, earning an All-Star selection and a Silver Slugger award.

Behind the plate, he threw out 110 of 349 base stealers, which is a little over a 31 percent success rate.

When Javier “Javy” Lopez was growing up in Puerto Rico, he would practice baseball by hitting rocks off the metal roof of his house in Ponce. The loud noise, which used to drive his parents crazy, would eventually lead to Lopez putting his name in the major league record books for most home runs in a season by a catcher, when he hit 43 in his final season with the Braves in 2003.

After the 2003 season, he signed as a free agent with the Baltimore Orioles.

 

John Smoltz’s — watch him rob old friend Tom Glavine of a hit (April 22, 2007)

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John Smoltz was an amazing pitcher for the Braves. A staple in the Major Leagues for two decades, he spent 16 years pitching alongside fellow Hall of Famer Tom Glavine. They were teammates until Glavine signed with the Mets after the 2002 season.

Glavine was still with the Mets when the two squared off at Shea Stadium on April 22, 2007. It was on that day that Smoltz took the opportunity to show his old friend that he was still as athletic as ever, despite approaching his 40th birthday.

Former Brave Kenny Lofton agrees to a $1.25 million, one-year contract with the White Sox (February 1, 2002)

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Kenny Lofton played for a lot of teams. One of them was the Atlanta Braves in 1997. As an impending free agent in 1996, it was Lofton’s last season with Cleveland before being traded to near the end of spring training 1997 to the Atlanta Braves of the National League. On trading Lofton, Hart said, “We had to make this trade and based on the fact that Lofton could be a free agent at the end of this season. We went through it with Albert Belle last year, and Albert left and we had nothing in return. We were not prepared to do that again.”

Kenny Lofton

 

Fred Hoey award goes to Bobby Doerr (February 2, 1950)

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On February 2, 1950, at a Boston sports writers dinner, infielder Bobby Doerr receives the Fred Hoey Award. Doerr played his entire 14-year baseball career for the Boston Red Sox (1937–51). A nine-time all star, Doerr batted over .300 three times, drove in more than 100 runs six times, and set Red Sox team records in several statistical categories despite missing one season due to military service during World War II. Doerr is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Hoey was a major league baseball broadcaster. Hoey called games for the Boston Braves from 1925–38 and Boston Red Sox from 1927-38.

The scrappy second baseman’s friend and Boston teammate, Ted Williams, surprises the gathering by attending the event wearing a tie.

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Fred Hoey – Broadcaster for the Braves

Bob Wickman traded for Max Ramirez to become a closer for the Braves (July 20, 2006)

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Trying to keep their 14 straight postseason appearances streak intact, the Braves trade Class A catcher Max Ramirez to the Indians for Bob Wickman on July 20, 2006. Wickman then served as Atlanta’s closer, recording his first save on July 24.

Atlanta, winning 12 of 16 to get back into the wild-card race, is hoping the veteran 37 year-old closer can help solve the team’s late inning woes, which includes the bullpen blowing half of that season’s 40 save opportunities.

On September 20, 2006, Wickman signed a one-year $6.5 million contract extension to stay with the Atlanta Braves for the 2007 season.

On August 24, 2007, after giving up a walk-off two run home run to the Reds’ Adam Dunn in extra innings, Wickman complained to manager Bobby Cox about pitching in non-save situations. Consequently, he was released. Bobby just didn’t put up with that kind of stuff. You have to love it.

On September 7, 2007, Wickman signed a contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, a move that signaled that he had backed off his disdain for non-save situations, given that the team had an established closer in José Valverde.

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Bob Wickman – 2006 Atlanta Braves

Freddie Freeman homer sets Atlanta Braves record for times reaching base (April 19, 2017)

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Freddie Freeman had a first-inning walk and third-inning home run on April 19, 2017, against the Nationals to set an Atlanta franchise record by reaching base in 12 consecutive plate appearances, a streak that was snapped when he grounded out in the sixth inning.

Freeman broke the record previously held by Jeff Burroughs in 1978.

Now hear this: The Braves’ rebuild is progressing nicely. Really? I don’t think so.

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As a fan, I want the Braves to win. I want them to win this year. It isn’t going to happen. That is more than frustrating. It doesn’t have to be this way.

I disagree with Mr. Bradley. It isn’t proceeding nicely. It is a bust. Corporate ownership doesn’t get it. There is a huge chasm between building (what they should have done) and rebuilding (gutting the core of the team).

“There are times in every rebuild when progress seems so incremental as to be measured in angstrom units. For the Braves, this is such a time. The glow of being a .500 team in mid-July has yielded to reality.

  • The Bartolo Colon experiment fizzled.
  • Sean Rodriguez played 15 games here.
  • Julio Teheran has been terrible.
  • Swanson, star of Cobb County billboards, was sent to Gwinnett.
  • Johan Camargo, who supplanted Swanson at shortstop, tripped over the foul line.

And yet …

Source: Now hear this: The Braves’ rebuild is progressing nicely. Really | Mark Bradley blog

The new 2012 playoff change does not benefit the Atlanta Braves (March 2, 1012)

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Things change in baseball. Sometimes slowly but they change.

On November 22, 2011, a new contract between Major League Baseball and its players union was ratified, and as a result, an expanded playoff format adding two clubs will be adopted no later than 2013 according to the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

The new format was finalized for the 2012 season on March 2, 2012, and will use the 2–3 game schedule format for the Division Series for the 2012 season only. A new one-game, wild-card round will be added in each league between the teams with the best records who are not division winners.

The new postseason system, which would have allowed the Red Sox and the Braves to avoid their historic collapses. Forced into a one game playoff with Cardinals, the Braves lost 6-3.

The change increases the reward of a winning a division title, but opened the door of the possibility of a third-place team winning the World Series.

Atlanta Braves Logo

Johnny Hutchings gives up 500th career home run to Mel Ott (August 1, 1945)

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Mel Ott 500th Home Run Bal

At the Polo Grounds on August 1, 1945, Mel Ott hits his historic 500th career home run off Braves’ hurler Johnny Hutchings in the Giants’ 9-2 victory over Boston.

‘Master Melvin’ becomes the third major leaguer to accomplish the feat, joining Babe Ruth and Jimmie Foxx in reaching the career milestone.

The Braves would end the 1945 season 67–85 (.441), 30 games behind the Chicago Cubs who led the National League (there were no Divisions then).

Boston Braves Table
Batting AB R H RBI BB SO PA BA OBP
Dick Culler SS 4 1 2 0 0 0 4 .273 .331
Phil Masi C 3 0 1 0 0 1 4 .309 .393
Tommy Holmes RF 4 0 1 1 0 0 4 .368 .447
Joe Medwick 1B 4 0 1 0 0 0 4 .292 .332
Butch Nieman LF 3 0 1 0 1 0 4 .236 .371
Carden Gillenwater CF 4 1 2 0 0 0 4 .295 .389
Chuck Workman 3B 4 0 0 1 0 0 4 .265 .343
Whitey Wietelmann 2B 4 0 1 0 0 0 4 .258 .331
Nate Andrews P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .211 .268
   Johnny Hutchings P 2 0 0 0 0 1 2 .286 .306
   Ed Wright P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000
   Jim Tobin PH 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .157 .314
   Don Hendrickson P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .182 .182
Team Totals 33 2 9 2 1 3 35 .273 .294
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/20/2017.

Game 4 of the World Series, Braves win 7-5 with Eddie Mathews walk off (October 4, 1957)

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In Game 4 on October 6, 1957, Eddie Mathews’ two-run shot off Bob Grim with one out in the bottom of the tenth inning at County Stadium gives the Braves a 7-5 victory, and knots the Fall Classic at two games apiece.

The Milwaukee third baseman becomes the third major leaguer, joining Tommy Henrich (1949) and Dusty Rhodes (1954), to end a World Series game with a walk-off home run.

The Milwaukee Braves would go on to win the World Series over the Yankees. Their only one while in Milwaukee.

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Eddie Mathews