Luis Salazar loses his left eye (March 9, 2011)

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Luis Salazar was airlifted to Orlando Regional Medical Center on March 9, 2011 after being struck in the face by a foul line drive hit by Brian McCann. He was standing in the dugout in the first inning of a Braves’ exhibition game in Lake Buena Vista.

Salazar joined the Atlanta Braves organization in 2011 and was poised to serve as the manager of their Class A-Advanced minor league affiliate, the Lynchburg Hillcats of the Carolina League.

The 54 year-old minor league manager sustains a concussion and will lose his left eye as a result of the injury.

Salazar was inducted into the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Museum Hall of Fame in 2010.

Luis Salazar

Rabbit Maranville starts at $125 a month (1911)

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The third of five children, Walter James Vincent Maranville (Rabbit) was born on November 11, 1891, in Springfield, Massachusetts. His mother was Irish but his father and the Maranville name were French. Walter (then known as “Stumpy” or “Bunty”) attended the Charles Street and Chestnut Street grammar schools and played catcher during his one year at Technical High.

His father, a police officer, allowed him to leave school if he apprenticed for a trade, so at age 15 he quit to become a pipe fitter and tinsmith. To his father’s dismay, Walter devoted less attention to his apprenticeship than he did to baseball. He was playing shortstop for a semipro team in 1911 when Tommy Dowd, manager of the New Bedford Whalers of the New England League, signed him to a contract for $125 per month.

The 19-year-old shortstop batted .227 and committed 61 errors in 117 games. Not sure if that was worth the $125 a month or not.

Jim Thorpe signs as a free agent with the Giants (February 1, 1913)

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Jim Thorpe

Olympic hero Jim Thorpe, turning down an offer from the last-place Browns, signs with the Giants on February 1, 1913, the defending NL champs.

Because the minor league team that last held Jim Thorpe’s contract had disbanded in 1910, he found himself in the rare position of being a sought-after free agent at the major league level during the era of the reserve clause, and thus had a choice of baseball teams for which to play

The Native American, who grew up in the Sac and Fox Nation in Oklahoma, will compile a lifetime .252 batting average during his six seasons in the major leagues, which also includes stints with the Reds and Braves.

His last appearance would be for the Boston Braves on September 25, 1919.

Twenty one innings with a 0-0 tie gets broken up (August 1, 1918)

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Boston Braves Logo

There are long games and then there are very long games. No one scoring a run makes it even worse.

So, on August 1, 1918, the Pirates break the longest scoreless tie in baseball history against the Boston Braves, when the team tallies two runs in the top of the twenty-first inning for an eventual 2-0 victory at Braves Field. The Braves had 15 hits but were unable to score. The lead off hitter, Buck Herzog, had 5 hits but nobody could get him home.

The mark will be matched by Giants and Reds in 1967, when each team is held scoreless for twenty innings, until the decisive run is scored in the next frame on a bases-loaded walk to Dick Groat.

Boston Braves Table
Batting AB R H RBI BB SO BA Details
Buck Herzog 2B 9 0 5 0 1 0 .229
Jim Kelly LF 8 0 1 0 0 1 .207 2·SB,HBP
Red Massey CF 9 0 4 0 0 0 .291
Al Wickland RF 8 0 2 0 1 1 .266
Red Smith 3B 8 0 1 0 0 2 .306 SH
Ed Konetchy 1B 6 0 1 0 3 0 .218
John Henry C 2 0 0 0 1 0 .208
   Tom Miller PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 .000
   Doc Bass PR 0 0 0 0 0 0 1.000 SB
   Art Wilson C 5 0 1 0 0 0 .250
Jimmy Smith SS 7 0 0 0 1 2 .185 HBP
Art Nehf P 7 0 0 0 0 0 .179 SH
   Johnny Rawlings PH 1 0 0 0 0 0 .209
Team Totals 71 0 15 0 7 6 .211
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/13/2017.

Atlanta Braves establish a franchise-record 14th straight victory (May 1, 2000)

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Quilvio Veras

The Braves establish a franchise-record 14th straight victory on May 1, 2000, with a 2-1 victory at Dodger Stadium.

Quilvio Veras’, playing second, third-inning homer proves to be the difference. Signed by the New York Mets as an amateur free agent in 1989, Veras made his Major League Baseball debut with the Florida Marlins on April 25, 1995, and appeared in his final game on July 13, 2001.

Andruw Jones will bat 2-4.

Atlanta Braves Table
Batting AB R H RBI BB SO PA BA OBP SLG OPS
Quilvio Veras 2B 4 2 2 1 0 0 4 .330 .412 .420 .832
Andruw Jones CF 4 0 2 0 0 1 4 .304 .398 .554 .952
Chipper Jones 3B 4 0 1 0 0 0 4 .297 .393 .516 .909
Andres Galarraga 1B 3 0 1 0 1 0 4 .294 .375 .671 1.046
Brian Jordan RF 3 0 0 0 1 1 4 .208 .309 .313 .622
Javy Lopez C 4 0 0 0 0 1 4 .263 .313 .408 .721
Bobby Bonilla LF 3 0 0 0 0 1 3 .292 .346 .521 .867
   Trent Hubbard LF 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 .190 .320 .381 .701
Walt Weiss SS 4 0 0 0 0 1 4 .302 .412 .349 .761
Kevin Millwood P 3 0 0 0 0 3 3 .000 .091 .000 .091
   Rudy Seanez P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
   John Rocker P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Team Totals 33 2 6 1 2 8 35 .182 .229 .303 .532
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/10/2017.

Going into his 20th MLB season, Colon is closing in on Juan Marichal‘s record for most wins by a pitcher from the Dominican Republic

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Going into his 20th MLB season, Bartolo Colon is indeed closing in on Juan Marichal‘s record for most wins by a pitcher from the Dominican Republic.

Colon is sitting on 233 career wins, just 10 behind Marichal’s 243. Are 10 or 11 wins this year obtainable? Certainly

In the six seasons since missing the 2010 season with elbow surgery, Colon has averaged 13 and a third wins per. If the Braves’ offense doesn’t lay an egg every time he’s on the mound (see: Shelby Miller, 2015), then Colon could reach this milestone with the Braves this season.

Also, a fun number to track this year will be his strikeouts.

Colon is currently 135 away from 2,500. Similar to the wins, if he hasn’t lost anything from last year, then this is possible, as well.

Source: Atlanta Braves Veterans Closing In On Significant Milestones

Red Sox keep offense going vs. Braves in spring training (March 3, 2017)

I love spring training. You play teams you don’t normally do in the regular season. You try new players. You see how your regulars are doing. You have some fun.

MLB’s No. 1 prospect Andrew Benintendi recorded four hits, including a two-run single during a six-run fourth inning that propelled the Red Sox to a 9-1 win over the Braves on a great spring day.

Braves ace Julio Teheran looked good. He pitched around some potential trouble over three scoreless innings against the Red Sox non-roster left-hander reliever Sam Freeman, who did not retire any of the seven batters faced during the fourth inning. Allen Craig fueled the uprising with a double and Benintendi chased Freeman with his single.

Teheran gained some assistance from his defense as he made his final start before joining Colombia for the World Baseball Classic. Benintendi sent his second double of the game into the left-center-field gap with none out in the third inning. Marco Hernandez’s bid to score from first was denied when Ender Inciarte quickly got the ball to shortstop Dansby Swanson, who made a strong throw that beat Hernandez to the plate by a few steps.

I got to work with some guys on base and get used to some situations,” Teheran said. “Now I’m ready to go to the [World Baseball Classic] and get ready for the season. I made pitches whenever I needed to and it was really good.

SunTrust Park will have grass on its field this week (March 2, 2017)

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So, one of the things that you need the most in order to play baseball in a ballpark is a grassy playing surface. It’s kinda imperative, wouldn’t you say?

Anyways, with Opening Day looming — and a dress rehearsal coming at the end of the month, no less — the AJC is reporting that SunTrust Park will finally have its sod placed down at some point this week.

Good timing!

Boston Beaneaters are designated one of eight teams (March 8, 1900)

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In New York on March 8, 1900, the National League decides to go with eight teams. The selected eight cities will remain the same for 53 years until the Braves move to Milwaukee in 1953.

So in 1900, the Beaneaters will end up 66-72 in 4th place. They were 17 games behind the leader, the Brooklyn Superbas.

Boston Beaneaters - 1900

Boston Beaneaters – 1900

Stu Miller traded to the Atlanta Braves will only throw 1.3 innings before retiring (April 1, 1968)

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Stu Miller

Stu Miller

The Braves purchase Stu Miller from the Orioles on April 1, 1968. I’m guessing Stu didn’t see it as an April fool’s joke but then again ….

The 40 year-old right-hander will throw only 1.3 innings in two appearances for Atlanta before retiring from baseball.

Before that Stu had a fairly good 16 year career. It seemed his later years plagued him.

On April 30, 1967, Steve Barber and Miller combined to pitch a no-hitter for the Orioles against the Detroit Tigers, but would lose 2–1 because of a wild pitch and an error allowing two runs to score in the ninth inning.

On May 14, 1967, he gave up Mickey Mantle’s 500th career home run.

Damaso Garcia burns his uniform and gets traded to the Atlanta Braves (February 2, 1987)

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Damaso Garcia

Damaso Garcia

On February 2, 1987, The Braves trade Craig McMurty to the Blue Jays for second baseman Damaso Garcia and pitcher Luis Leal.

The right-handers will never pitch for the team to which they are dealt, and Garcia will hit .117 in 21 games before being released by Atlanta.

Here is the backstory on the trade. On May 14, 1986, following a loss to the Oakland Athletics, Garcia burned his uniform in the hopes of ending the slump. This move angered Blue Jays manager Jimy Williams who confronted Garcia in front of the entire team and strained Garcia’s relationship with the Blue Jays.

The Braves acquire second baseman Eddie Stanky (March 6, 1948)

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Eddie Stanky Boston Braves

Eddie Stanky Boston Braves

The Boston Braves acquire All-Star second baseman Eddie Stanky on March 6, 1948 from the Dodgers for Bama Rowell and $60,000. The hard-nosed infielder will play a pivotal role in Boston’s National League championship this season.

He was born in Philadelphia, and his original nickname, “The Brat from Kensington”, is in reference to the neighborhood where he grew up.

Stanky was famous for his ability to draw walks; he drew 100 or more walks in each of six different seasons, 140 or more in two of them. In 1946, he hit just .273 but his 137 walks allowed him to lead the league in OBP with .436, edging out Stan Musial—who led in more than ten hitting categories.

His best season was probably 1950 with the Giants, when he hit an even .300 and led the league in walks (144) and OBP (.460). On August 30, he tied a major league record when he walked in seven consecutive at-bats (in two games).

 

The second year (1877)

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It was the second year of the National League (1877). The Braves (then known as the Boston Red Caps), in fact, did pretty good. They finished first, seven games ahead.Boston Red Caps 1877

The rest of the league was kind of dicey. Only two teams ( the Braves one of them) showed a profit. Philadelphia was kicked out, for all reasons, for not making a single road trip. And Cincinnati couldn’t even pay their dues and was booted out as well.

But the Braves shined through. It was the start of something.

Go BRAVES!!!

Rick Cerone moves from Atlanta to Milwaukee (March 5, 1986)

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On March 5, 1986,  the Braves and Brewers swap backstops with Atlanta acquiring Ted Simmons from Milwaukee in exchange for Rick Cerone and a pair of minor leaguers, David Clay and Flavio Alfaro.

The offensively talented Simmons will spend three years with his new club before retiring after the 1988 season with a lifetime .285 batting average.

Cerone spent the 1985 season with the Atlanta Braves, splitting time Bruce Benedict as the Braves catcher, as Cerone appeared in 96 games, hitting .216 with 3 HR and 25 RBI.

rick-cerone

“When it came to making things happen just the way he wanted them to, Greg Maddux was a complete savage.” ~Josh Brown

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No doubt about it, Greg Maddux was just stunning. His stats are off the chart being the first to achieve a number of feats and records. He was the first pitcher in major league history to win the Cy Young Award for four consecutive years (1992–1995), matched by only one other pitcher, Randy Johnson. During those four seasons, Maddux had a 75–29 record with a 1.98 earned run average (ERA), while allowing less than one baserunner per inning.

But it is not all about the stats. One time Bobby Cox visited Maddux on the mound with runners on second and third and two outs. Bobby was worried about the situation, hence the mound visit, and wanted to calm Maddux down. Instead, Maddux calmed Bobby down. When Bobby suggested to Maddux that he intentionally walk the batter, Maddux explained to Bobby exactly what he planned to do.

Maddux told Bobby not to worry and laid out the sequence of his next three pitches. He told him that he’d get him to pop up foul to third base on the third pitch. Which is exactly what happened, bringing the inning to an end.

The man knew what he wanted to do and then he did it. As a batter, you knew he owned you. It was kind of sad if you weren’t a Braves fan.

Greg Maddux wasn’t just great, he was a complete freak of nature. There has never and will never be another one like him. He might not have looked like an elite athlete that completely dominated his competition during his career, but he most certainly was.

Source: Atlanta Braves Legend Greg Maddux: The Greatest Savage Ever

CF Ender Inciarte, Atlanta Braves agree to five-year extension

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Now here is some great news on the re-building front. The Atlanta Braves have reached agreement on a five-year extension for center fielder Ender Inciarte worth $30.525 million, according to multiple reports.

The deal, first reported by FanRag Sports, also includes an option for a sixth year.

Inciarte, the National League Gold Glove winner at his position, hit .291 with three home runs, 85 runs, 29 RBIs and 16 stolen bases last season. He had a .341 batting average and scored 59 runs after the All-Star break.

The Braves acquired the 26-year-old Inciarte prior to last season as part of the five-player trade that sent Shelby Miller and minor-leaguer Gabe Speier to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for Inciarte, shortstop prospect Dansby Swanson and pitching prospect Aaron Blair.

Ender Inciarte

Ender Inciarte

 

Braves trade a pair of southpaws to the Giants for Bobby Thomson (February 1, 1954)

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Bobby Thomson

Bobby Thomson

In a six-player trade on February 1, 1954, the Braves deal a pair of southpaws, Johnny Antonelli and Don Liddle, catcher Ebba St. Claire as well as shortstop Billy Klaus to the Giants in exchange for playoff hero Bobby Thomson and backstop Sammy Calderone.

Milwaukee’s new outfielder will break his ankle in an exhibition game and will appear in only 43 games, while Johnny Antonelli posts a 21-7 record, leading the league with an ERA of 2.30 for his new team in New York.

Trade always seem like a great idea. Most of the time it doesn’t work out. And so it goes!

Eddie Matthews hits number 500 (July 14, 1967)

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July 14, 1967 is a stunning day for Braves with Eddie Matthews hitting number 500. Against Juan Marichal at Candlestick Park, Eddie Matthews hits home run #500 as an Astro on July 14, 1967.

The former Brave third baseman, who hit 493 homers playing for the franchise in Boston, Milwaukee and Atlanta, becomes the seventh major leaguer to reach this plateau.

A year later, Hank Aaron would hit his 500th. What are the odds of that?

Troy Glaus signs with the Atlanta Braves to end his career (January 5, 2010)

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On January 5, 2010, Troy Glaus and the Braves come to terms on a $1.75 million, one-year incentive-laden deal that will shift the four-time All-Star third baseman to first base. After arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder a year earlier, the 33 year-old infielder appeared in only 14 games with St. Louis at the end of the season.

After a rough April in which he hit below the Mendoza Line, Glaus rebounded to become Player of the Month in May, hitting .330 with 6 home runs and 28 RBI. As of August 9, Glaus was hitting .242 with 14 home runs and 63 RBI.

Glaus’s production faltered in July and August. After Atlanta acquired Derrek Lee on August 18 to play 1st base, Glaus was placed on the DL with knee fatigue. Glaus had a Trofew setbacks, but returned to Atlanta in a back-up role behind Derrek Lee and rookie Freddie Freeman.

Glaus made only one appearance at 3rd base during the regular season, but was used at 3rd in game 2 of the NLDS against the San Francisco Giants starting a key double play. Glaus then started game four of the series at 3rd.

 

Previously, Glaus played with the Anaheim Angels (1998–2004), Arizona Diamondbacks (2005), Toronto Blue Jays (2006–2007), St. Louis Cardinals (2008–2009), and the Atlanta Braves (2010). Glaus lettered in baseball while attending UCLA.

In thirteen seasons Glaus hit .254 with 320 home runs and 950 RBI in 1537 games. In 19 postseason games, he hit .347 with nine home runs and 16 RBI. Glaus has been selected to four All-Star Games, three with the Angels and one with the Blue Jays.

troy-glaus

Lou Perini blocks the Browns attempted move to Milwaukee (March 3, 1953)

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Lou Perini

Lou Perini

This is very clever. On March 3, 1953, citing territorial privilege due to the location of their minor league club, Lou Perini blocks the Browns’ attempt to move to Milwaukee from St. Louis.

Now why would he do that. Well, fifteen days later, the Braves’ owner will move his own major league club from Boston to that midwestern city.

In 1945, Lou purchased the club from Bob Quinn for $500,000 then moved the club to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for the 1953 season after complaining of poor attendance and revenue in Boston.

At the completion of the 1961 season he sold the franchise for $5.5 million to Chicago insurance executive William Bartholomay who later moved the franchise to Atlanta for the 1966 season, while retaining a 10% interest in the club and sat on the Board of Directors for a number of years.

Prior to owning the Braves, Perini gained his fortune in his family’s construction business, Perini Corp, having started out his working life as a water boy in his father’s small construction firm, ending up running the major worldwide Perini Corporation. Continue reading

Hank’s rainy night in Georgia (April 8, 1974)

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April 8, 2014 was the 40th anniversary of Aaron’s 715th career home run, the one that eclipsed Ruth’s amazing record of 714. In my family, we had all waited for this night. Hammerin’ Hank would finally do it. It was break Babe Ruth’s home run record of 714 home runs. Hank now had 715 and the record.

It was a cold and rainy night. There were three rain delays in that game. They were determined to get the game in.  Hank was not to be deterred. It was going to happen on April 8, 1974.

We have the word of what went on from Dusty Baker, the Braves’ 24-year-old center fielder, who was in the on deck circle. Baker clearly recalls Aaron’s words as he headed toward the plate to face Dodgers veteran Al Downing in the fourth inning.

“Hank told me he was going to do it.Hank was a student of hitting; he always studied pitchers, their tendencies. As he went up to hit, he said, ‘I’m going to get this thing over with right now.’ After he hit it, I didn’t want to go to the plate. I was closer to the catcher and pitcher than anybody, but that was Hank’s moment — a great moment. He earned it.” ~~Dusty Baker

So, Dusty saw it all and waited for his turn at bat. They had a long ceremony honoring Hank.Hank Aaron - 715 Sports Illustrated

“After they had the ceremony on the field for him that night, I was the next hitter. I heard the clicking of seats, people leaving, when I went up to hit. It was the coldest night I can remember in Atlanta — and one of the greatest nights of my life.”

Al Downing, the pitcher for the Dodgers, drew the honor of serving up the home run pitch. The first time he faced Hank that night, he walked him. Can’t blame him for that. There is some honor in escaping the evening untarnished. But he couldn’t hide for long. They both wore number 44 that night.

I was first introduced to him by [to Hank byYankees catcher] Elston Howard in Spring Training in 1963, in Florida. “The Braves were in West Palm Beach. I remember Elston introducing us and thinking, ‘This is the nicest, most gracious guy for a superstar.’ Hank never really changed.

I walked him first time up, and everybody booed me. It was the second pitch [in a 1-0 count], and I was trying to get the double play. I wanted to get a fastball down in the strike zone, hoping he’d roll over. It was elevated — and ‘The Hammer’ put the hammer on it. ~~Al Downing

Davey Lopez was playing second base for the Dodgers that evening.

It couldn’t have worked out any better, really. Al is such a secure person, he understood the big picture. It was like when Rickey Henderson was Nolan Ryan’s 5,000th strikeout victim. Rickey embraced it. Al was never bothered at all by being part of Hank’s big moment. ~~Davey Lopez

And so magic happened that night. I remember the joy I felt for Hank. He had done something we thought no one would ever be able to do. He did it for himself but it also did a lot for Atlanta.

“I played 19 years in the bigs. How many people can say that?” ~Chipper Jones

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You have to love Larry “Chipper” Jones. Chipper spent his entire 19-year career playing for the Atlanta Braves. Although initially a shortstop, he spent most of his career as the starting third baseman for the Braves.

In 2002 and 2003, Jones Chipper Jonesplayed left field before returning to third base in 2004. He currently holds the Braves team record for career on-base percentage (.402), and on July 5, 2007, he passed Dale Murphy for third place on the Braves all-time career home run list.

Jones ended his career in 2012 with a .303 career batting average, with 468 home runs, 1,512 walks, and 1,623 RBIs in 2,499 games with 8,984 at bats.

I miss the game, but I’m loving retired life. After seven knee surgeries and two ACL replacements, it was time to go. It was starting to get to the point where I’d be on the road and didn’t want to be there. I had my time. I played 19 years in the bigs. How many people can say that? I had a lot of success and great memories, but it got to a point where I didn’t know every morning if I’d be able to play that day or not, and that’s a lot of undue pressure on the manager and team if I won’t be able to play. And when it got to the point where it got to me only playing 100 games a year, I felt like I was doing more harm than good.

I have no regrets, no urges to go back. People have asked me about coaching, and I have absolutely zero desire to get back in uniform right now, because the lifestyle is still part of it. I lived out of a suitcase for 23 years as a professional athlete, and I like my life right now. I like being rooted down and not having to pack my suitcase every three days.

Chipper Jones, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1990 draft, played for the Atlanta Braves from 1993-2012. He won the 1999 National League MVP award, made eight NL All-Star teams and helped the Braves make the postseason 13 times.

via Chipper Jones on state of the Braves, NL East race and retirement – MLB – SI.com.

Ted is suspended for a year (January 2, 1977)

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Ted Turner

Ted Turner

There may never be another owner of a team like Ted Turner. He was a one of a kind character. The good news is that he loved his team and invested in them.

There were lots of sides to him. Ted was suspended for one year on January 2, 1977 by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, due to tampering charges in the free-agency signing of Gary Matthews. The rumor is that Ted spent much of baseball’s winter meetings seemingly drunk out of his mind and threatening to kill Kuhn. Eventually, two of Turner’s company officers had to drag Turner out of harm’s way, and Kuhn suspended him for the entire 1977 season.

So what does Ted do? Well, the Braves’ owner, an accomplished sailor, uses his free time to pursue another goal, winning the this year’s America’s Cup, which he accomplishes in September.

I’m thankful he didn’t order me shot! ~Ted Turner

“If you don’t win, you’re going to be fired. If you do win, you’ve only put off the day you’re going to be fired.” ~~Leo Durocher

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Leo knew his baseball. And of course, this applies to the long history of the Atlanta Braves.

If you don’t win, you’re going to be fired. If you do win, you’ve only put off the day you’re going to be fired.”

~~Leo Durocher

July 4, 1919 – The second game and … my dad is born!

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The Boston Braves (now known as the Atlanta Braves) won the second game of the Double Header on July 4, 1919 at Ebbets Field after having lost the first game. At this point in the season we were in 7th place, 15 1/2 games behind.

My dad (Everett Wiley Wilson) was born this day. He probably would have expected them to split this. He saw or listened to a lot of games over the years. Johnny Rawlings, the second baseman, went 4 for 5 at bats in this game with a home run, a double, and a stolen base. Rabbit Maranville, our shortstop,  went 2 for 3 with a home run and sacrifice hit. Dick Rudolf was the winning pitcher with a complete game. Both runs were earned.

And so, my dad was born. He would come to love the Braves.

Atlanta Braves name Brian Snitker manager and that means hope for 2017

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Brian Snitker, who replaced fired Fredi Gonzalez on May 17, will remain manager of the Atlanta Braves for 2017.

Snitker went 59-65 as interim manager of the Braves last season but sheds that label as Atlanta moves into SunTrust Park in 2017. The Braves hold an option on his contract for 2018.

Rumors began at midseason that Braves’ management would replace Gonzalez with former San Diego Padres manager Bud Black, but Snitker was left standing following an interview process that included experienced MLB managers Black and Ron Washington (Texas Rangers) and three other members of the current Braves’ coaching staff. Bench coach Terry Pendleton and Eddie Perez interviewed with Hart.

Snitker has spent his entire 40-year baseball career in the Braves’ organization as a player, minor-league manager and coach and with the MLB coaching staff. He has a strong rapport with a very young roster based on his experience at Triple-A Gwinnett. The Braves were 9-28 when Gonzalez was fired.

Several trades netted top prospects in return in the past year to position Atlanta as an up-and-coming team for 2017. I am hopeful!

Snitker made multiple changes on the coaching staff, including hiring Washington as third-base coach. Pitching coach Roger McDowell’s contract option was declined and minor-league pitching coordinator Chuck Hernandez replaces him with the Braves.

What is on the horizon for 2017?

Guaranteed Contracts

Arbitration Eligible Players (service time in parentheses; link to MLBTR projections)

Free Agents

It sounds like some weird things happened for the Atlanta Braves to sign Ron Washington

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It might not be a conspiracy theory – I think there’s a very specific reason the Braves brought in Ron Washington.

via It sounds like some weird things happened for the Atlanta Braves to sign Ron Washington — Breslanta

Ron Washington is a great manager. He is a great addition.

The longest game ever played ends in a 1-1 tie (May 1, 1920)

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joe_oeschger_baseball_card_for_boston_nationals_uniform_1922

Joe Oeschger

The longest game ever played ends after 26 innings in a 1-1 tie. They would have kept on playing but it was called because of darkness.

Now imagine this. Brooklyn Robin Leon Cadore and Brave Joe Oeschger both go the distance for their respective clubs. Braves’ Charlie Pick establishes the major league record for hitless at-bats in one game as he goes 0-for-11 in the marathon.

Oescheger only gave up 9 hits the entire game, while Cadore allowed 15.

For the rest of the 1920 season Oescheger won 15 games with a 3.46 earned run average.

 

Atlanta Braves say goodbye to “The Ted”, aka Turner Field (October 2, 2016)

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I wish I could have been there. I thought about flying. My wife suggested we drive. Maybe I’m just too old now but the prospect of a 24 hour road trip in two days was just too much. What has happened to me?

I decided not to go. I watched it on my laptop via MLB.TV.

It is the end of so much and the start of so much more. No more baseball in downtown Atlanta. It was always an adventure. How to get there. Where to park. When to leave to not get stranded.

The good news, for a really horrible season, is they leave with a win. Teheran pitched one of his finest games, going seven innings and giving up three hits, one walk and no runs. He struck out 12, tying his career high.

Freddie Freeman drove in Ender Inciarte on a first-inning sacrifice fly. That would be all that is needed. A perfect end to the history of it all.

And so it goes! A new stadium, new hopes, new dreams.

The first pitch was thrown by Atlanta Braves starter Julio Teheran to Detroit Tigers leadoff hitter Ian Kinsler at 3:13 p.m ET, with the game-time temperature at 80 degrees.

Source: Atlanta Braves say goodbye to Turner Field – CNN.com

Last game at Turner Field, moving on again …

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The Braves have played in lots of stadiums. Eight to be exact.

Today will be the last game played at Turner Field.

Sad, but they are moving on. I have many fond memories of games from Turner Field. But I remember Atlanta – Fulton County Stadium as well.

Here is the list from the past:

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 08:  A general view of outside the stadium ahead of the Philadephia Phillies versus Atlanta Braves during their opening day game at Turner Field on April 8, 2011 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Tom Seaver’s contract with the Braves voided (March 2, 1966)

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Image result for tom seaverNow imagine if the Braves had Tom Seaver. Think on that for a while.

On March 2, 1966 Commissioner William Eckert, citing a rule that prohibits clubs from signing players during their collegiate season, voids the Braves’ contract with USC standout Tom Seaver, who had signed with Atlanta for a $50,000 bonus a week earlier.

The Mets will be awarded the future Hall of Famer’s signing rights in a lottery that includes the Phillies and Indians, who also were willing to match the Braves’ terms.

Tools of Ignorance (1875)

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I can’t remember not playing baseball. It seems like I always have. I remember the day I first played on an organized team in Little League. I had been selected for the team. We arrived for our first practice. My dad was the coach.

We all stood in a circle waiting to take the field to practice. My dad asked everyone what positions they would like to play. I was on his left. We started going around the circle starting to his right. I would be last to say.

By the time it got around to me all the positions had really been spoken for several times. There was one position no one seemed to want. I said I would like to be the catcher. My dad said, “Great, then put on the tools of ignorance”. And with that we took the field.

My dad taught me how to catch. I loved it. Fast forward and guess what position my son wanted to play when he started baseball. Yup, he wanted to catch. And I taught him about the tools of ignorance.

The term, “the tools of ignorance”, was coined by Herold “Muddy” Ruel, a lawyer turned backstop who caught for greats like Walter Johnson with the Washington Senators in the 1920s.

So, if you were catching Al Spalding for the Braves (then know as the Boston Red Stockings) from 1872 to 1875, you might have wanted a mask. One didn’t initially exist though. It wasn’t until 1875 that one was “invented”. The founder of the Red Stockings had the catchers use a “mouth protector”. It was a “Harvard guy” (Fred Thayer) that actually invented the mask.

The first to use it was Alexander (Jim) Tying who was playing for the Harvard Nine. It was called a rat-trap. It made it to the Spalding catalog in 1878. Eventually Fred Thayer sued Al Spalding for infringement upon Thayer’s patent rights to the catching mask. Spalding would be forced to pay royalties to Thayer and Wright when the case was settled.

And so … fathers continue to teach their sons to use the “tools of ignorance”.

About the Braves and Tebow: Is curiosity the same as ‘interest’?

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Image result for tim tebow baseball

Tim Tebow

This is a great distinction. Interested or curious?

I’d say curious.

But … if it happens and he actually plays in the majors for even one game, it will make a great story. For that, I am all in.

The guess here is that the Atlanta Braves do — as Pedro Gomez of ESPN has reported — have interest in Tim Tebow. They did, after all, send both Brian Bridges (current scouting director) and Roy Clark (former scouting director) to Los Angeles to monitor his ballyhooed workout, and Gomez reports that they were one of five teams to meet with Tebow afterward.

So: There’s interest, yes. But this would seem to me to be interest, meaning curiosity, as opposed to outright We-Gotta-Have-Him lust.

If the Braves were to sign Tebow — still a significant “if” — I’d imagine their offer would be a minor-league contract, period. No promise of promotion to the majors in a year’s time. (The man hasn’t played baseball since 2005, when Brian McCann and Jeff Francoeur were rookies.) No guarantee of even an invitation to spring training.

Just a minor-league deal, the sort MLB organizations offer all the time with rather less fanfare. But that’s the thing: Where there’s Tebow, there’s fanfare — chiefly from ESPN, once his personal network and currently his employer.

If Tebow would be invited to spring training, it would sell a few tickets, sure. If he were to be placed on one of the Braves’ rookie-league teams — meaning next year; minor-league seasons are all but over — it would help that entity at the gate. It would also be a sideshow that threatens to become the show itself, and that’s what all interested MLB parties, not just the Braves, have to weigh: Is there enough potential in a 29-year-old footballer to warrant the distraction?

It wouldn’t surprise me if Tebow does sign a Braves’ contract. (Nothing the Braves do in the asset-allocation department surprises me.) It would be a shock if he lasts long in any organization. Baseball is hard. You might ask Michael Jordan.

Source: About the Braves and Tebow: Is curiosity the same as ‘interest’? | Mark Bradley blog

Billy Southworth as a Brave and the challenges of alcohol (1946-1949)

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Bill SouthworthBilly Southworth moved to manage the Boston Braves in 1946. At the time, making $50,000 as a manager was a big deal. He had some fairly quick success.

Fourth in 1946. Third in 1947. First in 1948. Of course, it probably didn’t hurt that he had Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain pitching for him. They won their second NL pennant in the 1900’s under his great leadership. They were defeated however in the 1948 World Series in six games by the Cleveland Indians.

In 1949 many of the players rebelled against Southworth’s rules, regulations, and leadership. The Braves struggled on the field. The rumor mill had Southworth, an admitted alcoholic, drinking heavily and near a nervous breakdown.

So, in August Southworth turned the Braves over to someone else. Johnny Cooney, another Braves coach, took over. Southworth did come back to coach the Braves in 1950. It would be easier on him because most of the rebellious Braves had been traded away.

But the team was “older”. Attendance was in the toilet. In 1951 the Braves were barely 28-31 by June 19th. Part of the issue was probably competition. The Boston Red Sox was aggressively going after the fans. This was the first year they both broadcast their games on the radio. It only paid off for the Red Sox though.

Billy Southworth did the honorable thing. He “resigned”. Most reports have him being fired. He was replaced by a former right fielder, Tommy Holmes. He did remain with the Braves as a scout. Not uncommon. He never managed again.

In 1953 the Boston Braves became the Milwaukee Braves. Go figure.

Gaylord Perry reaches number 3,000 (October 1, 1978)

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Gaylord Perry

On October 1, 1978, NL Cy Young Award winner Gaylord Perry becomes the third major league league pitcher, joining Walter Johnson (1923) and Bob Gibson (1974), to record 3,000 career strikeouts. Now this is not easy to do.

So … what is the Braves connection? The 40 year-old future Hall of Fame right-hander fans Joe Simpson, who will later become better know as a Braves’ broadcaster, in the eighth inning to reach milestone.

Later he will strike out the LA left fielder again in the tenth to finish the season with 3001.

Making a change, new manager but the same owner (1930)

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Bill McKechnieJudge Fuchs’, the owner, decided to make a change in the manager position.

It happens frequently in baseball. What you don’t see, because it can’t be done, is the owner being fired. I am sure there are lots of times the fans would prefer that. It can’t happen.

He selected Bill McKechnie as the Boston Braves manager in 1930. He had a pretty good track record. In Pittsburgh he won the World Series in 1925. In St. Louis he won the pennant in 1928. After he left Boston he won a World Series for Cincinnati in 1940.

In 1930 the Braves finished 6th, 22 games behind the leader. Their record was 70-84. It wouldn’t get much better during his eight years in Boston.

Fred Tenney belts a home run in his rookie year (July 21, 1894)

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Fred Tenney

Fred Tenney

As a rookie in 1894, Fred Tenney got off to a very good start with the Boston Beaneaters (now the Atlanta Braves).

On July 21, in a 14-3 Boston win over New York‚  Fred belts a home run off Jouett Meekin. It would be 1 of 3 home runs for the season.

He would play in 21 games that year and end up with a .395 batting average. Much better than he would do next year when he played in 49 games and batted .272.

Braves come back from 9-0 down to beat the Nationals in the eleventh (July 20, 2012)

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After trailing the Nationals by nine runs after five innings of play on July 20, 2012, the Braves take the lead, 10-9, when the team plates two runs in the top of ninth.

Washington will knot the score in the bottom the frame on Danny Espinosa’s home run, but Atlanta will complete its amazing comeback with an unanswered run in the eleventh inning.

Atlanta was down 9-0 after five innings with Washington Nationals star pitcher Stephen Strasburg on the mound. The Braves came back to take the lead in the top of the ninth. After the Nationals tied it, Atlanta pulled out a wild 11-10 win on Paul Janish’s run-scoring bloop single in the 11th.

Chipper Jones

Chipper Jones

“I don’t even know where to start,” said Chipper Jones, who drove in two runs with a single in the Braves’ four-run eighth inning. “I still can’t believe it. I mean, 9-0. That’s never happened to me since I’ve been here.”

In the top of the 11th, Dan Uggla led off with a single against Tom Gorzelanny (2-2), advanced to second on Ryan Zimmerman’s throwing error and then went to third on a passed ball before scoring on Janish’s bloop that just barely fell in past shortstop Ian Desmond’s outstretched glove.

“A really crazy game, but it counts, right?” Janish said. “All that matters is that we end up with one more than them, so it worked out.”

It was the Braves’ largest comeback since 1987 and pulled them within 2 1/2 games of the Nationals in the National League East.

“It’s a big series, and there’s no way we were just going to go down without a fight,” Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said.

The nine-run lead was the largest ever given up by the Nationals franchise, including the games played as the Montreal Expos.

Cardinals hurler Hi Bell goes the distance in both games of a Sportsman’s Park doubleheader beating the Braves, 6-1 and 2-1 (July 19, 1924)

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HiBellGoudeycard.jpgThis is stunning. We can’t imagine it today. It is hard to get one complete game now. Cardinals hurler Herman “Hi” Bell goes the distance in both games of a Sportsman’s Park doubleheader on July 19, 1924, beating the Boston Braves, 6-1 and 2-1.

The 27 year-old right-hander from Kentucky will be the last National League pitcher to win two complete game victories in one day.

For his career, he compiled a 32–34 record in 221 appearances, most as a relief pitcher, with an 3.69 earned run average and 191 strikeouts. Bell was a member of three National League pennant winners (1926, 1930 & 1933), winning two World Series with the 1926 Cardinals and the 1933 Giants. Don’t we all wish we could do that?

In World Series play, he recorded no decisions in three appearances, with a 4.50 earned run average and 1 strikeout.

65 runs in 5 games (July 18, 2006)

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With a 14-5 victory over the Cardinals on July 18, 2006, the Atlanta Braves become the first team since the 1930 Yankees to score ten or more runs in five consecutive games.

During the streak, that includes two 15-run victories, Atlanta had tallied 65 runs.

This is stunning. And on my birthday to boot. 🙂

Colter Bean loses a spring training bid for a no-hitter (March 7, 2008)

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With a two-out RBI single in the ninth inning off reliever Colter Bean, Danny Sandoval spoils the Braves’ bid for a spring training combined no-hitter on March 7, 2008.

Bean attended Vestavia Hills High School in Birmingham before attending Auburn University. Bean played in the College World Series and was named All-SEC second team in 2000. Bean still holds the Auburn team record with 108 games pitched and 106 games relieved in his NCAA career.

Bean spent most of his career in the Minors. After being released by the Braves, signed with Olmecas de Tabasco. On May 8, he signed a minor league deal with the Tampa Bay Rays and became a free agent at the end of the season.

Atlanta used seven hurlers, beating the Indians at Winter Haven 4-1.

First 4th of July game played in 1871 – Guest blog by Keith Spalding Robbins

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Boston Red Stockings

Boston Red Stockings

As we know, the Braves are the World’s Oldest Continuous professional franchise, so it was fitting that the team played an Independence Day holiday game at Ft. Bragg. Yet this was nothing new for the team, for they might have played in the first 4th of July Holiday game in organized baseball as well.

After the Old Reds collapsed the team’s players moved to two teams, the defunct Washington Olympics, an existing National Association team, and other players went on to form the Original Red [Stockings] Sox of Boston.

The games in question were a two day event played on the 3rd and then the 4th in back Cincinnati as a Holiday event game. It was billed as a reunion game for the “Old Reds” vs a hybrid team comprised of players two National Association clubs, who were not Reds.

The Old Reds team that took the field was neither an old timers team as many players were still active, although some players were no longer in baseball; nor quite an All Star team, as many who took the field that day would be considered All-Stars by current standards. [Andy Leonard, Ross Barnes, AG Spalding, Cal McVey, Harry Wright, Asa Brainard, Harry Schaffer…]

The New York Clipper of July 15, 1871 noted that the game was though entertaining, was not so skillfully played and ended in a 13 to 15 score with the Old Reds taking the loss. Given the lack of losses by the Old Reds, the fans were rather shocked with end result. Reds fans could take solace that if Hall of Fame Shortstop George Wright had played the Old Reds would have won. For those who bet on the Reds only to win would have found themselves on the list of delinquent accounts.

One of the former Reds who was now the star Washington pitcher was Asa Brainard, whose name is the traditional baseball lexicon rational for why we call the best pitcher the “Ace.”

On the fourth the two teams recombined and played another game in front of a full house of adoring baseball fans some 5000 fans including many ladies. Called the “sugar” game, it was played on a cool and breezy summer day. Behind the pitching of baseball’s new ace [AG Spalding] who outpitched baseball’s original ace [Asa Brainard], the final result was 7 to 3. “Braves win, Braves win, Braves win…” as Chip Carey used to say on TBS summers ago. The Clipper noted that the pitching on both sides was good, the catching was simply superb, the fielding was excellent, and the umpiring was of a model description, strict, impartial, and displaying sound judgement.

Thus we can say on games played to honor America and its independence the best baseball team to call on are the baseball’s oldest nine, the team we call the Braves.

 

 

Joe Morgan goes 6-6 against the Braves (July 8, 1965)

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Joe Morgan

Joe Morgan sets an Astro record by going 6- for-6 at Milwaukee’s County Stadium on July 8, 1965 . The rookie second baseman’s stellar performance doesn’t stop the Milwaukee Braves from beating Houston, 9-8 that day.

Of course the Braves are now in Atlanta and we have the Milwaukee Brewers. Hard to keep up with it all some days. And the Astro’s no longer play at the Astro Dome. I saw lots of great games there when I lived in Houston.

Joe Morgan was a great though. Love to see him when he is announcing games now.

Rico Carty was first write-in All-Star (July 7, 1970)

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Rico Carty, the National League’s leading hitter, becomes the first player voted to play in the All-Star Game as a write-in candidate on July 7, 1970.

The Braves outfielder name was left off the ballot that was drawn up by managers and general managers before the start of spring training.

Carty signed a contract with the Milwaukee Braves as a free agent in 1959. While he was an excellent hitter, he had very poor defensive skills. Originally a catcher, Carty was converted into an outfielder in order to lessen his defensive liabilities and to get his bat into the everday lineup.

After four years in the minor leagues, Carty made an impressive major league debut in 1964, finishing second to Roberto Clemente in the National League Batting Championship with a .330 batting average and, finishing the season as runner-up to Dick Allen in the 1964 National League Rookie of the Year Award ballot

How bad were the Atlanta Braves in 1986? July 6 tells the tale.

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Bob Horner

Bob Horner

OK, 1986 was a VERY bad year for the Atlanta Braves. They had a 72-89 record, finishing sixth in the NL west. An amazing 23 1/2 games behind the leader. It was Chuck Tanner’s first year as manager. I am sure it was NOT how he wanted to start out.

So, how bad were they that year? So bad that in one game, Bob Horner hit four home runs against the Expos on July 6. Pretty spectacular. They lost anyway, 11-8.

Horner was the 11th man in history to hit four home runs in a game. He was the first to do so and lose.

Game delay due to dog on the field (July 5, 1952)

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Boston Braves 1952

Boston Braves 1952

In their final season in Boston, on July 5, 1952, the Braves play in front of the largest home crowd of the season when 13,405 fans watch Brooklyn beat their team for the 12th consecutive time, a 5-3 complete-game victory by Carl Erskine.

The most memorable moment of the contest occurs in the second inning when the game is delayed because a small dog has to be escorted off the field by Dodger outfielders Carl Furillo and Duke Snyder.

July 4, 1919 – A double header

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My dad was born on this day. He loved the Atlanta Braves. They were the Boston Braves at this point.

1919 was not a great year for the Braves and July 4th would be fairly typical of the season. The played a double header on this day. They split the pair with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

And so, my dad (Everett Wiley Wilson) was born and the Braves split a pair.

Everything new — a new league and season for the Braves (1876)

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Joe Borden

Joe Borden

It is April. It is 1876. It is a new league. It is a new season.

And, with the “Four Seceders” gone from the team, it is a new team as well.

Al Spalding and the others had left. The National League is formed. The Red Caps (formerly the Red Stockings and now known as the Atlanta Braves) continue in the new league.

How do you replace Al Spalding? You probably don’t but you try.

You hire Joe Borden to a three year contract. $2,000 a year. He played under the psuedonym of Joe Josephs. The sportswriters dubbed him “Josephus the Phenomenal”.

They weren’t being kind.He is a bust!! You just can’t compare to Spalding no matter how good you are. They end up asking him to be the groundskeeper so they would get something out of his salary. He is credited with the first no hitter but it has never been officially recognized as such.

The first game of the season was on April 22. Borden won the game. He went 11-12 for the season. Jack Manning was their best pitcher that season. He went 18-5 with a 2.14 ERA.

So, Joe Borden cut grass.

The Red Caps ended the season in fourth place with a record of 39-31. Their four consecutive seasons as the pennant winner was over.

Tim Hudson signs for $47 million (March 1, 2005)

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Tim Hudson 2008.jpgDeciding not to file as a free agent at the end of the season, on March 1, 2005, Tim Hudson (12-6, 3.53) agreed to a four-year, $47-million, contract extension with his new team, the Braves. Even for then, that was a whole lot of money.

The 29 year-old right-hander, who was acquired in a trade with Oakland in the off-season, grew up near Atlanta and rooted for the local team as a youngster. It is always an honor to play for your home team.

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.

Frank Selee is the class of the league (1892)

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Frank Selee moved into his third season in 1892. Great things were ahead for him. The Boston Beaneaters (now the Atlanta Braves) had an amazing 102-48 record, finishing first, 8 1/2 games ahead. This may have been the greatest season in franchise history.

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Kid Nichols

The National League expanded to 12 teams that year. They also adopted a split-season 154 game format. This played to the Beaneaters formidable strengths. The team was so good, it could release the pitching great, John Clarkson, at mid season.

With Kid Nichols, Harry Stanly, and a newcomer, Jack Stivvetts (picked up from the defunct American Association), the pitching staff rocked the league. They combined for 92 victories, 35 apiece for Stivetts and Nichols.