Rafael Furcal – Number 6 Greatest player of the 2000’s

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Image result for rafael furcal braves

Some fans may not be as happy with Rafael Furcal after there was what seemed like a verbal deal in place to bring him back to Atlanta in 2008. But, Furcal backtracked and re-signed with the Dodgers. I know it saddened me to no extent.

Outside of that, Furcal was one of the better Braves between 2000-05.

An injury to Braves shortstop Walt Weiss prior to the 2000 season led to Furcal improbably making the jump from “A” ball to the Major League roster. He made his Major League debut on April 4, 2000 against the Colorado Rockies, getting 2 hits in 4 at-bats. His first hit was against Rockies pitcher Rolando Arrojo.

Furcal went on to hit .295 with 40 stolen bases for the Braves and won the National League Rookie of the Year Award that year.

During 2000 to 2005, he hit .284 with 57 home runs and 292 RBI. He also had 924 hits, 554 runs scored, stole 189 bases, had a .348 on-base percentage, hustled for 38 triples and knocked 160 doubles.

Furcal won the 2000 Rookie of the Year and was named a 2003 All-Star.

On December 7, 2005, Furcal signed a free agent contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers for three years and $39 million. In September 2006 Furcal was selected as the inaugural winner of the Roy Campanella Award, given to the Dodgers player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership of the late Hall of Fame catcher. The award was voted on by only his teammates.

Source: Atlanta Braves History: Greatest Players of the 2000s | Bleacher Report

Mule Watson gets traded again (April 4, 1918)

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The Phillies trade infielder Bert Niehoff (.255, 2, 42) on April 4, 1918 and send cash to the Cardinals for rookie right-hander Mule Watson. Niehoff will play just one more season before retiring.

Watson will pitch two seasons with Philadelphia, posting a 7-11 record, before being traded to the Braves.

Mule is very famous for starting both ends of a double header. On the 12th and 13 August 1921, Watson became the last pitcher in Major League history to start both games of a doubleheader twice in the same season.

On August 12, 1921, both teams used the same starting pitcher in both games of a doubleheader at Braves Field in Boston, the only time that’s happened in major league history.  Phillies manager Kaiser Wilhelm (who had taken over from Bill Donovan less than three weeks earlier) sent George Smith to the mound in both games, while boston skipper Fred Mitchell called on Jack Scott, the same fellow who threw the two complete games in a 1927 twin-bill.  (Scott had also started both games of a double dip in 1920.)  The account in the New York Times doesn’t call any special attention to the situation:  “Scott and Smith started both games, but the former was hit hard and finished neither, and Smith did not finish the first.”  Scott took the loss in both games; neither pitcher made it our of the third inning of the opener, then Smith threw a 12-hit shutout in game two.

The next day, Mitchell started Mule Watson in both games of another doubleheader against Philly, and Watson went the distance in winning both games, holding on to win the first game 4-3, then retiring the first 14 batters he faced in game two on the way to a two-hit shutout.  Watson, like Scott, had previous experience starting two games in a day, having done so twice in his first two months in the majors in 1918 for the A’s.  That made Watson, who won 50 games in an otherwise unremarkable major league career, the last man to do doubleheader duty twice in a season.

Source: https://prestonjg.wordpress.com/2009/09/12/a-thorough-account-of-pitchers-who-have-started-both-games-of-a-doubleheader-in-the-major-leagues/

Atlanta Braves played in first-ever ‘Fort Bragg Game’ at new ballpark to celebrate military Fourth of July Weekend

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This was quite a moment in history for the the Atlanta Braves. They faced the Miami Marlins in a regular season game at a newly constructed ballpark July 3, 2016 at Fort Bragg, N.C., to celebrate America’s servicemen and servicewomen.

It took a year’s worth of planning and a frantic construction schedule to make the Atlanta Braves-Miami Marlins contest a reality. The 5-2 Marlins victory was played in a temporary ballpark constructed at the nation’s largest military base here.

Source: Atlanta Braves to play in first-ever ‘Fort Bragg Game’ at new ballpark to celebrate military Fourth of July Weekend – Atlanta Business Chronicle

Chipper Jones – Number 1 Greatest Braves player of the 2000’s

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Chipper Jones in the Dugout

I really appreciate Chipper Jones. I agree wholeheartedly that he is the best of the 2000’s.

No doubt about it.

Perhaps the most beloved Braves player of all time, depending on who you ask, Chipper Jones is the epitome of a team player and someone just about every Braves fan is going to miss once he retires after this season.

During the decade, Jones has hit .306 with 301 home runs and 1,037 RBI. He also has 1,744 hits, 360 doubles, 1,019 runs scored and a .406 on-base percentage.

He’s been named to four All-Star teams.

In 2002, he even gave up third base, moving to left field so the Braves could bring in Vinny Castilla to play third base.

After that experiment was over a few years later, Jones moved back to third base.

He’s restructured his contract countless times to help sign guys like Hudson, and has been a leader in the clubhouse for as long as I can remember.

Chipper Jones is everything Braves fans could ask for and is someone we’ll truly miss.

Source: Atlanta Braves History: Greatest Players of the 2000s | Bleacher Report

Barry Bonds ties Eddie Mathews by hitting a pair of homers the first two games of the season (April 3, 2002)

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Image result for eddie mathewsBarry Bonds becomes the second player in baseball history to begin a season (April 3, 2002) with consecutive two-homer games.

Eddie Mathews also hit a pair of homers in each of the Braves’ first two games against the Pirates to start the 1958 season.

Mathews is regarded as one of the best third basemen ever to play the game. He was an All-Star for 9 seasons. He won the National League (NL) home run title in 1953 and 1959 and was the NL Most Valuable Player runner-up both of those seasons.

He hit 512 home runs during his major league career. Mathews coached for the Atlanta Braves in 1971, and he was the team’s manager from 1972 to 1974. Later, he was a scout and coach for the Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers, and Oakland Athletics

 

How bad can it get in a season? Owner Judge Emil Fuchs manages the team. (1929)

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Judge Emil Fuchs

Judge Emil Fuchs

How bad can it get in a season? I don’t know if 1929 was the worst but the depression started and the Boston Braves hit a new low.

That was pretty depressing for sure. The went 56-98 ending up eighth and 43 games behind. It was so bad the owner, Judge Emil Fuchs, managed the team. In fact, he managed the whole season.

While this is hard to believe, the team had actually been slightly worse the year before. So, in 1929, the improved 6 whole games and managed not to lose 100+ games. But, when you are in last place, everything is relative. They hadn’t been in last since 1924.

You can’t really say that Fuchs had his heart in baseball. He was the attorney for John McGraw when he was with the New York Giants. McGraw bought the Braves with with Christy Mathewson and James McDonough in 1922.

Matthewson was originally intended to be the principal owner. However, Mathewson’s precarious health (he’d suffered a severe case of tuberculosis during World War I and never recovered) forced him to turn over the team presidency to Fuchs after the 1923 season.

After Jack Slattery quit as manager, Fuchs hired Rogers Hornsby to manage the rest of the 1928 season. However, Fuchs was already in financial trouble, and was forced to sell Hornsby to the Chicago Cubs after the season.

He then took over as his own manager, finishing in last place. The Philadelphia Phillies loaned Fuchs $35,000 to keep the Braves solvent.

Mike Hampton’s injury prone second time with the Atlanta Braves (2007 – 2008)

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Mike Hampton

On April 2, 2007, right-hander Mike Hampton, who signed the richest contract ever given to a pitcher, makes his Rockies debut, getting the victory when the team beat the Cardinals, 8-0. The $123.8 million man will get off to a quick 9-2 start for Colorado, but will finish his stay in the mountains 12-27 over the next one and half seasons before being dealt to the Braves for the second time.

The Braves were hoping for Hampton to be ready to rejoin the rotation in time for the start of the 2007 season. The rehab was on schedule until Hampton tore his oblique muscle on March 7, 2007, which was to sideline him until at least May. Soon after, the Braves signed Mark Redman to be a left-handed starting pitcher for them in case Hampton was not able to return to action soon. After Hampton threw a bullpen session on April 8, the Braves shut Hampton down due to recurring elbow pain and said that he would see Dr. David Altchek, who had performed his Tommy John surgery in 2005. The next day, it was announced after having another left elbow procedure, that Hampton would miss the entire 2007 season.

Hampton reported to “Camp Roger” on time in late January 2008. He threw off the mound for Bobby Cox and Roger McDowell, both of whom were impressed with Hampton’s steady progress. Hampton arrived a day before pitchers and catchers were due to report at Lake Buena Vista. He ran sprints and played catch with teammates, and continued to pitch off the mound, and threw to live batters: Mark Kotsay, Tim Hudson, and Corky Miller.

On April 3, 2008, Hampton was scheduled to make his long-anticipated return to the Braves rotation in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. While warming up, however, Hampton strained his left pectoral muscle, and was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

On July 26, 2008, Hampton made his first major league start since August 2005 against the Philadelphia Phillies. However, he was soon injured again, and finished the season with only 13 appearances. His final 2008 stats included a 3-4 record and a 4.85 ERA.

On December 3, 2008, Hampton signed a 1-year contract worth $2 million with the Houston Astros.

All I could say at the time was “Good riddance”.

 

Warren Spahn signs with the Braves (June 4, 1940)

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Warren Spahn – Milwaukee Braves

June 4, 1940, was a great day. The Boston Bees (also know as the Braves) sign South Park High School (Buffalo, NY) standout Warren Spahn, who will make his major league debut in 1942. He appears in two games as a 20 year-old for Boston before serving three years in the Army during World War II.

The Bronze Star and Purple Heart recipient will return to the National League in 1946 to win the first game of his career at the age of 25 en route to becoming the all-time winningest southpaw in the history of the game with 363 victories.

Red Schoendienst and The Turning Point (1957)

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Many seasons there is a turning point. In 1957, the turning point was the June 15th trading deadline. The Braves were poised to win the division. General Manager John Quinn decided to repair the teams obvious weakness and acquired Red Schoendienstsecond baseman Red Schoendienst from New York for outfielder Bobby Thompson, second baseman Danny O’Connell, and pitcher Ray Crone.

We got what we bargained for. Schoendienst solidified the infield and provided more offense at second than the team had enjoyed since Rogers Hornsby in 1928. Without this particular turning point on June 15th, we probably wouldn’t have ended up in first.

Boston Braves win at the South End Grounds beating the Dodgers 11-7 (May 2, 1912)

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Buster Brown

Team owner William Hepburn Russell died after the 1911 season and his stock was bought up by a group including James Gaffney and former baseball manager John Montgomery Ward. The team was renamed the Boston Braves after the Tammany Hall Braves.

At South End Grounds on May 2, 1912, the hometown Braves score ten runs in the first two innings and hold on to defeat the Dodgers, 11-7.

Brooklyn scores four runs in the bottom of the third to knock out Boston’s starter Buster Brown.

Here is a little more about Buster’s career as a pitcher.

Standard Pitching
Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS
1905 23 STL NL 8 11 .421 2.97 23 21
1906 24 STL NL 8 16 .333 2.64 32 27
1907 25 TOT NL 10 12 .455 2.74 30 24
1907 25 STL NL 1 6 .143 3.39 9 8
1907 25 PHI NL 9 6 .600 2.42 21 16
1908 26 PHI NL 0 0 2.57 3 0
1909 27 TOT NL 4 8 .333 3.16 25 18
1909 27 PHI NL 0 0 3.24 7 1
1909 27 BSN NL 4 8 .333 3.14 18 17
1910 28 BSN NL 9 23 .281 2.67 46 29
1911 29 BSN NL 8 18 .308 4.29 42 25
1912 30 BSN NL 4 15 .211 4.01 31 21
1913 31 BSN NL 0 0 4.73 2 0
9 Yr 9 Yr 9 Yr 9 Yr 51 103 .331 3.21 234 165
162 162 162 162 9 18 .331 3.21 40 28
BSN BSN BSN BSN 25 64 .281 3.54 139 92
PHI PHI PHI PHI 9 6 .600 2.56 31 17
STL STL STL STL 17 33 .340 2.86 64 56
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/15/2017.

Hank, Rico and Orlando (April 2, 1972) plus a side note on the designated hitter

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Orlando Cepea

On April 2, 1972 Hank Aaron, Rico Carty, and Orlando Cepeda all start in an exhibition game. It is the first time the trio of sluggers, sidelined with a variety of injuries over the past two seasons, have appeared together in the Braves lineup since 1970.

As a side note, in July, Cepeda was traded to the Oakland Athletics for Denny McLain. After playing for a week, he was hospitalized and underwent a second surgery on his injured knee. Cepeda remained in Oakland three months before returning to Puerto Rico.

Upon arriving he received a telegram from Charlie Finley, the Athletics’ owner, telling him that if he didn’t respond within three days he would be released from his contract. Cepeda decided not to call, intending to retire from baseball. In 1973, the American League established the designated hitter role, hoping to improve attendance. The Boston Red Sox contacted him, telling him that his role with the team only required batting. Cepeda became the first player to sign a contract to exclusively play as a designated hitter.

His first hit with the team was a walk-off home run to beat the New York Yankees. Cepeda had an average of .289 with 20 home runs and 86 RBIs in 550 at bats. He was also named Designated Hitter of the Year. Cepeda’s twentieth home run established a major league record, making him the first player to hit twenty or more home runs with four different teams. He went to Puerto Rico and prepared to play in the 1974 season, but the team decided to release him and Luis Aparicio during spring training. After briefly playing in Mexico, he was offered a contract by the Kansas City Royals. In his last season, Cepeda had 107 at bats, batting .215 with one home run.

The pitcher who hit two grand slams in one game (July 3, 1966)

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Tony Cloninger

Sunday, July 3, 1966…this was the day we should all remember as one of the best performances an Atlanta Braves pitcher has ever had.  The Braves took on the San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park in an afternoon ball game in front of 27,000 fans.  When the fans

The Braves took on the San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park in an afternoon ball game in front of 27,000 fans.  When the fans arrived to the facility, they had no idea what they were about to witness.

The Braves and manager Bobby Bragan sent a young 25-year-old right hander named Tony Cloninger to the mound.  He came into the game with an 8-7 record and a 4.35 ERA and had a .200 batting average.  On this night, he would improve all of those categories.

Cloninger was born on August 13, 1940, in North Carolina and was signed by the Milwaukee Braves as an amateur free agent in 1958.  The righty pitched with the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves from 1961-1968, Cincinnati Reds from 1968-1971 and the St. Louis Cardinals in 1972.

It is the first inning. Tony comes to the plate with bases loaded. Tony does the unthinkable and hits a grand slam. Call it a day and go home.

But … Tony is there to pitch and pitch he does.

He comes up again in the fourth. And boom, another grand slam. Cloninger became the first player in the National League, and the only pitcher to date, to hit two grand slams in the same game!!

As the game ended, Cloninger finished his complete game with five strikeouts and picked up his ninth win of the season.  He was the player of the game, going 3-5 with nine RBI’s and a complete-game win on the mound.  The Braves won this match up against the Giants 17-3.

Crazy stat…just five starts prior, Cloninger went 3-5 at the plate with hit two homers and five RBIs.  He also pitched a complete game on this night and only gave up five hits and one run.

One Additional Crazy stat…on Cloninger’s first start of the 1966 season, he threw a complete game 13 innings and gave up 10 hits, three runs, three walks and had 12 strikeouts.  Talk about saving your bullpen.

Source: Atlanta Braves flashback Friday: The pitcher who hit two grand slams in one game

Hammerin’ Hank is born to break the Bambino’s record (February 5, 1934)

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Hank Aaron

On February 5, 1934, a day before Babe Ruth’s 39th birthday, future all-time home run leader Hammerin’ Hank Aaron is born in Mobile, Alabama.

The slugger, who will finish his career hitting 755 home runs playing for the Braves and Brewers, will surpass the ‘Bambino’s’ all-time record of 714 home runs in 1974, after receiving much hate mail from people who did not want to see a black man break baseball’s hallowed mark.

It was destined to happen.

And with amazing class Hank showed us all how.

 

Atlanta scores seven runs in seventh inning (April 4, 2003)

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Andruw Jones

In one inning, the Atlanta Braves wiped out three games’ worth of frustration. The Braves scored seven runs in the seventh, highlighted by Andruw Jones’ three-run homer, and went on to beat the Florida Marlins 12-7 on April 4, 2003.

It was Atlanta’s first victory after an 0-3 start — the team’s worst since 1988.

We relaxed and did our thing. We’ll be OK. We got the jitters out. Now we can play our game. That was obvious in the seventh inning. ~Marcus Giles who had three of Atlanta’s 16 hits

The Braves were swept by Montreal in the first series of the year, getting outscored 17-2. Atlanta, which had won 11 straight division titles, had not started so poorly since going 0-10 in 1988. All that changed in the seventh, when the Braves pounded on Marlins relievers Blaine Neal and especially Vladimir Nunez (0-1).

Trailing 5-2, Atlanta started the inning with five straight hits. Gary Sheffield had a run-scoring single, Chipper Jones hit an RBI double off the center-field wall and Andruw Jones followed with a three-run homer into the center-field stands off Nunez.

 

William Jennings Bryan “Billy” Herman selected by the special Veterans Committee for the Hall of Fame (February 3, 1975)

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William Jennings Bryan “Billy” Herman

On February 3, 1975, the special Veterans Committee selects second baseman William Jennings Bryan “Billy” Herman (Cubs, Dodgers, Braves and Pirates), skipper Bucky Harris (Senators, Tigers, Red Sox, Phillies and Yankees) and outfielder Earl Averill (Indians, Tigers, and Braves) to the Hall of Fame.

An outspoken Averill had informed his family to decline the honor if he was ever to be inducted posthumously; fortunately, he was enshrined in Cooperstown eight years before his passing.

Herman became a Major League coach with the Dodgers (1952–57) and Braves (now based in Milwaukee) (1958–59)—serving on five National League pennant winners in eight seasons. Pretty extraordinary.

Herman finished his career with a .304 batting average, 1163 runs scored, 47 home runs, 839 RBI, and 428 strikeouts. He won four NL pennants (in 1932, 1935, 1938, and 1941) but no World Series championships as a player (although he was a coach on the 1955 World Series champion Brooklyn Dodgers). His record as a Major League manager was 189-274 (.408). Herman holds the NL records for most putouts in a season by a second baseman and led the league in putouts seven times.

He also shares the Major League record for most hits on opening day, with five, set April 14, 1936.

Hank fills in for Bobby Thomson and starts his career (March 14, 1954)

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Hank Aaron

What a day this must have been. Wish I could have been there but I would be born later that summer. Hank Aaron, filling in for Bobby Thomson on March 14, 1954, who broke his ankle the day before, starts his first game wearing a Braves uniform.

The 20 year-old from Mobile, Alabama makes such an impression when he collects three hits, including a home run, in the spring training game against Boston that the club offers him a major league contract.

Who knew the journey this would start but it always starts somewhere.

Francisco Rodriguez becomes the quickest reliever ever to reach 40 saves, breaking John Smoltz’s record (July 20, 2008)

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Surpassing John Smoltz’s effort for the 2003 Braves by ten games, on July 20, 2008, Francisco Rodriguez becomes the quickest reliever ever to reach 40 saves.

The Angels closer strikes out the side in the ninth of a 5-3 come-from-behind victory of the Red Sox, completing a sweep of the reigning World Series champions.

R. A. Dickey is closing in on two milestones in 2017

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Dickey is closing in on two milestones: 2,000 innings pitched and 1,500 strikeouts. He’s currently at 1,883.2 and 1,341, respectively.

So… he needs 116.1 innings and 159 strikeouts. Both are possible this season, especially the innings, but I wouldn’t bet on either, especially the strikeouts.

Dickey hasn’t K’d more than 126 each of the last two seasons, even after start totals of 33, then 29.

As far as the innings are concerned, it’s tough to say. While he has pitched at least 169.2 innings each of the last seven seasons, there is a lot of competition to make the Braves’ rotation this year.

This could mean a few different scenarios playing out this season:

  • Dickey spends the whole year in the Braves’ rotation (gets to 116.1 IP).
  • Dickey gets traded at some point this season (then gets to 116.1 IP with another team).
  • Dickey loses his starting spot, then moves to the bullpen.

If Dickey is better than expected, or the guys who are close to a call-up are worse than expected, he could see himself reaching both of these milestones in Braves’ uniform because the Braves will most likely exercise their club option on him after this season.

 

Braves begin new ballpark chapter at SunTrust Park with 5-2 win (April 14, 2017)

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It was a great day in Atlanta Braves history. Once again, a new stadium.

Chipper Jones sat in the Atlanta Braves dugout Friday afternoon, a few hours ahead of the Braves’ first regular-season home game at their new stadium, SunTrust Park, the future Hall of Famer fielded a question about what fans might be saying as they entered the ballpark for the first time.

“I would venture a guess the word mumbled the most — maybe not even mumbled — would be ‘Wow,'” the Braves’ icon said.

“I mean, look at that video board. Look at the LED lights, the incredible green grass, this incredibly orange clay. They watch how balls fly out of here and they see the skyline and everything, and they say, ‘Wow.’ I said it. Everybody else is going to say it. …This is very impressive.”

In addition to Jones, Braves legends Hank Aaron, Bobby Cox, Tom Glavine, Dale Murphy, Phil Niekro, John Smoltz were present. They were honored as theirs and other retired numbers were unveiled. Aaron threw out the ceremonial first pitch to Cox. A prominent fan, former President Jimmy Carter, also was in attendance.

And the Braves beat San Diego 5-2.

 

Albert Spalding – Player Overview (1871-1875)

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Imagine that your middle name is “Goodwill” but you are known as one of the succeeders who left the Red Stockings for the Chicago White Stockings in 1875.

Other articles on Al Spalding:

Albert Goodwill Spalding (September 2, 1849 – September 9, 1915) was an American pitcher, manager and executive in the early years of professional baseball, and the co-founder of A.G. Spalding sporting goods company. He was born and raised in Byron, Illinois. He played major league baseball between 1871 and 1878. Spalding set a trend when he started wearing a baseball glove, and eventually opened his sporting goods store.

After his retirement as a player, Spalding remained active with the Chicago White Stockings as president and part-owner. In the 1880s, he took players on the first world tour of baseball. With William Hulbert, Spalding organized the National League. He later called for the commission that investigated the origins of baseball and credited Abner Doubleday with creating the game. He also wrote the first set of official baseball rules.

Source: Albert Spalding – Wikipedia

Batting Overview

Standard Batting
Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB
1871 20 BOS NA 31 152 144 43 39 10 1 1 31 2
1872 21 BOS NA 48 240 237 60 84 12 5 0 47 3
1873 22 BOS NA 60 326 323 83 106 15 1 1 71 9
1874 23 BOS NA 71 365 362 80 119 13 1 0 54 2
1875 24 BOS NA 74 346 343 68 107 15 3 0 56 2
1876 25 CHC NL 66 298 292 54 91 14 2 0 44
1877 26 CHC NL 60 257 254 29 65 7 6 0 35
1878 27 CHC NL 1 4 4 0 2 0 0 0 0
8 Yr 8 Yr 8 Yr 8 Yr 411 1988 1959 417 613 86 19 2 338 18
162 162 162 162 162 784 772 164 242 34 7 1 133
BOS BOS BOS BOS 284 1429 1409 334 455 65 11 2 259 18
CHC CHC CHC CHC 127 559 550 83 158 21 8 0 79
NA ( NA ( NA ( NA ( 284 1429 1409 334 455 65 11 2 259 18
NL ( NL ( NL ( NL ( 127 559 550 83 158 21 8 0 79
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/9/2017.

Boston Rustlers lose 26-3 to Cincinnati (June 4, 1911)

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On June 4, 1911, in a 26-3 win over the Braves at Palace of the Fans in Cincinnati, thirteen Reds players cross home plate.

It is the highest number of different players from one team to score in a single game in major league history.

Now that is not something to be known for. Baseball can produce some embarrassing results. It is a long season. Always!

Hank Aaron

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Hank is my hero. Great article his momentous day on April 8.

Trouble with the Curve

01151101It was 43 years ago today that Hank Aaron became baseball’s all-time home run king.   Aaron awoke that morning perched atop baseball’s most coveted leader board; tied with the larger than life and most legendary sports figure in the world, George Herman Ruth. The world had been watching and waiting for months as all ears and eyes became focused on the bat in Aaron’s hands.  It would be those hands and the flick of those wrists that would propel the game’s most talented yet unassuming men into immortality.   For years, Aaron had been chasing the record with his particular brand of quiet excellence. Often in the shadow of the flashier talents of the era – players like Mantle, Mays, and Robinson.

Pitcher Claude Osteen once said of Aaron, “You have a better chance of slapping a live rattlesnake across the face and getting away with it than you…

View original post 1,016 more words

Some fun Opening Day facts about the Braves (April 3, 2017)

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I love opening day. There is nothing like it.

Here are some fun facts!

  • Going back all the way to 1876 when they were the the Boston Red Stockings, the Braves have a total record of 78-62-1 on Opening Day.
  • Their first Opening Day game, according to Baseball Almanac, was against the Hartford Dark Blues (old time baseball names are weird) which they lost 3-2
  • Tie games are rare in baseball these days, but that didn’t stop the Braves from playing the Phillies to a 2-2 tie on Opening Day 1950
  • The Braves pitcher with the most Opening Day starts in the franchise’s history is Phil Niekro with 8. Greg Maddux came in a close second with 7.
  • Speaking of Maddux, between 1990-2003…the only pitchers to make Opening Day starts for the Braves were Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and John Smoltz to the surprise of exactly no one. Who was the pitcher who broke the streak? Russ Ortiz
  • Julio Teheran is about to make his 4th consecutive Opening Day start for the Braves. The other two pitchers for the franchise since it moved to Atlanta to accomplish the same feat? Rick Mahler (1985-1988) and Greg Maddux (1993-1996)
  • The Braves played an insane Opening Day game in their game in Atlanta where Tony Cloninger pitched 13 innings (!) while striking out 12 batters and future skipper of the Evil Empire Joe Torre drove in the Braves only two runs on a pair of solo shots. It is worth noting that the Braves lost the game despite Cloninger going 13 innings which had to feel…..not great assuming he had any feeling left in his body after that start.

Source: Some fun Opening Day facts about the Braves – Talking Chop

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.