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

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

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

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

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Eddie Mathews

Atlanta Braves Hank Aaron Ties Babe Ruth (April 4, 1974)

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It was time. Babe Ruth, the all time home run leader, a player whose greatness and larger than life personality had been the stuff of legends for generations, was about to be caught. Heading into the 1974 season, Atlanta Braves outfielder Hank Aaron was only one home run behind Ruth’s hallowed 714, and only an injury or a miracle would keep that record intact.

As it turned out, neither would happen. In fact, Aaron made sure to make quick work of that chase for 714, doing so on Opening Day (April 4, 1974) against the Cincinnati Reds. With one out in the first, and runners on first and second, Aaron sent the Jack Billingham offering over the wall in left center, tying Ruth atop the all time list.

And so … one more to go to break the record.

Source: Atlanta Braves Hank Aaron Ties Babe Ruth

Braves lose NLDS 5-1 to Chicago Cubs (October 4, 2003)

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October 4, 2003 wasn’t a great day for the Atlanta Braves. It couldn’t have been worse, as a matter of fact.

They were humiliated by the Cubs who win their first postseason series victory since 1908 when the franchise won the World Series.

In front of a standing-room crowd of 54,357 at Turner Field, Chicago beat the Braves in the deciding Game 5 of the NLDS, 5-1.

Season over! Yikes!

A few Game notes:

  • For the eighth time in franchise history, the Braves played
    a decisive postseason game. They were 4-3 in previous Game 7s or
    Game 5s.
  • Sheffield had another miserable postseason. He went
    2-for-14 against the Cubs after going 1-of-16 in a five-game loss
    to San Francisco last year.
  • Former President Jimmy Carter, an
    avid Braves fan, sat in the box next to the Atlanta dugout.
  • Tiger Woods, who has played golf with Smoltz, attended the game after
    winning the American Express Championship in suburban Atlanta.

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Braves earn first win of the season with rally vs. Marlins (April 16, 2016)

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On the ropes early, and in danger of extending their season-opening losing streak even further, the Braves showed resolve and rallied behind three RBIs from Adonis Garcia, including a tiebreaking two-run single in the eighth inning, to defeat the Marlins, 6-3, on April 16, 2016 at Marlins Park as Major League Baseball celebrated Jackie Robinson Day.

Garcia, who committed two errors in the third inning, became the Braves’ offensive hero late with his key hits, which enabled Atlanta to avoid dropping to 0-10 for the first time since 1988.

The Marlins, meanwhile, let a three-run lead slip away. They had the chance to break the game open early but bounced into three double plays, and fell to 12-26 all-time against Atlanta at Marlins Park.

Andruw Jones inducted into the Braves Hall of Fame (August 19, 2016)

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Andruw Jones

Andruw Jones

Andruw Jones played the first eight years from 1996 to 2007 with Atlanta and had some great power numbers. More than anything, I loved seeing him glide through Center Field and miraculously catch an impossible hit. He brought the grace of Willie Mays to the field for a brief period of time.

He hit .264 with 288 home runs and 860 RBI. He had 1,247 hits, 237 doubles and scored 788 runs.

He made five All-Star teams and won Gold Gloves all eight years he was with the team in the decade.

Consider these accomplishments

The Braves inducted him into the Braves Hall of Fame on August 19, 2016. It was the right thing to do.

The “Crime Dog” pinch hits a homer after a “fire delay” (July 19, 1993)

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Delays are a part of the game. They happen all the time. But for a fire? Now that is a story.

The game against the Cardinals on July 19, 1993 is delayed for an hour after a fire breaks out in the skybox/press box area of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

Recently acquired Fred McGriff (the Crime Dog) pinch-hits a homer, enabling the Braves to rally from a 5-0 deficit to win 7-5 and appears to ignite the beginning of the team’s historic comeback from a 9 1/2 games deficit to win the National League West Division.

Thanks to the delay and thanks to the “Crime Dog”.

Fred McGriff

Hank Aaron’s last at bat with the Atlanta Braves is a home run (October 2, 1974)

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October 2, 1974 was a sad day for Atlanta Braves fans. Our only hope, for so many years, after the move from Milwaukee, was Hammerin Hank.

Henry Aaron, in his final at bat for the Braves after spending 21 seasons with the team, homers off right-hander Rawly Eastwick in the 13-0 rout of Cincinnati at Atlanta Stadium. The Hammer’s last National League plate appearance yields his 3600th career hit, which is the Brewer-bound outfielder’s 736 round-tripper career.

He would head back to Milwaukee to finish out his last 2 years. Fitting since that is where he started. Wished he would have stayed in Atlanta.

Eddie Fallenstin first in Little League and then the Braves on April 30, 1933 – Guest blog by Keith Spalding Robbins

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Guest blog by Keith Spalding Robbins

The newspaper photo of the South Orange Ridgewoods that were coached by the Stonehams also shows the photo of future MLB pitcher Eddie Fallenstin. As youngster in Maplewood, Ed Fallenstin grew up with baseball. His father was involved in the first Lackawanna League in Summit. And with the Stonehams’ patronage of the South Orange Recreation Department, many of Giants players were visitors to the historic Cameron Field baseball diamond giving baseball clinics and day camps.  Most notable was the one game exhibition by The Babe and Lou Gerhig in 1929 in which over 12,000 fans attended the NJ Semi-pro finals. Meeting and seeing of these great players of the 20’s and 3’0s inspired a young Eddie to make it in the Majors.

Although he won the little league title for Charles Stoneham’s team in the early 1920s and then Lackawanna League titles for the Maplewood Maples, he was not signed by the Giants. The Newark Bears got him first.  After getting signed by the Bears he was assigned to Wilkes-Barre for a NY Penn League team. On June 1, he was noted that he had caught the eye of the manager and “would make good for the club.” (Wilkes-Barre Times Leader Jun 1, 1931). He did well there and moved up, making it to the Phillies in 1931 as a 22 -year old rookie with some promise. After a not too successful season mostly in relief with the woeful Phillies, they were only 35 games back in 1931 he was released. After a summer of ‘32 back in minors of Western Pennsylvania, this time at Scranton. He would finish the season with the Jersey City Skeeters. The Braves of that era were not known as a good team but always looking for pitching. And they found and signed Ed Fallenstin in time to start the 1933 season.

On the last Sunday of April, the old Braves field was buzzing, and near capacity crowd of some 35,000 loyalists filled the old ball park. The Giants were in town for a doubleheader, and expectations were not great, as the Braves were in their all too familiar last place position, while the Giants were atop the early season standings. In newspaper reports across the country noted, “The Boston Braves, climaxing a sudden rise from the National League Cellar to the first division.” The Braves had done the most unexpected, and swept the Giants.

The key pitcher in game one, in just one hour and twenty-eight minutes had achieved baseball success, a three hit, shut out. No Giant got past second base.  The youngster on the hill for the Braves was making his first major league start. The newspaper accounts described him as, “…a Maplewood, NJ boy pitching his first full major league game…, a long and lean rookie.”  Ed Fallenstin had just got his first MLB victory.

It was a gem and a good team effort, with the pitcher getting wo strikeouts and giving up just one walk. The Braves suddenly reliable infield turning three double plays resulting in one over the game minimum number of batters came to the plate to face the rookie. Two doubles by eventual Hall of Famer Rabbit Maranville, batting 8th were enough.  The Braves won 3-0.

Yet on April 30, 1933 against Carl Hubbell and the NY Giants, the future NL MVP, and the 1933 World Champions of Baseball, Fallenstin pitched the game of a lifetime. At Braves Field on the last Sunday of April 1933 with one of the largest crowds in years, Horace Stoneham’s MLB Giants were soundly beaten by his former Little League star player.

Yet the story continues, for later that summer this time the game was at the Polo Grounds, and hopefully with some of his hometown friends and old teammates in the stands. It was June 15, a thursday afternoon game. The Giants again found themselves facing their little league nemesis, Braves rookie Ed Fallenstin. The Giants did find a way to master his pitches. Twenty-seven Giant at bats created 10 hits and three runs, in just five innings. Removed for a pinch hitter in the 6th, even though he had hit a one out two run scoring double in the 4th, Fallenstin’s day was done.

The lead was held by Tom Zachary, and when the last out was recorded Maplewood’s best little leaguer had done it again. Ed Fallenstin was victorious and had beaten the Giants and his former little league coach.

The scribe for the rival Dodgers, the old Brooklyn Eagle noted Ed Fallenstin pitched effective ball against the Giants and drove in two runs. (Brooklyn Eagle June 16, 1933.)

Later that summer on July 3rd back in Boston, the Giants finally got even. Although it took some help from a not-so-sure Braves infield.  In that fateful fifth inning with help from a fielding error, a two- out walk, followed by a double and then single, the Giants had finally tagged Fallenstin. It was his only MLB loss. That inning the Fallenstin and the Braves needed to make four outs, and in before getting that critical inning ending out, three unearned runs scored and sealed the fate for a 5-2 Giants victory.

During the Summer of ’33 it was, Ed Fallenstin, a Boston Brave, a true Little League Giant tamer. If, if only not for a costly 5th inning lead off error.

He pitched in just a few more games, thus ending his short-lived and otherwise unremarkable MLB career. He did not beat another team nor lose to one either, and finished up with a record of 2-1, with an era of 5.52 and a WHIP of 1.800.

Given his release, he played for many years in semi-pro ball in NJ. In a unique turn, Fallenstin ended up in pitching for the Braves, but this time it was for the Belmar NJ Braves.

 

Julio Franco hits a grand slam at age 45 (June 4, 2004)

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Julio Franco – Atlanta Braves

At Turner Field on June 4, 2004, Julio Franco became the oldest player in baseball history to hit a grand slam. The 45 year-old Dominican first baseman’s first inning base-loaded home run proves to be the difference as the Braves beat the Phillies, 8-4.

Julio was a work horse. He continued to play in the majors until 2007 but played on minor and international teams until 2015.

Look at this team history:

4,000 Professional Hit Club: Now this is amazing, Franco compiled over 4,200 hits in his 26-year professional career, making him one of only seven known players with at least 4,000 professional hits (the others being Pete RoseTy CobbHank AaronJigger StatzStan Musial, Derek Jeter, and Ichiro Suzuki.

Source: Wikipedia

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

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Warren Spahn 

It isn’t every day you can do this. It turns out, in fact to be rare.

On June 4, 1940 the Braves sign South Park High School (Buffalo, NY) standout Warren Spahn, who will make his major league debut in 1942 when 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.

Braves field defeats the Yankees (August 2, 1931)

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Just playing on Braves field defeats the Yankees. The Braves didn’t have to do the work. I know this is a stretch but stranger things have happened.

On August 2, 1931, the Yankees are shut out by the Red Sox at Braves Field, 1-0.

It will be another two years and a day, a major league record spanning three hundred and eight games, before the Bronx Bombers are blanked again.

Today the site is home to Nickerson Field on the campus of Boston University. The stadium was home of the Boston Braves from 1915–1952, prior to the Braves’ move to Milwaukee in 1953.

The stadium hosted the 1936 Major League Baseball All-Star Game and Braves home games during the 1948 World Series.

The Boston Red Sox used Braves Field for their home games in the 1915 and 1916 World Series since the stadium had a larger seating capacity than Fenway Park.

Braves Field was the site of Babe Ruth’s final season, playing for the Braves in 1935.

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Looking back at the 1966 first opening day for Atlanta Braves (April 12, 1966)

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What was the first game in Atlanta like? April 12, 1966 was a historic day for the Braves.

Here is the lineup for that day. You’ll see some great names and a few obscure ones.

Leading off and playing center field — No. 29, Felipe Alou. Batting second, third baseman — No. 41, Eddie Mathews. In the three hole, right fielder — No. 44, Hank Aaron. Batting cleanup and playing left field — No. 43, Rico Carty. Batting fifth and behind the plate — No. 15 catcher, Joe Torre. At shortstop and batting sixth — No. 19, Denis Menke. Batting seventh, first baseman — No. 9, Lee Thomas. At second base and batting eighth — No. 2, Frank Bolling. And on the hill, right-hander — No. 40, Tony Cloninger.

A crowd of 50,671, slightly below capacity of 52,007, was on hand to witness the game, which the Pirates won 3-2 in 13 innings. Home runs accounted for all the scoring. Torre was responsible for both Atlanta runs, hitting solo shots in the fifth (the first official home run in the stadium) and then in the 13th. Joe Pagliaroni had a solo homer for Pittsburgh in the eighth, and Willie Stargell hit a two-run shot in the top of the 13th, which proved to be the difference.

And some trivia about our pitcher. In what would be unheard of in today’s game, Tony Cloninger went the full 13 innings and was charged with the loss. He struck out 12 and walked just three. Cloninger, who won 24 games in 1965 and finished with a 14-11 record in 1966, put his name in the baseball record book later that season by hitting two grand slams against the San Francisco, Giants on July 3.

He is the only pitcher in major league baseball history to accomplish that feat.

The Braves maul the Marlins 20-3 to clinch the NL East title (October 5, 2001)

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It was an evening game at Turner Field. 29,290 were in attendance when the Braves maul the Marlins on October 5, 2001, 20-3 to clinch the National League East title.

They would become the first team in professional sports to win 10 consecutive division titles. The Boston Celtics (1957-65) and Los Angeles Lakers (1982-90) had both won nine in a row.

The Braves would go on to win 14 in a row. Perhaps a record that will never be broken.

Atlanta Braves Table
Batting AB R H RBI BB SO PA BA OBP SLG OPS
Marcus Giles 2B 3 3 1 4 3 0 6 .266 .342 .436 .778
Julio Franco 1B 5 3 3 2 1 1 6 .295 .374 .443 .817
Chipper Jones 3B 5 3 2 5 1 0 6 .330 .427 .605 1.032
Brian Jordan RF 5 2 2 1 0 2 5 .296 .335 .498 .833
B.J. Surhoff LF 2 1 1 1 2 1 5 .272 .323 .408 .730
Andruw Jones CF 2 2 0 1 2 1 5 .251 .312 .461 .773
Rey Sanchez SS 5 2 2 3 0 0 5 .282 .301 .338 .639
Paul Bako C 3 3 2 1 2 0 5 .212 .312 .343 .655
Kevin Millwood P 2 1 0 1 1 1 3 .093 .114 .093 .207
   Ken Caminiti PH 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 .229 .314 .411 .725
   Kerry Ligtenberg P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
   Dave Martinez PH 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 .285 .346 .379 .725
   Steve Reed P 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Team Totals 34 20 14 20 12 7 48 .412 .542 .706 1.248
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 8/8/2017.

Brian McCann moves to the Yankees (November 23, 2013)

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Brian McCann is favorite among Braves fans, and has been since he came to town in 2005. He is from Athens, GA so he gets bonus points in my book.

In that time, he hit .286 with 136 home runs and 537 RBI. He has 878 hits, 200 doubles and scored 377 runs.

He’s also been named to six All-Star Games and won five Silver Sluggers.

Behind the dish, he’s thrown out 156 of 519 runners, which is a 30 percent caught-stealing rate.

Things got interesting for McCann when he became a free agent after the 2013 season. On November 23, 2013, McCann agreed to a five-year, $85 million contract with the New York Yankees, with a vesting option for a sixth year.

He is now with the Houston Astros. On April 14, 2017, McCann became the 14th catcher to record over 10,000 putouts at the position.

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Braves rewind: Whatever happened to…Biff Pocoroba?

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Let’s take a look at Braves from years past. How about Biff Pocoroba? Don’t laugh, he was an All-Star for the Braves in 1978.

  • When did Biff play? “Biff was a catcher in the ’70s and ’80s and was a career Brave, playing all 596 games while wearing a tomahawk. He was a .257 hitter, but he once threw out 11 straight potential base-stealers. 1977 was his best year: he played in 113 games; he hit .290, and hit a walk-off grand slam. However, his 1978 year was most puzzling. That year, he finished the season hitting just .242 but was selected as an All-Star. Why? Teammate Phil Niekro was on that All-Star squad, and apparently no catchers wanted to try to catch Niekro’s knuckler; none except Biff. To no one’s surprise, Biff had 53 passed balls in his career; most of them before 1980.”
  • How did his career end? “Following rotator cuff surgery in 1979, Biff was limited primarily to pinch-hitting duties for the remainder of his career, although Bobby Cox did try him out at third base.”
  • “Biff played his final game April 20, 1984. In retirement, he opened Sausage World, a specialty meat establishment in Lilburn, Georgia.”

Source: Braves rewind: Whatever happened to…Biff Pocoroba? – Talking Chop

After Braves, Andrelton Simmons moved on to the Angels (November 12, 2015)

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It’s like breaking up with your first girlfriend. It’s a little heartbreaking at first. You plan like it’s gonna be forever, and after it’s over, you wish them the best. I’m with my new girlfriend now, and I’m focused on this team and helping them win now.

On November 12, 2015, Simmons, along with catcher Jose Briceno, was traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for Erick Aybar, Sean Newcomb and Chris Ellis.

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Dickey, Markakis help Braves overcome Stanton, Marlins 5-3 (August 4, 2017)

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R. A. Dickey – Atlanta Braves 2017

R.A. Dickey is glad he doesn’t have to face Giancarlo Stanton too often. But he did and won. Now that is some good news for the Braves who continue to struggle this year. In third place for the NL East, 14.5 games behind Washington.

Source: Dickey, Markakis help Braves overcome Stanton, Marlins 5-3

  • What does this mean for Dickey? “Dickey won for the first time in seven starts, Nick Markakis hit a three-run homer and the Atlanta Braves overcame Stanton’s two home runs to beat the Miami Marlins 5-3 on Friday night.”
  • And Dickey says … “I had done a pretty good job of keeping him in the yard for about six years, so he was probably due,” Dickey said. “He’s good. He’s a specimen. I thought I had a pretty good knuckleball otherwise.”
  • How did Stanton do? “Stanton hit his 34th and 35th homers, passing Yankees slugger Aaron Judge for most in the majors, to give the Marlins a 3-1 lead in the sixth. Markakis took Adam Conley (4-4) deep in the bottom of the inning to make it 4-3.”
  • Dickey holds his own: “Dickey (7-7) allowed three hits, three runs, one walk and struck out three in six innings. The 42-year-old knuckleballer has pitched well lately, going 3-2 with a 2.22 ERA in nine starts since losing 10-5 at Washington on June 13.”
  • More on Stanton: “Stanton crushed his first homer into the tunnel past the wall in center field to make it 1-all in the fourth . Major League Baseball’s Statcast said it would have gone a distance of 477 feet unimpeded, his longest of the season, and an exit velocity of 115.5 mph off the bat. He followed with a hard two-run shot off Dickey in the sixth, this one to left field, that put Miami up 3-1 .”

 

Rick Ankiel throws 5 wild pitches in one inning (October 3, 2000)

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Against the Braves on October 3, 2000, Cardinal rookie starter Rick Ankiel sets a modern day major league record by uncorking five wild pitches in the third inning of Game 1 of NLDS against the Atlanta Braves.

He joins Buffalo’s Bert Cunningham, who accomplished the same feat in the first inning in an 1890 Players League contest.

LaRussa has stated that putting Ankiel into Game One of the 2000 NLDS was “a decision that perhaps haunts him more than any he has ever made.”

Unfortunately for the Braves, the Cardinals won the game.

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Phil Masi World Series controversy (1948)

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Phil Masi.jpgIt was in the first game of the 1948 World Series held at Boston Braves Field against the favored Cleveland Indians that Phil Masi would become embroiled in a controversy that secured his place in baseball history.

The Braves’ Johnny Sain and Indians’ Bob Feller were engaged in a scoreless pitchers’ duel when the Braves came to bat in the bottom of the eighth inning. Feller walked Braves catcher Bill Salkeld to open the inning. Braves manager Billy Southworth then substituted the slow-footed Salkeld with Masi, who entered the game as a pinch runner. Now today, a catcher probably wouldn’t be your choice for a pinch runner. Mike McCormick followed with a sacrifice bunt, advancing Masi to second base.

Feller issued an intentional walk to Eddie Stanky, who was replaced by Sibby Sisti. Feller then made a pick off attempt of Masi at second base. Indians’ shortstop Lou Boudreau appeared to tag Masi out, but umpire Bill Stewart called him safe.

Tommy Holmes followed with a single that scored Masi with the only run of the game, giving the Braves a 1-0 victory. The umpire’s controversial ruling touched off heated debates among the media and fans, especially after Associated Press photographs of the play were published.

Although the victory gave the Braves a 1-0 lead, the Indians won the World Series in six games.

Braves win their 15th consecutive game (May 2, 2000)

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Atlanta Braves

En route to the team’s ninth division title in ten years, on May 2, 2000, the Braves win their fifteenth consecutive game when they beat L.A. at Chavez Ravine, 5-3.

The winning streak, which began on April 16, ties an Atlanta record.

The 2000 Atlanta Braves season marked the franchise’s 35th season in Atlanta. The Braves won their ninth consecutive division title, however, the 2000 season would mark the first time since 1990 that the Braves did not appear in the National League Championship Series.

One of the highlights of the season was that the All-Star Game was held at Turner Field in Atlanta.

 

That Time Satchel Paige Was an Atlanta Braves Pitching Coach (1969)

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The great Satchel Paige. The ageless stalworth of the Negro Leagues. We’re all familiar with Satchel Paige and his greatness, and many of us can even quote a classic Satchel quote or two. But, what you might not have known, is that Satchel Paige was an Atlanta Braves pitching coach once. Well, sort of.

In 1968, Satchel Paige was just 158 days shy of the five years’ playing time needed to qualify for Major League pension. Satchel reached out to 29 teams to give him just one more chance and 29 teams turned the ageless wonder down.

It’s also important to note that Satchel was shy of the major league pension because of the bogus color barrier. He didn’t get called up to the majors, from the Negro Leagues where he played 17 years, until 1949. And in 1949, the man was already 42 years old.

So, when 1968 came around and 62 year old Satchel Paige realizes that he’s just shy of a nice major league pension, he just figured he’d make some calls and pick up a baseball again.

But, when every other team was quick to turn down Satchel Paige, Atlanta Braves president Bill Bartholomay saw an opportunity. In 1968, the Braves had been in Atlanta for just three years, and Bartholomay knew that he could kill two birds with one stone. Bill could do the right thing for the legendary Satchel Paige, and he could sell a few tickets along the way in the newest baseball city.

In order to make Satchel Paige eligible to receive his pension, Bartholomay signed Paige to a contract running through the 1969 season as the Atlanta Braves pitching coach. Satchel would actually suit up and pitch a couple of innings during two exhibition games early in the spring 1969, but he’d spend the rest of the season “coaching” from his living room in Kansas City, Missouri.

After reaching his 158 required days, Paige left the Atlanta Braves organization and less than three years later, began drawing that Major League pension. He received $250 a month.

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John Rocker – An amazing closer for the Atlanta Braves but all ruined by an intolerance for others and the rules

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John Rocker – Atlanta Brave

Man, John Rocker could pitch and what a closer he was. John Loy Rocker (born October 17, 1974) is a relief pitcher who played for the Atlanta Braves, the Cleveland Indians, the Texas Rangers, and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as well as the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. He threw left-handed and batted right-handed. He is a native of Macon, Georgia and lives in Atlanta.

In high school, he was a pitcher for First Presbyterian Day School in Macon, Georgia.He threw three no-hitters during his high-school career. He was soon drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 18th round (516th overall) of the 1993 Major League Baseball Draft.

In 1998, he was promoted to the major league club. In Rocker’s first season in the Major Leagues, he was 1–3 with a 2.13 ERA in 38 innings pitched. The following year, an injury put Atlanta closer Kerry Ligtenberg on the DL, moving Rocker into the role of closer, where he was 4–5 with 38 saves and a 2.49 ERA. In 2000, he was 1–2 with 24 saves, posting a 2.89 ERA, but in June 2000, Rocker was demoted for threatening a reporter.

John on whether he would ever play for the New York Yankees or the New York Mets.

I’d retire first. It’s the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the 7 Train to the ballpark looking like you’re riding through Beirut next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It’s depressing… The biggest thing I don’t like about New York are the foreigners. You can walk an entire block in Times Square and not hear anybody speaking English. Asians and Koreans and Vietnamese and Indians and Russians and Spanish people and everything up there. How the hell did they get in this country?

Braves fans were initially willing to support him; however, as Rocker received intense taunting from opposing teams’ fans, his pitching performance declined. On June 23, 2001, Rocker, along with minor-league infielder Troy Cameron (Atlanta’s first-round draft pick in 1997), was traded to the Cleveland Indians for right-handed relievers Steve Karsay and Steve Reed, along with cash. 

I abhor the “steroid era” in baseball. In March 2007, Rocker was implicated in a steroid ring that included Applied Pharmacy of Mobile, Alabama. In December 2011, he admitted to using steroids, saying “Yeah, of course I was [using steroids]. I mean who wasn’t? Let’s be honest here, who wasn’t?”

So long to the Braves and so long to what little respect I had left for him. An amazing closer but all ruined by an intolerance for others and the rules.

John Rocker
Year Age Tm Lg IP G GS R RA9
1998 23 ATL NL 38.0 47 0 10 2.37
1999 24 ATL NL 72.1 74 0 24 2.99
2000 25 ATL NL 53.0 59 0 25 4.25
2001 26 ATL NL 32.0 30 0 13 3.66
2001 26 CLE AL 34.2 38 0 23 5.97
2002 27 TEX AL 24.1 30 0 19 7.03
2003 28 TBD AL 1.0 2 0 1 9.00
6 Seasons 255.1 280 0 115 4.05
ATL (4 yrs) 195.1 210 0 72 3.32
TBD (1 yr) 1.0 2 0 1 9.00
TEX (1 yr) 24.1 30 0 19 7.03
CLE (1 yr) 34.2 38 0 23 5.97
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 3/10/2017.

Hank Aaron ties Babe Ruth in Cincinnati, forced to do so by Commissioner Bowie Kuhn (April 4, 1974)

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On April 4, 1974, in front a crowd of 52,000 at Riverfront Stadium on Opening Day in Cincinnati, Hank Aaron ties Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record of 714 by hitting a first-inning two-run homer off Jack Billingham.

The Atlanta front office had considered keeping ‘Hammerin’ Hank’ on the bench during road games so the slugger could try to equal the mark in front of the hometown fans, but commissioner Bowie Kuhn ordered the Braves to put the outfielder into the lineup for at least two of the three games against the Reds.

And so they did. And Hank tied the record in Cincinnati.

But, he saved the best for Atlanta and broke the record there.  Continue reading

Braves All-Stars (July 11, 2017)

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God bless Ender Inciarte for getting elected to the All Stars game in Miami on July 11, 2017. It is well deserved. On December 9, 2015, the Diamondbacks traded Inciarte, Dansby Swanson, and Aaron Blair to the Braves for Shelby Miller, and Gabe Speier. Inciarte started for the Braves as their center fielder and leadoff hitter on Opening Day

We seem to be entering a drought here. Only 1 player going to the All-Stars each of the last 3 years. If you look back over the last 20 years, you will see a different story. Sending only 1 would have been embarrassing. The culture has certainly changed in Atlanta.

At least we have a new stadium! Continue reading

The lasting impact of the Expos trade for Bartolo Colon (June 27, 2002)

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On June 27, 2002, Colon was traded from the Cleveland Indians to the Montreal Expos, who fancied themselves contenders for the National League wild card and NL East races despite deficits of 5 and 6.5 games respectively at the end of the day.

Bartolo has bounced around a lot. Of course, the Braves just released him. Here is the list (courtesy of Wikipedia):

Source: On this date: The lasting impact of the Expos trade for Bartolo Colon

RIP: Gene Conley, Milwaukee Braves and NBA champion, dies at 86 (July 4, 2017)

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Gene Conley, one of the few players in history to win championships in two major professional sports, has died. He was 86.

The Boston Red Sox, for whom Conley played for from 1961 to ’63, say he died Tuesday. Conley played 11 seasons from 1952 to 1963 for four different teams.

Conley helped pitch the Milwaukee Braves to a World Series championship in 1957 and won three NBA titles with the Boston Celtics. Otto Graham won championships in the NFL and the NBL, a precursor to the NBA. Continue reading

Freddie Freeman returns earlier than expected; starts at third base (July 4, 2017)

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You have to love it. Freddie Freeman returned earlier than expected from a broken left wrist as he started at third base July 4, 2017 in a 16-4 loss to the Houston Astros. It was a nasty loss but Freddie did relatively well at third.

Freeman, who was reinstated from the disabled list after meeting early in the day with a team physician, has played his entire career at first base. He singled in his first at-bat and easily handled his first chance at the hot corner, fielding a grounder and throwing sharply to first. Continue reading

Who is the Freeze and how did he became an Atlanta Braves Sensation

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Who is The Freeze and how did he become so popular?

Talton is a track athlete who has his eyes set on the 2018 World Indoor Championships in England. He is working 2 jobs right now and works all night. Doesn’t seem to slow him down though.

“The Freeze, whose real name is Nigel Talton, is a grounds-crew member for the Braves, but between innings he becomes a superhero. Fans challenge him in a race from foul pole to foul pole, and the Freeze gives his opponents a sizable head start — often five or more seconds — before turning on the jets.”

Source: How the Freeze Became an Atlanta Braves Sensation – The Ringer

“Chicks Dig the Long Ball”, a Nike Commercial, airs starring Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux (May 2, 1999)

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Now this is classic. On May 2, 1999, Nike’s ‘Chicks Dig the Long Ball’ commercial, starring Tom Glavine and Greg Maddux, airs for the first time.

The television ad depicts the Braves hurlers, both who have won multiple Cy Young Awards, as pitchers-who-want-to-become-worshipped-home-run- heroes after becoming frustrated over the attention being shown to Cardinal slugger Mark McGwire by Heather Locklear and a friend.

hi

Rafael Furcal — 2000 Rookie of the Year

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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!