Fred Frankhouse is the only bright spot (1935)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You have to love the honesty.

The Beaneaters and a season of lasts (1906)

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

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

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

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

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

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John Morrill

John Morrill – Boston manager 1882

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

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

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

Change. It is constant. It is baseball.

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Fred Tenney gets a bonus for losing (1905)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be careful what you ask for!

Fred Tenney

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Is King Kelly really the Captain? (1887)

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

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

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

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

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

Mike “King” Kelly

The Players League decimates the Beaneaters (1890)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Frank Selee – Boston Beaneaters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After a long delay the Braves won the pennant.

Boston Beaneaters

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

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

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

But he didn’t regret it.

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

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

Al Dark was Deion Sanders before Deion Sanders (1948)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some of his career highlights were:

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Dusty Baker – Atlanta Braves

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

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Johnny Antonelli

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

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

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

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

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

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

Boston Beaneaters and Frank Selee finish fifth (1895)

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

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

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

A lot would go downhill from there.

Frank Selee – Boston Beaneaters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

George Wright

John Smoltz – The most beloved pitcher for the Atlanta Braves

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John Smoltz

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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Javy Lopez – Atlanta Brave from 1992 to 2003

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Kenny Lofton

 

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

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

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

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

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Fred Hoey – Broadcaster for the Braves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Bob Wickman – 2006 Atlanta Braves

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And yet …

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

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

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Things change in baseball. Sometimes slowly but they change.

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

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

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

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

Atlanta Braves Logo

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

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Mel Ott 500th Home Run Bal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Eddie Mathews

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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