The highlight of the 1973 Atlanta Braves season was Hank Aaron finishing the season just one home run short of Babe Ruth as baseball’s all-time home run king. The 1973 Atlanta Braves were the first team to boast three 40 home run hitters. They were Aaron, Darrell Evans (41), and Davey Johnson (43).
At the age of 39, Aaron managed to slug 40 home runs in 392 at bats, ending the season with 713, which at that time one home run short of the record. He hit home run number 713 on September 29, 1973, and with one day remaining in the season, many expected him to tie the record. But in his final game that year, playing against the Houston Astros (led by manager Leo Durocher, who had once roomed with Babe Ruth), he was unable to hit one out of the park. After the game, Aaron stated that his only fear was that he might not live to see the 1974 season. That statement was not just about the death threats: one year earlier, September 30, 1972 was the last day that the legendary Roberto Clemente ever played, as he perished in the offseason
Of course, finishing 76-85 has you searching for the light at the end of the tunnel. Hank Aaron was the light in 1973. The Braves were 22 1/2 games out of first place. It was Eddie Matthews second year as manager. He wouldn’t have too many more.
An interesting record that year was that the Braves scored more runs than any other team in the National League. They also gave up more runs than any other team. That accounts for their miserable record.