Atlanta Braves Baseball Franchise History Reference
Major League Baseball has endured many changes throughout its history. Teams have been added to the league while others have relocated to newer cities and the hopes of greener pastures. The Atlanta Braves have moved on more than one occasion but many fans do not know how much history the Braves franchise has.
MLB has a total of thirty teams, twenty-nine of them are spread out in the United States and one additional team is in Canada. Of these teams many cannot claim they were a part of the original league, in fact only two are entitled too. The Braves can wear this hat proudly; the Chicago Cubs are the other team who can make this claim.
This little fact might not sound too flattering or sexy but what it means is the Braves franchise has been playing professional baseball since 1871; with over one hundred and forty years of games under their belt this franchise deserves some additional respect and admiration from baseball fans.
The current Braves team has a pretty good upside with all of the young talent on the roster. With youth comes a lack of experience and that might have led to one of the largest collapses in recent baseball memory.
Near the end of the 2011 season the Braves held the wild card position firmly, but faltered down the stretch and lost the wild card on the final day of the season when the St. Louis Cardinals rode a month of strong play to become the wild card winner.
With so many seasons played by the Braves they have had plenty of ups and downs. They had enjoyed an amazing streak of success during the 1990’s when they featured arguably three of the best arms in baseball at the time, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. In this decade six CY Young awards went to these three men. Glavine won his first in 1991 and his second in 1998, Maddux won three from 1993 – 1995 and Smoltz got his in 1996.
This decade of dominance was unprecedented at the time. The team won their division a staggering eleven times in a row from 1995 – 2005. I recognize that some of this success can be attributed to weak competition in their division, the national league east, but they still had to go out and win the games, which is just what they did.
Before the nineties the team wasn’t very good and probably deserved to be called a bad team. During the 1980’s they routinely found themselves in our near last place in their division, despite having one of the best players in the league on their team. This proves that baseball is a team sport and even one or two great players cannot carry the whole team on their shoulders.
Dale Murphy was a relative unknown in the league but then manager Bobby Cox took a chance on him and he elevated himself to being one of the best players in baseball. Murphy won multiple most valuable player (MVP) awards as well as gold gloves for his defensive play in the field. Despite this bold move Cox was fired and the team didn’t fare too well in the wins category, even with future New York Yankees manager extraordinaire Joe Torre at the helm.
The team hit the bottom, real hard, in the 1988 season when they lost one hundred and six games, not a very good percentage when you only play one hundred and sixty-two games (0.333 winning percentage).
In the 1970’s the team was a widely known one because of a certain man chasing a historic milestone, the career home run record. This man was Henry “Hank” Aaron and he was pursuing a record by the one and only Babe Ruth. This record was one that few thought could be challenged but Aaron was going for it and the nation was watching.
Being an African-American ballplayer he was the unfortunate recipient of racial comments and death threats while hunting down the record. Despite the negativity being thrown his way he managed to hit his seven hundred and fifteenth career home run in 1974.
With the team being around for as long as they have it is not a surprise to see some of the legends that played for the franchise. Obviously fans have heard of the three pitchers I already mentioned but baseball has also benefited from such players like Larry “Chipper” Jones who will call it a career after the 2012 season. Jones has been in the league for over twenty years, all with the Braves; it is a remarkable feat to play your entire career with one organization in professional sports these days.
Chipper will conclude his career being known as one of the best switch hitters the game has seen. He will also sit amongst the greats to wear a Braves uniform. As a passionate fan of the game he will be missed but I enjoyed the ovation his stellar career earned him when he took his final All-Star at bat in Kansas City back in July. Players like him don’t come along all of the time, fans need to take a moment and let them know how much we appreciate what they did for the game, fans in Kansas City did just that and I’m glad they did.
Believe it or not the Braves also had a player who was more known for his playing days in pinstripes. Before having his home run record broke by Hank Aaron Babe Ruth actually played his last season in baseball for the Braves, when they were still the Boston Braves.
Cox is a similar story to Jones, his long and illustrious managing career in MLB was for the Braves. Not only did Cox manage them for a staggering twenty-five seasons but he also holds the current managerial record for being ejected during games, something I’m sure he is OK with.
Cox managed the game the way I think it should be managed where the skipper tries to setup his players for success and completely supports them. Cox received so many ejections because he went to bat (no pun intended) for his players when he felt they needed to be defended. If he thought one of his guys was being taken advantage of he went out there and protected them like a good father would. Being a former player I would greatly appreciate seeing my manager taking one for the team this way to back us up and I would do everything I could on the field to show my appreciation by playing as hard as I could.
Professional baseball has a shortage of managers that run their teams like Cox did, especially when Tony LaRussa retired after the 2011 season. In my opinion Jim Leyland and Joe Madden are similar to Cox and LaRussa but I sure hope some of the younger managers embrace their styles; it would be a shame if baseball lost this kind of managerial style.
The Braves have been in Atlanta since the beginning of the 1966 season. Prior to playing in Atlanta they played in Milwaukee from 1953 – 1966 and before that they called Boston home from their first season back in 1871.
Who is your favorite baseball team?
Turner Field looks like an Olympic quality stadium to play in and watch a game at; I guess that might be because it was built for the 1996 Atlanta Summer Games before being put into service as the home of the Braves.
The team started playing at Turner field at the beginning of the 1997 season. The stadium hosted the baseball games for the 1996 games and was known as Olympic Stadium. From 1966 – 1996 they played at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Milwaukee County Stadium was home for the Braves franchise from 1953 – 1965. Fittingly Braves Field had the longest run as their home field hosting games from 1915 – 1952. The longtime home of the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park, even had some Braves games played there from 1914 – 1915.
Before the turn of the century the team played at the South End Grounds from 1894 – 1914, the Congress Street Grounds in 1894 and originally played back at the South End Grounds from 1871 – 1894.
World Series Winners
The franchise has won three World Series Championships. The first one was back in 1914, the next one was 1957 and their latest one was in 1995.
Even though the team won a championship during their streak of consecutive division titles some criticism was laid on the team because they didn’t win more than one World Series. Getting to the playoffs is great but the Braves made it eleven seasons in a row, only getting to the World Series three times. They deserve recognition for winning their division but I’m sure they wish that they could have won more National League crowns as well as championships.
Hall of Fame
A team that has been around this long will have some serious representation in Cooperstown. Trying to keep the over forty players who are in the Hall of Fame that played for the franchise is a complicated process. Not only is it cumbersome to have that many players there but not all of these players went in as Braves players; they are also spread out through three different eras of Braves baseball.
Players have the choice of selecting which team they want to claim as their primary team when they go into the Hall of Fame; if you only played for one team this is a moot point. Some players may also decide to not represent a team when they are enshrined, it is all personal preference.
The franchise has nine players in the hall wearing their Braves hats proudly; five players came from their Boston days, two from Milwaukee and the final two from Atlanta.