Atlanta Braves

From BR Bullpen

Previously known as Cincinnati Red Stockings (1866-1870), Boston Red Stockings (1871-1886), Boston Beaneaters (1887-1906), Boston Doves (1907-1910), Boston Rustlers (1911), Boston Braves (1912-1935; 1941-1952), Boston Bees (1936-1941) and Milwaukee Braves (1953-1965).

also known as Boston Red Caps (1876-1882), Boston Nationals (1876-fl. 1922), Boston Reds (1870s-1880s)

Franchise Record:

  • (1866-2021) 11,223-10,833-158-4 (.509) 107,761-99,957 (+7804)
  • (1869-2021) 11,091-10,823-158-4 (.506) 101,296-98,215 (+3081)
  • (1871-2021) 11,045-10,817-157-4 (.505) 100,111-97,641 (+2470)
  • (1876-2021) 10,820-10,757-150-4 (.501) 96,884-95,884 (+1000)
  • (1966-2021) 4,556-4,269-8 (.516) 38,726-37,407 (+1319)

Post Season Record:

  • (1892-2021) 106-105-1 (.502) 876-837 (+39)
  • (1892-1897) 6-4-1 (.591) 72-69 (+3)
  • (1914-2021) 100-101-0 (.498) 804-768 (+36)
  • (1969-2021) 87-90-0 (.472) 723-691 (+20)

Postseason: 27 (1914, 1948, 1957, 1958, 1969, 1982, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021)

National Association Pennants: 4 (1872, 1873, 1874, 1875)

National League Pennants: 19 (1877, 1878, 1883, 1891, 1892, 1893, 1897, 1898, 1914, 1948, 1957, 1958, 1969, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2021)

Pre-World Series Title: 1892

Temple Cup Appearance: 1897

World Series Titles: 4 (1914, 1957, 1995, 2021)

Ballparks: Live Oaks Base Ball Grounds (Sept. 29-Oct. 27, 1866); Lincoln Park Grounds (aka Union Grounds: May 4, 1867-Aug. 4, 1870); South End Grounds I (May 16, 1871-Sept. 10, 1887); Hampden Park, Springfield, MA (July 16, 1873; May 14, 1875); Adelaide Avenue Grounds, Providence, RI (June 22, 1875); South End Grounds II (May 25, 1888-May 15, 1894); Congress Street Grounds (May 16-June 20, 1894); South End Grounds III (July 20, 1894-Aug. 11, 1914); Rocky Point Grounds (Sept. 6, 1903), Fenway Park (Apr. 19 & May 30, 1913; Aug. 1 & 8, Sept. 7, 1914-July 27, 1915, Apr. 28, 1946); Braves Field (Aug. 18, 1915-Sept 21, 1952), County Stadium (Apr. 14, 1953-Sept. 22, 1965); Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium (Apr. 12, 1966-Oct. 24, 1996); Turner Field (Apr. 4, 1997-Oct. 2, 2016); Fort Bragg Field (July 3, 2016); Truist Park (Mar. 31, 2017-Present)

Franchise Players: Harry Wright, George Wright, Tommy Bond, John Clarkson, Hugh Duffy, Bobby Lowe, Fred Tenney, Kid Nichols, Vic Willis, Rabbit Maranville, Dick Rudolph, Wally Berger, Tommy Holmes, Johnny Sain, Bob Elliott, Warren Spahn, Eddie Mathews, Johnny Logan, Lew Burdette, Hank Aaron, Del Crandall, Joe Adcock, Joe Torre, Phil Niekro, Dale Murphy, Bob Horner, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux, Javy Lopez, Andruw Jones, Freddie Freeman

Retired Numbers 3 Dale Murphy; 6 Bobby Cox; 10 Chipper Jones; 21 Warren Spahn; 29 John Smoltz; 31 Greg Maddux; 35 Phil Niekro; 41 Eddie Mathews; 42 Jackie Robinson (retired throughout baseball); 44 Hank Aaron; 47 Tom Glavine

Atlanta Braves Logo

Franchise History[edit]

The Atlanta Braves are a baseball team in the National League. Formerly the Milwaukee Braves, they started playing at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in 1966, but they trace their lineage back to the Boston Red Stockings of the 19th century National Association and before that, to the Cincinnati Red Stockings, the first professional baseball team.

Early Incarnations[edit]

The National League's Braves franchise started in 1866 as the Cincinnati Baseball Club. By the time the team had turned professional in 1869, the team was known as the Cincinnati Red Stockings. On November 21, 1870, following what was considered to be the team's worst season, club owners decided to fold for the upcoming season. During the winter months, manager Harry Wright met with Ivers W. Adams, and various Boston, MA businessmen to form a baseball team there. Taking with him his brother George Wright, Charlie Gould and Cal McVey as well as the Red Stockings name, he traveled to Boston where on January 20, 1871 the Boston Red Stockings of the National Association were organized.

When it was learned that the "new" Cincinnati Red Stockings would join the newly-constituted National League in 1876, Wright changed the team name to Boston Red Caps, in order that the Cincinnati team would have the honor of the Red Stockings name as was only fitting. Over the following years, the Boston team was known by a variety of nicknames, including the Boston Beaneaters from 1883 to 1906, then the Boston Doves from 1907 to 1910, and for one season, the Boston Rustlers in 1911, before taking on the name Boston Braves in 1912. Suprisingly, the name Braves had nothing to do with the Boston Tea Party, but was a reference to then owner James Gaffney's connection with New York City's Tamany Hall (which had an Indian as its symbol). The team took a break from the Braves nickname from 1936 to 1940, when they called themselves the Boston Bees, before returning to the Braves name in 1941, which they then kept through moves to two successive cities.

The team had great success in the National Association in the 1870s under the leadership of baseball pioneers George and Harry Wright, and as the Beaneaters under manager Frank Selee in the 1890s. Throughout the five-year existence of the Red Stockings, the team was managed by Harry Wright. They won four National Association pennants in those five years, and the franchise had a record of 225-60 as the Red Stockings. The franchise entered the National League using the nickname "Red Caps" in 1876, and won the National League pennant in 1877 and 1878. As the Boston Beaneaters, the franchise won 6 NL pennants, and appeared in two of the pre-modern postseason series, winning one.

The franchise's best record as the Doves came in 1908 when the came in sixth place with a record of 63-91. The Braves broke out of mediocrity for one glorious season in 1914, when they captured a World Championship so unlikely that they would forever be known as the Miracle Braves. Even the presence of future managerial genius Casey Stengel was not enough to wake them from their torpor over the next two decades, but they emerged after World War II as a solid franchise, and behind the pitching of Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain (and the overlooked Bill Voiselle), they captured the NL pennant in 1948.

In 1953, owner Lou Perini moved the Braves franchise to Milwaukee, starting a decade of success that saw them capture a second World Championship in 1957 and repeat as pennant winners in 1958. The team's stars were sluggers Hank Aaron and Eddie Mathews, and pitchers Spahn and Lew Burdette, but after the 1965 season, they moved again, this time to Atlanta. The move was a problematic one, as Milwaukee city officials sued the Braves' owners to prevent the team's relocation. They were thus forced to play the 1965 season in Milwaukee against their will, but after a lower court ruling in favor of Milwaukee, the Wisconsin Supreme Court reversed the decision on appeal. Bowie Kuhn's involvement with Major League Baseball began on that occasion, as he pleaded the owners' case. When the United States Supreme Court refused to review the decision, the move was irreversible.

The Atlanta Braves[edit]

Atlanta fans took quickly to the Braves when they moved to town from Milwaukee in 1966, thus becoming the first major league team located in the deep south, and in each of their first six seasons in the city, they drew over a million fans. In 1969, the Braves reached the National League's first League Championship Series but lost to the New York Mets. In 1973, they were the first team to have three 40-home run hitters in its line-up, as Hank Aaron, Davey Johnson and Darrell Evans all reached the mark. On April 8, 1974, the team made history again. That night at 9:07 p.m., Aaron crushed an Al Downing pitch into the left field bullpen of the Braves' home park for his 715th career homer, breaking Babe Ruth's lifetime record.

Media mogul Ted Turner purchased the Braves in 1976. His media empire had been built around the Braves, as he turned a fledgling low-powered UHF station into the centerpiece of an empire by first purchasing the rights to broadcast Braves games in 1974, then made his station one of the first ones to be broadcast nationally through cable television. Over the remainder of the decade, though, the team's showing went downhill, and they finished last for four straight years, from 1976 to 1979, even though Turner pursued free agents such as Andy Messersmith and Gary Matthews, traded for marquee players Jeff Burroughs and Gene Garber, and even tried to install himself as the team's manager before being dissuaded by the league's president. In spite of the losing, the team was building a home-grown foundation of young talent, with Dale Murphy, Bob Horner, Rick Mahler, Glenn Hubbard, Steve Bedrosian and Bruce Benedict emerging as solid contributors.

In 1982 the Braves won their first 13 games of the season and went on to win the National League West title. Slugging outfielder Murphy captured the National League Most Valuable Player Award as well. However, the club got swept by the St. Louis Cardinals in the League Championship Series. Murphy repeated as MVP in 1983, but by the mid-1980s, the Braves had once again sunk into the West Division cellar.

However, under the leadership of manager Bobby Cox and with the help of a strong, young pitching staff, the Braves vaulted from last place in the NL West in 1990 to the World Series in 1991, and third baseman Terry Pendleton captured the National League MVP Award that year. The Braves then started a streak during which they did not miss the postseason until 2006. They reached the World Series again in 1992, 1995, and 1996, winning it in 1995 over the Cleveland Indians and giving the city of Atlanta its first major sports championship. Their pitching staff also dominated the Cy Young Award for the decade. Tom Glavine won the award in 1991 and 1998, Greg Maddux captured it in 1993, 1994, and 1995, and John Smoltz earned the honor in 1996. The Braves abandoned Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium after the 1996 season and in 1997 moved next door into Turner Field, built for the 1996 Olympics. The Braves reached the World Series again in 1999, losing again to the New York Yankees.

The Braves reached the postseason for 11 consecutive seasons - 14 excluding the strike-shortened season of 1994. The streak ended in 2006, with the Mets winning the NL East and the Los Angeles Dodgers getting the wild card. After playing around .500 for a few years in the late 2000s, the Braves returned to the postseason in Bobby Cox's final season in 2010, as the National league wild card. They lost to the eventual world champion San Francisco Giants in the NLDS, but the emergence of great rookie OF Jason Heyward and the return to form of ace P Tim Hudson promised a return to regular contention under new manager Fredi Gonzalez. The Braves seemed headed back to the postseason as the Wild Card in 2011, but collapsed in September and were passed by the St. Louis Cardinals on the last day of the season, when Rookie of the Year closer Craig Kimbrel was charged with a rare blown save; the Cards then went on to confound all the experts by winning a World Series title. Another young reliever, Jonny Venters, had an outstanding season that year, while rookie 1B Freddie Freeman showed a lot of promise as well, but the most remarkable feat belonged to 2B Dan Uggla, who managed a 33-game hitting streak in the middle of a season during which he batted only .233. The Braves returned to the postseason in 2012, when they lost the Wild Card Game at home to the St. Louis Cardinals on a controversial call of the infield fly rule, then won a division title in 2013, although, once again, they were unable to get past the first round of the playoffs. After the season, the team announced it would start construction on a new ballpark located in suburban Cobb County.

Sun Trust Park opened in 2017 and in 2018 the Braves won a division title with a very young team built around OF Ronald Acuna, 2B Ozzie Albies and SS Dansby Swanson among others, with veterans Freeman and Nick Markakis still around and contributing. While they made an early postseason exit that year, the flow of solid young players continued in 2019, with P Mike Soroka and Touki Toussaint and OF Austin Riley making important contributions. In the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, they made it to within one game of the World Series when they lost the NLCS in seven games to the Los Angeles Dodgers.


Famous Feats[edit]

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jay Busbee: "Could the Braves rebrand and drop the chop? Experts say the route is long, but navigable", "Yahoo! Sports, October 30, 2021. [1]
  • Peter Filichia: Green Cathedrals: The Ultimate Celebrations of All 273 Major League and Negro League Ballparks Past and Present, Addison Wesley Publishing Company, 1993.
  • Francis Kinlaw: "The Franchise Transfer That Fostered a Broadcasting Revolution", in Baseball in the Peach State, The National Pastime, SABR, Volume 40 (2010), pp. 140-143.
  • Harold Kaese: "Boston Braves: 1871-1953", G.P. Putnam's Sons 1948, 1954; Northeastern University Press edition, 2004
  • Javy Lopez and Gary Caruso: Behind the Plate: A Catcher's View of the Braves Dynasty, Independent Publishers Group, Chicago, IL, 2012.
  • Cory McCartney: Tales from the Atlanta Braves Dugout: A Collection of the Greatest Braves Stories Ever Told, Sports Publishing LLC, New York, NY, 2016. ISBN 978-1-6132-1900-3
  • Jeffrey A. Portnoy: "The Card in the Baseball Cap: 'Braves Win! Braves Win! Braves Win! Braves Win!'", in Baseball in the Peach State, The National Pastime, SABR, Volume 40 (2010), pp. 148-153.
  • Dan Schlossberg: When the Braves Ruled the Diamond: Fourteen Flags over Atlanta, Sports Publishing LLC, New York, NY, 2016. ISBN 978-1-61321-837-2
  • John Thorn: Total Baseball, Total Sports Publishing, 1989, 1995.
  • Jack Wilkinson: Game of My Life: Atlanta Braves, Sports Publishing LLC, Champaign, IL, 2007.

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