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Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves are a Major League Baseball team based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Founded: 1871 in Boston, Massachusetts as a National Association club. The club became a charter member of the National League in 1876 and has remained in the league without a break since then.
Formerly known as: Boston Braves, 1912-1952. Milwaukee Braves, 1953-1965. Prior to 1912, the team had several unofficial nicknames: "Red Stockings" in the 1870s and 1880s; "Beaneaters" in the 1890s and early 1900s; "Doves" (when the Dovey family owned the franchise, 1907-1910) and "Rustlers" (when Wiliam Russell[?] owned the franchise, 1911). Following the 1935 season, after enduring bankruptcy and a series of poor seasons, new owner Bob Quinn[?] asked a team of sportswriters to choose a new nickname, to change the team's luck. The sportswriters chose "Bees", a name which never really caught on; even Quinn refused to use it. The team switched back to "Braves" in 1941.
Home ballpark: Turner Field[?], Atlanta
Uniform colors: Navy blue, Garnet red, and White
Logo design: The script word "Braves" above a tomahawk[?]
League pennants won: NA: 1872, 1873, 1874, 1875. NL: 1877, 1878, 1883, 1892, 1893, 1897, 1898, 1914, 1948, 1957, 1958, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1999
World Series championships won: 1914, 1957, 1995.

Table of contents

Franchise history

The Boston years

the 1914 "Miracle Braves"

In 1948 the team again won the pennant, behind the pitching of Warren Spahn[?] and Johnny Sain[?] who won 39 games between the them. The remainder of the rotation was so thin that in September the Boston Post journalist Gerald Hern characterised them by the poem

First we'll use Spahn
then we'll use Sain
Then an off day
followed by rain
Back will come Spahn
followed by Sain
And followed
we hope
by two days of rain.
The poem received such a wide audience that the sentiment, usually now paraphrased as "Spahn and Sain and pray for rain", entered the baseball vocabulary.

The Milwaukee years

Their two pennants not withstanding, the Braves term in Boston were not a successful time. Attendances steadily dwindled until, on March 13, 1953, then-owner Lou Perini[?] announced he was moving the team to Milwaukee, Wisconsin. As the 1950s the reinvigorated Braves were increasingly competitive. Sluggers Eddie Mathews[?] and Hank Aaron drove the offense (they would hit a combined 863 home runs as Braves), whilst Spahn and Lew Burdette[?] anchored the rotation. In 1957, it culminated in their first World Series win for over 40 years, defeating the New York Yankees of Berra, Mantle and Ford[?]. Burdette, the Series MVP, threw three complete game victories, giving up only two earned runs.

The Atlanta years

By the early 1960s attendance in Milwaukee had dwindled as well, and a new group of owners once again sort relocation. Keen to attract them, the City of Atlanta constructed a new ballpark, Fulton County Stadium, officially opened in 1965. The next year, the Braves were its new residents. A .500 baseball team in the first few years (85-77, 77-85 and 81-81) respectively, they won the 1969 NL West pennant, before being swept by the "Miracle Mets" in the NLCS. They would not win it again until 1982, under Joe Torre[?].

In the mean time, fans had to be satisfied with the achievements of Aaron. In the relatively hitter friendly confines of Fulton County Stadium ("The Launching Pad"), he actually increased his offensive production, and by the end of the 1973 season had hit 713 home runs, one short of Babe Ruth's record. Throughout the winter he received racially motivated death threats, but stood up well under the pressure. The next season, it was only a matter of time before he set a new record. On April 4 he hit #714 in Cincinnati, and on April 8, in front of his home fans, he finally beat Ruth's mark.

In 1976 the team was purchased by media magnate Ted Turner, owner of CNN. Turner quickly gained a reputation as a quirky, hands-on baseball owner. In 1977, Turner appointed himself manager, but was ordered to relinquish that position after one game (the Braves lost).

After three straight losing seasons, Bobby Cox[?] was hired as manager of the franchise for the 1978 season. Cox promoted a 22-year-old slugger named Dale Murphy[?] into the starting lineup. Murphy hit 77 home runs over the next three seasons, but struggled on defense, positioned at either catcher or first base while being unable to adeptly play either. However, in 1980, Murphy was moved to center field and demonstrated excellent range and throwing ability, while the Braves earned their first winning season since 1974. Cox was fired after the 1981 season and replaced with Joe Torre[?], under whose leadership the Braves attained their first divisional title since 1969. Strong performances from Bob Horner[?], Chris Chambliss[?], pitcher Phil Niekro[?], and short relief pitcher Gene Garber[?] helped the Braves, but no Brave was more acclaimed than Murphy, who won both a Most Valuable Player[?] and a Gold Glove[?] award. Murphy also won a Most Valuable Player[?] award the following season, but the Braves began a period of decline that defined the team throughout the 1980's. Murphy, excelling in defense, hitting, and running, was consistently recognized as one of the league's best players, but the Braves averaged only 65 wins per season between 1985-1990.

Bobby Cox was rehired as manager in 1990. Not only was this season a losing effort, the Braves traded Dale Murphy to the Philadelphia Phillies after it was clear he was becoming a less dominant player. However, pitching coach Leo Mazzone[?] began training young pitchers Tom Glavine[?], Steve Avery[?], and John Smoltz[?]. The following season, these three pitchers would be recognized as the best young pitchers in the league, winning 52 games between them. Meanwhile, behind position players Dave Justice[?], Ron Gant[?] and unexpected league Most Valuable Player[?] and batting-average leader Terry Pendleton[?], the Braves overcame a slow start to go 47-22 over the last three months of the season and win 8 of their last 9, edging the Los Angeles Dodgers by one game in one of baseball history's more memorable playoff races. They defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates in a tightly contested seven-game NLCS only to lose the World Series, also in seven games, to the Minnesota Twins. Despite the loss, the Braves' success would continue. In the 1992 season, the Braves would reach the NLCS again and defeat, once again, in seven games, the Pirates, only to lose in the World Series to a dominating Toronto Blue Jays team. In 1993, the Braves signed Cy Young Award winning pitcher Greg Maddux, leading many baseball insiders to declare the pitching staff the best of all-time. The Braves would win a World Series in 1995, defeating the Cleveland Indians in six games. With their strong pitching being a constant, the Braves would also appear in the 1996 and 1999 World Series, and have not failed to win a division title since 1991 as of this writing.

In 2001, Atlanta won the National League East division, swept the NLDS against the Houston Astros, then lost to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS.

Players of note

Baseball Hall of Famers:

Current stars:


Not to be forgotten:

Retired numbers:

Atlanta Braves official web site (http://atlanta.braves.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/atl/homepage/atl_homepage.jsp)

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