Atlanta Braves

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Team History
Years Known As Record World Series Titles Pennants Playoff Appearance
1966 – 2017 Atlanta Braves 4,246 – 4,034 1 5 19
1953 – 1965 Milwaukee Braves 1,146 – 890 1 2 2
1941 – 1952 Boston Braves 877 – 959 0 1 1
1936 – 1940 Boston Bees 355 – 406 0 0 0
1912 – 1935 Boston Braves 1,582 – 2,046 1 1 1
1911 Boston Rustlers 44 – 107 0 0 0
1907 – 1910 Boston Doves 219 – 389 0 0 0
1883 – 1906 Boston Beaneaters 1,742 – 1,465 0 6 0
1876 – 1882 Boston Red Stockings 299 – 226 0 2 0

World Series Titles
Year Opponent Series World Series MVP
1995 Cleveland Indians 4-2 Tom Glavine
1957 New York Yankees 4-2 Lew Burdette
1914 Philadelphia Athletics 4-0

Retired Numbers
Number Player Years Played Position
3 Dale Murphy 1976-1990 OF / 1B / C
6 Bobby Cox 1978-1981, 1990-2010 Manager
10 Chipper Jones 1993, 1995-2012 3B, OF, SS
21 Warren Spahn 1942, 1946-1964 LHP
29 John Smoltz 1988-2008 RHP
31 Greg Maddux 1993-2003 RHP
35 Phil Niekro 1964-1983, 1987 RHP
41 Eddie Mathews 1952-1966 3B / 1B / OF
44 Hank Aaron 1954-1974 OF / 1B / DH
47 Tom Glavine 1987-2002, 2008 LHP

MVP
Year Player Position
1999 Chipper Jones 3B
1991 Terry Pendleton 3B
1983 Dale Murphy OF
1982 Dale Murphy OF
1957 Hank Aaron OF
1947 Bob Elliot 3B
1914 Johnny Evers 2B
Cy Young Award
Year Player
1998 Tom Glavine
1996 John Smoltz
1995 Greg Maddux
1994 Greg Maddux
1993 Greg Maddux
1992 Greg Maddux
1991 Tom Glavine
1957 Warren Spahn
Rookie of the Year
Year Player Position
2011 Craig Kimbrel CL
2000 Rafael Furcal SS
1990 David Justice OF
1978 Bob Horner 3B
1971 Earl Williams C / 3B / 1B
1950 Sam Jethroe OF
1948 Al Dark SS
Manager of the Year
Year Manager
2005 Bobby Cox
2004 Bobby Cox
1991 Bobby Cox

Team History

The Atlanta Braves play in the National League East and play their home games at SunTrust Stadium. Their origins date back to 1871.

The Atlanta Braves are the only franchise that has fielded a team every year professional baseball has existed. They are also the only franchise to win three World Series titles in three different cities: Boston (1914), Milwaukee (1957), and Atlanta (1995). They have fielded some extremely talented teams. During the 1950s and 1960s, they had a pitching staff led by future Hall of Famers Warren Spahn and Phil Niekro and third baseman Eddie Mathews and outfield Hank Aaron. The 1990s saw a pitching staff with three future Hall of Famers: Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, and John Smoltz.

The franchise was incorporated in 1871 for $15,000 by Ivers Whitney Adams. Adams employed Harry Wright, the founder, and manager of baseball’s first openly all-professional team, to manage his new incorporated Boston Red Stockings. A few months later, the Red Stockings became one of nine charter members of the National Association of Professional Baseball Players which would become what we know today as the National League. Sometimes called the Boston Red Caps to avoid being confused with the Cincinnati Red Stockings, another one of the charter members of the National League, the Red Caps played in the first game in the National League history on Saturday, April 22, 1876, beating the now defunct, Philadelphia Athletics, 6-5.

While the franchise was a dominant force during the late 19th century they struggled mightily during the first decade of the 20th century. In 1901 they played .500 ball and in 1902 they won 73 against 64 losses. That would be their last winning season for a decade. Despite name changes in 1907 to the Doves and again in 1911 to the Rustlers, between 1903 and 1913 they lost 100 or more games six times. In 1912, owner James Gaffney changed their nickname to the Braves. Many speculated it was a nod to his membership in Tammany Hall, whose symbol was an Indian chief.

The newly minted Braves put together an improbable run in 1914. On July 4th their record stood at 26-40 putting them securely in last place. After the 4th of July, the Braves went 68-19 to win the National League pennant. They became the first team to win the pennant after being in last place on July 4th. Despite their hot second half, they entered the World Series as underdogs to Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics, winner of 99 regular season games, defending World Champions, and winner of three of the last four World Series titles. In spite of the Athletics recent domination, the Braves were the dominating force of the 1914 World Series sweeping the Athletics, the first sweep in World Series history.

As quickly as the team rose to win the Series they went back to their losing ways. Much of the 1920s, 1930s, & 1940s was filled with sub .500 teams. Another name change came in 1936, this time as the Bees but quickly reverted back to the Braves in 1941.

Things started to turn around in the late 1940s as World War II came to an end and soldiers returned and players rejoined their teams. With the return of Johnny Sain and Warren Spahn the future looked brighter than it had in a long time. “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain” had made its way into baseball lexicon. The Braves made it to the Series in 1948 but were bested by the Cleveland Indians who were led by future Hall of Famers Lou Boudreau, Larry Doby, Bob Lemon, Joe Gordon, and Bob Feller.

After over 80 years in Boston, Braves owner Lou Perini moved his club to Milwaukee. While their first year in Milwaukee was successful by most measures they finished second to the Brooklyn Dodgers and their Major League leading 105 wins. At the start of 1954 newly acquired Bobby Thompson was injured in spring training forcing the Braves to use a 20-year old infielder in the outfield named Hank Aaron. By 1957,Hank Aaron was blossoming into a full bloom star joining Eddie Mathews and Warren Spahn, giving the Braves a strong core that pushed them past the Mickey Mantle led New York Yankees in the World Series in seven games. Aaron and Spahn won the NL MVP and Cy Young Awards respectively.

After a successful 12 years in Milwaukee where the team won an average of 88 games a year and had a .563 winning percentage they once again were on their way out of town when, in 1965, both the city of Milwaukee and the state of Wisconsin put up a battle to keep the franchise in Milwaukee but they would ultimately end up in Atlanta for the 1966 season where they remain today.

Once the team arrived in Atlanta until 1984 the team hovered around .500. Despite the so-so play of the club the franchise had several superior individual offensive performances. Rico Carty (1970) and Ralph Garr (1974) won batting titles. In 1973, the Braves were the epitome of power in more than one way. The Braves became the first team in history to have three players hit 40 or more home runs; Darrell Evans (41), Davey Johnson (43), and Hank Aaron (40). Aaron’s 40 homers left him one short of Babe Ruth’s all-time record 714 while 42 of Davey Johnson’s 43 homers came while playing second base tying him with Rogers Hornsby with the most homers in a season by a second baseman. The baseball world had to endure an entire off-season to see Aaron tying and then break Babe Ruth’s record. On April 8, 1974, Hank Aaron hit number 715 off the Dodgers Al Downing in front of his home fans at Atlanta Stadium

The Atlanta Braves becoming “America’s Team” can trace it roots back to a single event in 1976. Ted Turner, the owner of TBS, purchased the Atlanta Braves instantly giving them a national audience. While they may have been on TV every night and had a bonafide star in back-to-back NL MVP Dale Murphy (1982 & 1983) they still only managed to win more games than they lost three times between 1976 and 1990.

The Braves finished 1990 dead last in the NL and won the honor of having the worst record in all of Major League Baseball. A few things happened during the dreadful year that set the stage for one of the most impressive runs in baseball history. For starters, the franchise hired Bobby Cox as its manager half-way through the 1990 season. They traded an aging and largely ineffective Dale Murphy. And in June the Braves selected Larry Wayne Jones, better known as Chipper, with the first overall pick.

Behind the strength of a pitching staff led by Tom Glavine, John Smoltz and Steve Avery the Braves became the first team to go from having the worst record in the majors to playing the World Series the next year. While they would lose the series to the Twins in what I believe to be one of the three best World Series games of all time the machine that was Bobby Cox and Company was just getting started. The Braves would go on to win their division 14 consecutive years (with no official division winner in 1994 due to the strike, though it should be noted that the Montreal Expos had a six-game lead over the Braves when play stopped). In 1993, they added to their dominant pitching staff by signing free agent and reigning Cy Young winner Greg Maddux.

1995 saw the Braves finally bring home a World Championship by beating the Cleveland Indians 4-2 on the strength of Tom Glavine’s 14 innings in which he allowed two earned runs and four hits. Unfortunately, they would only make it to two more World Series, 1996 and 1999, which would both end in losses at the hand of the New York Yankees. Some view that the Braves single World Series title is a failure considering all the talent those teams had. Nevertheless, the National League in the 1990s were dominated by the Braves, from winning their division every year to two MVPs (Terry Pendleton – 1991 & Chipper Jones – 1999), and seven Cy Young Award winner (Tom Glavine1991 & 1998, Greg Maddux – 1992-1995, & John Smoltz1996).

The last decade has not been as successful as the previous 15 years. They have only made three playoff appearances and are currently in the midst of a rebuild. They are, however, set to move into a brand new stadium at the beginning of the 2017 season, SunTrust Stadium.

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