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Representing the great state of Georgia, the Atlanta Braves are a charter member of the National League. Bouncing around from Boston to Milwaukee before finally settling in Atlanta and going through a number of different team names along the way, the Atlanta Braves established themselves as a strong competitor and, thanks to a very beneficial television deal, garnered a national following due to their exposure.
The headlines pertaining to the Braves in their early years in Atlanta were very much a carry-over from those they had in Milwaukee. The main story was a team that seemed to hang around .500 for the most part, and led by one of the greatest ball players of all-time in Hank Aaron.
Aaron, who broke Babe Ruth’s home run record, held the title from 1074 until it was broken in 2006 by Barry Bonds. Other accolades garnered by this first ballot Hall of Famer include 25 all-star appearances, a World Series title with the Milwaukee Braves in 1957, an NL MVP, three Gold Glove Awards, multiple NL batting champion titles, multiple NL home run leader titles, and having his number (44) retired by the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers. He was also awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor of the United States.
When Ted Turner purchased the team in 1976, he used his cable network to promote the team nationally. Bobby Cox was hired as manager in 1978 before being replaced by Joe Torre in 1981. Evidently, this was not the best move to make as the Braves would go through four more managers in the 80s before returning Bobby Cox to the dugout for the Braves.
His first year back in uniform ended with the Braves posting a 65-97 record, the worst in baseball. However, in the second year under Cox’s management, the team began to take shape. Young pitchers Tom Glavine and John Smoltz developed into aces and Chipper Jones was selected with the number one overall draft pick. They shot up to 94-68 just one season later, not only making the playoffs for the first time since 1982, but advancing to the World Series. They would lose in seven games to the Minnesota Twins. Repeating as NL pennant winners again in 1992, the Braves lost in six games to the Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series. A return trip to the NLCS in 1993 resulted in a loss.
A contender always on the cusp of victory, the Braves finally were able to get over the hump in the 1995 season. Matched up against a Cleveland Indians team that had won 100 games that year, the Braves bested the tribe, winning the series four games to two to capture their first championship in Atlanta and their first World Series since 1957
Bobby Cox’s tenure in Atlanta is remembered quite fondly by Braves fans. Making the playoffs 19 out of 24 years, the Atlanta Braves were thought of as perennial contender in the NL East.
These days, the franchise is in the midst of a rebuilding phase. Brian Snitker was named the club’s manager last fall, and he is eager to utilize the pieces around him to resurrect this franchise and restore it to its former glory. Veterans Matt Kemp, Nick Markaikis, and Freddie Freeman along with Brandon Phillips will be showing the ropes to the younger players in Adonis Garcia, and Dansby Swanson while Tyler Flowers and Ender Inciarte take on more responsibility. The pitching rotation is looking more solid this year with Julio Tehran, Bartolo Colon, Jaime Garcia, R.A. Dickey, and Mike Foltynewicz ready to take the mound. Closer Jim Johnson hopes to may games this season with the Braves on top.
Historical heroes of the Atlanta Braves franchise include Hank Aaron, Warren Spahn, Eddie Mathews, Phil Nierko, Dale Murphy, Chipper Jones, John Smoltz, Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and Andruw Jones. Learn more about the history of the Atlanta Braves by clicking here.