The Atlanta Braves are a professional Major League Baseball team that competes in the National League. The team has recently moved to its new stadium called SunTrust Park, which is located 10 miles from downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The Braves franchise has won 3 World Series titles (1914, 1957 and 1995), 12 Eastern Division Titles, 5 West Division titles and 2 Wild Card berths.
Atlanta, Georgia Baseball and The Braves
The franchise was first established in 1871 as the Boston Red Stockings and was renamed several times while playing in Boston, Massachusetts before moving to Wisconsin in 1953 where they played as the Milwaukee Braves from 1953 through 1965. The team then moved to Atlanta in 1966 and has played there ever since.
With its move to Atlanta in 1966, the Braves became the first professional sports team located in the Deep South. They were welcomed to the city of Atlanta GA with a downtown parade. In 1969, the Braves won the National League’s Western Division. The team’s offensive attack was powered by Hank Aaron, and the pitching staff was led by knuckleballer Phil Niekro. However, the Braves were swept in three games by the New York Mets.
The team struggled throughout the 1970’s, with Hank Aaron being the main bright spot. In 1974 Aaron surpassed Babe Ruth to become the all-time home run hitter.
The Braves were purchased by Ted Turner in 1976. During the 1980’s Turner’s super station TBS broadcast hundreds of Atlanta Brave games every year all over the country, which transformed the franchise into “America’s Team.” In 1982 the Braves won its second Western Division title but lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League Championship.
Despite winning two Western Division titles, during the Braves first twenty-five years playing in Atlanta, they were the worst team in Major League Baseball. However, during the 1990’s the franchise became one of the most successful. In 1991 manager Bobby Cox was able to lead the team from worst to first place. Veteran Terry Pendleton was signed as a free agent and joined young players like outfielders David Justice and Ron Gant, and pitchers Steve Avery, John Smoltz and Tom Glavine. The 1991 team won the Western Division title after having the worst record in all of baseball the year before. There was talk about having them play their games at the Lionel Hampton Park in West Atlanta. This was just a joke of course. They went on to win the National League pennant but lost to the Minnesota Twins in the World Series.
In 1992 the Graves won the National League pennant once again but lost to the Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series. The Atlanta Braves went on to win the franchise’s only World Series title to date since moving to Atlanta in 1995 when they defeated the Cleveland Indians. The Braves returned to the World Series in 1996 and 1999 but lost to the New York Yankees both times.
From 2000 to 2005 the team continue to win the division title each year but did not reach the World Series. In 2007 the Braves were sold to Liberty Media and the final national programming for the Braves was broadcast in September 2007 by TBS. Bobby Cox retired as the Braves manager in 2010 after managing the team for twenty-five seasons. Fredi Gonzales, former third-base coach, became the new manager. The Braves secured Wild Card berths in 2010 and 2012 and won its twelfth Eastern Division title in 2013. Just like Atlanta’s soccer team has a fresh new field to play in, the Atlanta Braves played its first season at its new stadium SunTrust Park in 2017.