So, if you look around the scoreboard this week, you will notice that the Selig regime has decided to go with the fire hose method of serving up the compelling â€œnatural rivalâ€ suite of interleague games. So, the Cubs play the White Sox, the Yankees and Mets do their Subway Series thing, etc. This has allowed the Braves a chance to lock horns with their mortal foes â€“ the Toronto Blue Jays. Obviously, we played a World Series against them in the 90s, but so did the Phillies. In the recent past, I recall our â€œnatural rivalâ€ games coming against the Boston Red Sox (who are playing the Phillies this week).
Now, Iâ€™m certainly not clamoring for us to play a Red Sox club that is in first-place in a tough division, and clobbered us at Fenway last year, but it did make me start to think about the Bravesâ€™ roots in Boston. Throw in a recent spirited conversation that I had with a Reds fan asserting the fact to him that the Braves are the longest continuously operating franchise in professional sports (a favorite fact for Mac to bring up, BTW), and Iâ€™ve been in a full-out Boston Braves blitz lately.
After the complete debacle that was the 1935 Boston Braves season (if youâ€™re tempted to look it up, you should, it was comically dysfunctional), the team was re-branded the Bees (a particularly shudder-inducing page in the franchiseâ€™s history) until Lou Perini bought the team in 1940 and restored the Braves moniker. After WWII, Warren Spahn and Johnny Sain led the team back to contention, including a pennant in 1948.
This would prove to be the last hurrah for the Boston Braves. The team slid back to mediocrity, and by this point, Boston only rated as the 10th largest city in the country. The only other towns with multiple teams were New York (largest), Chicago (2nd largest), Philadelphia (3rd largest), and St. Louis (8th largest) â€“ and the St. Louis Browns were desperate to move. Boston was simply not big enough for both clubs. The Braves finished in last place in 1952 and their attendance fell to under 500,000 (compared to 1.8 million in their first season in Milwaukee). Boston had chosen the Red Sox.
Perini moved quickly to relocate the team to Milwaukee, home of the Bravesâ€™ AAA affiliate and site of the brand-new Milwaukee County Stadium. Perini announced the move on March 13, 1953, and the Braves played their first game in Milwaukee less than a month later on April 14, 1953. The MLB All-Star Game, which had been scheduled to be held at Braves Field in Boston that summer, was hastily relocated to Crosby Field in Cincinnati.
Seeing that the final years of the Boston Braves were roughly contemporaneous with the WWII era, you canâ€™t help but think about the fact that, like our nationâ€™s veterans of that conflict, the population of former Boston Braves is dwindling. Intrigued, I looked into this a bit, and the trend is sadly as expected. In November 2006, only 42 Boston Braves remained with us. That number fell to 36 in July 2009, 26 in September 2011, and 21 in June 2012. Weâ€™ve lost two more gentlemen this spring (Ray Martin on March 7th, and Jack Daniels on April 16th).
Here is the complete list of the 18 living Boston Braves, to the best of my research abilities:
|Name||Years as Boston Brave||Position||Current Age|
|Del Crandall||1949-50||C||83||missed 1951-52 due to Korean War|
|Johnny Antonelli||1948-50||P||83||missed 1951-52 due to Korean War|
|Clint Conatser||1948-49||OF||91||missed 1942-45 due to WWII|
In ten years, there is a good chance that the last of the remaining Boston Braves will be lost to mists of time.
The Blue Jays and Braves have in fact been natural rivals — for Bobby Cox’s employment. I’m sure Bobby is saying, “Makes sense.”
My mother grew up in Hartford, CT, the home of a Boston Braves’ minor league entry–the Hartford Chiefs. Braves notables like Warren Spahn, Frank Torre & Ernie Johnson played there.
I remember asking her if Hartford was full of Boston Braves fans & she looked at me like I was nuts. “Oh no, everyone in Hartford was either a Red Sox or Yankee fan, but mostly Red Sox. It was like the Braves barely existed.”
And for Worst ’70s Uniform Sweepstakes.
If you’re going to play interleague every day, there’s no reason for “natural rivals” to be interleague.
The Astros can never make up their minds what they want to look like & that technicolor-splattered gear certainly was offensive to everyone, except rappers rocking the retro. (And Outkast wore the ’74 Braves outfits, so there’s that, too.)
But I think San Diego’s ’70s unis were a tad worse, actually. They looked like McDonald’s employees smeared with baby shit.
Johnny Logan has associated himself more with the city of Milwaukee than with the Braves franchise, but it’s too bad the team hasn’t incorporated him (or the other Boston/Milwaukee alumni) into team functions more than it has. Career-wise he’s the best shortstop the franchise has fielded in a century.
I hadn’t realized that Logan was that good, but you’re right, he was a whale of a ballplayer. Here’s the top 10 (ranked by career WAR in a Braves uniform):
I like the 70’s braves unis.
Finally tried the H&F burger. Diagnosis: Delicious.
@11 I just had my first H&F burger, at the restaurant last week… it was fantastic. I’d be interested to hear whether the Turner Field version is made the same / tastes as great.
Dammit Freddie! You’re lucky Andrelton is awesome at defense.
@5 – perhaps, nay, definitely the best description of the worst long-panted uniforms in the history of baseball.*
At least the Astros had the stones to go there.
The Padres managed to combine boring and hideous – and that’s really hard to do.
*All references to ugly uniforms are playing for second behind the White Sox softball abominations.
What happened to our defense?
Anybody had a Burger Fi hamburger? A friend of mine is opening one in Roswell.
Eww, Jason, but you do stink.
Heyward has options left, right?
@10 – Had my first last week during the rain delay of the Twins game while wearing my screaming El Oso Blanco shirt to the park for the first time. I definitely had a moment.
Pick it, Juan.
@17 It’s pretty frustrating that on one hand, Heyward is playing poorly enough that he doesn’t really deserve to start, while simultaneously being (presumably) too expensive for the Braves to sign to a long-term contract.
Game day says Bonifacio singles on sharp line drive to Medlen, injury delay. What happened?
Line drive hit Kris on the back of the knee. It bounced far enough that he couldn’t get the out.
Meds got whacked on back of left leg.
Melky Cabrera is Satan spawn.
Are any Braves’ pitchers not going to get lit up the Blue Jays?
Melky picked a rotten time to stop being Melky.
Medley has been both unlucky and bad.
Melky with 2 hits, 2 RBI. There is no karmic justice in the universe.
@20, he gets less expensive with each AB. Any other player his age would be sent down. He gets a pretty long leash. Rightly so…but still.
If Melky Cabrera would drop dead, that would be nice.
Medlen was hit behind the left knee. Looks OK…ish.
Is Heyward the next Francoeur for us?
You don’t see a Freeman triple every day.
Medlen may be done. Carpenter is warming up quickly.
And as soon as I say Medlen’s OK-ish, he goes down the tunnel and David Carpenter starts warming up.
This is Heyward’s fourth season with the Braves.
2008 was Francoeur’s fourth season with the Braves, and the season in which everyone turned on him. Also the season Francoeur got sent to AA in July.
At this point, Heyward taking a K would do less damage than the alternative DP. And one can always count on either Upton (Upton and Downton?) to look at one perfect pitch while swinging at something a foot off the plate in every at bat.
Danny can still take a called third strike with the worst of them.
Great, we’ve got Gattis coming up now! Oh, wait … never mind.
Dan Uggla reminds us that we shouldn’t spend all our vitriol on Heyward.
Christ, Uggla! You didn’t wanna swing at that Sunday fastball?
I despise Juan Fransisco. Would much rather have Pena or Johnson playing.
What a suck-fest this inning has become.
Wow, they’re going to fail to score after a leadoff triple.
Jesus this is far more painful in person
Medlen’s done. Chris Johnson’s on-deck.
They look like guys who once saw a baseball game on television.
Did Medlen just solve our “what do we do when Beachy returns” dilemma? It was the back of his knee, so I wouldn’t think it would be too bad, but may be enough to force him to the DL. A couple of spot starts from someone until Beachy is ready?
Hey, it’s the September 2011 Braves.
Is that ballgame, or should I hang on until Gattis gets his daily plate appearance?
Can’t have Juan and BJ hitting back to back.
BJ, Uggla, Heyward – the three worst players in the Major Leagues all on one team. Mercy!
Freeman’s little adventure was ballgame for me. Goodnight everyone.
How the heck is this team in first place by 4.5 games? They are so damned frustrating to watch.
Ugly, this will get. Hope for better tomorrow.
Et tu, Andrelton?
That was awful by Simmons. Should’ve had an easy double play.
Can Wren call Dayton Moore to let him know we’ve got Frenchy’s replacement is all lined up for next year? They can call it “Frenchy: Part Deux.”
@52 I was just thinking the same thing. The Nationals should be embarrassed.
Better, thank you.
If Fredi subbed in Schafer, Gattis and Pena I’d feel pretty good about our chances of winning this game. Instead it’s hopelessness.
Our lack of a long reliever is going to make this a long night.
Carpenter just hit better than half the starting lineup. I’m not sure he pitches better, though.
Heyward lets Rogers do the work for him. He should do that more often.
Hard to keep Success out of the lineup against a right handler. I know Bossman needs to play, but things look so hopeless with he and Fat Juan both playing
I despair. Oh, woe.
Pretty sure Francoeur never had a 6.5 win season as a 22-year old. But hey, despair is fun: Heyward is doomed.
I’m not advocating a trade of Heyward, but he and BJ need to sit for a week. Get Gattis Schafer and Justin in the OF while they are hitting.
Heresy or not, Heyward batting second at this point in time does not help the Braves’ chances.
And why is Juan hitting against the lefty?
Juan shouldn’t face this lefty
BJ looks like he shouldn’t face this lefty either right now. Or righties. Or anyone else.
I do not despise Fredi, but that was a wasted opportunity.
Did we just sign Nate McLouth for 5/75?
BJ is so lost you can’t hide him anywhere in the lineup. Dude has killed 2 rally’s hitting 8th. Not sure what they can do with him though
Fat Juan and BJ back-to-back. In the parlance of “This Is Spinal Tap,” it’s a “s— sandwich.”
I don’t remember McOut ever being this putrid.
Carpenter’s starting to grow on me, at least as the last guy in the pen.
I don’t care how much money BJ makes, Success should play against RHPs until he starts to suck again.
And Heyward should go down in the lineup, or down in the organization, I don’t care which at this point.
Carpenter, despite the walks, pitched well. Now would be the time to begin to chip away at the unearned lead.
Is Melky better than our entire outfield tonight? Even JUpton has entered that vortex of suck.
Meanwhile, McLouth is awesome now. Which is crazy.
JHey can play defense, however.
78- As of now, Justin’s hitting 226/ 353/ 357 in May, with just two home runs. He’s not in the vortex, but he can hear it.
Highlights to date – H&F burger, hillbilly jailbait hanging out in smoking section
The vortex sound grows louder.
When asked how he fills out his lineup card Jim Leyland responds, “If you hit, you play.” It’s not fucking rocket science.
@84, we’d only have a 4 or 5 man lineup. But at least it would include Gattis. Honestly I think consistently not playing your best hitter is a fire-able offense.
Melky reaches base against us four times? That’s just sick and wrong.
Uggla sucking in multiple dimensions tonight.
Shafer, Simmons, Freeman, Gattis, BMac, C. Johnson, Pena, and R. Johnson: could work.
Juan Francisco? No, we don’t Juan him at all.
Wow .. Struggla is bad tonight .. and with both Uptons’ 0-6 with 6 SO’s its hard to believe this team is in 1st place … and our great Mgr ..still has our 2 best hitters on bench ..C johnson and Gattis guess he is waiting for right time … duh !
Matching golden sombreros for the Uptons? Not yet.
The only thing missing from tonight is a couple of pinch-bunts.
Billy Buckner redux.
Nothing like a good Chip rant against Sabermetrics.
That was unusual for Freddie. I know he’s immobile, but he typically catches anything he can reach.
Walden looks good, big addition for our pen getting him back.
I love it JoeCraig! Why are all the Braves management and PR obsessed with potential rather than production? I remember when an avg. under .220 meant pinch hitter!
Walden looked good.
Nothing succeeds like Success!
Reading this thread you would have no idea this team has won 9 of its last 11 games.
Reading this thread you would have no idea this team has won 9 of its last
@101 But when they play games like this, it seems semi impossible that they could win 9 of 11. When they play a stinker, they never disappoint
The starting outfield is now 0-9 with a walk, six Ks, a double play, a foul pop, and a can of corn to left. Oh joy.
Need an LD% update.
Heyward, Uggla and BJ Upton all need to be benched for a while. They’re just awful!
The Natspos stick to the script and lose to the O’s despite three home runs from Ryan Zimmerman. The other Zimmerman gives up a season high seven runs.
At least Uggla hits occasional HR’s. Can we DFA Juan tonight and bring back Ayala or Lisp?
Thank goodness for the NL Least.
No golden sombrero today… that would have been an accomplishment of sorts.
I like Kawasaki. He cracks me up.
Joe Simpson calling for the bunt.
If they’re giving you first base, you have to take it don’t you?
I’m glad we didn’t use Evan tonight.
108-Uggla and Juan have identical an OPS and OPS+. But Juan is better defensively, is seven years younger, and doesn’t have to play every fucking day. Sorry, but I’d rather DFA Uggla.
Shame to waste a good bullpen performance on a game like this.
What a terrible offensive performance.
We’re saving Gattis for special occasions – birthdays/anniversaries/etc – what a great weapon to have. The other team has to anticipate that we might use him, even when we don’t.
I hate everything.
As Mac would say: Recrapped.
Walt Linden passed in Sept 2013. No DOD or POD as yet, but this brief obit appeared in the Chi Trib on 9/22. http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/chicagotribune/obituary.aspx?n=walter-linden&pid=167111629&