Knowing we’re taking an off-season look at the Braves’ division-winning 1982 campaign, I remembered that I have a shoebox full of old event tickets—concerts, ballgames, all kinds of stuff—basically from the mid-1970s thru about 1984 or so. Of course, there was a slew of old Braves tickets in there, too, including a bunch (in picture) from that crazy 1982 season.
First, A Few Curious Items: In the shoebox, I found a very formal invitation ticket for my mother to visit a 1976 campaign stop in Chamblee for President Gerald R. Ford. She didn’t attend it because the event fell on my sister’s 10th birthday. Instead, we had a party at Shakey’s Pizza in our hometown of Columbus, Ga., which was probably way more entertaining than any event featuring Gerald R. Ford.
Autographed Concert-Ticket Stubs: B.B. King, 2/16/80, at the Columbus Municipal Auditorium—after playing with Bobby “Blue” Bland; The Clash, 6/2/82 at the Fox Theater, Atlanta—we caught Joe Strummer & Mick Jones quite by accident as they walked out of their dressing room onto Ponce de Leon; Hunter S. Thompson, 1983 at Memorial Hall Ballroom, UGA/Athens—yes, he was drunk; & the Dead Kennedys, 5/20/83 at 688 Club, Atlanta—guitarist East Bay Ray signed the ticket, “J. Falwell.”
Among the SEC Fare: And Spike, I have a ticket from Jordan-Hare Stadium, 11/3/79, Auburn beat Florida 19-13—were you at that one?
On To the Braves Games: I was finishing up my first year at UGA, living in Russell Hall—a boozy mega-dorm only a freshman could endure. The Braves, of course, got hot right out of the gate, winning their first 13 games, and our dorm hall got right into the action, attending several games that spring. This is what I remember, with a little help from Retrosheet. And notice the quick game times:
The previous evening, the Reds had halted the season-opening 13-game winning streak and this would be the second of 5 consecutive losses. But going to the ballpark was a new feeling—<i>hey, we might actually be good this year!</i> The place was fairly packed & we sat high in the uppers on the 1B side – 15 rows up for $4. Pads starter Tim Lollar hit a long HR off Niekro (he had 8 in his short NL career) & Sixto Lezcano hit 2 dingers, including a 3-run job off Rick Camp to win it in extras.
What I Remember Most: Earlier in the game, Glenn Hubbard hit a game-tying solo HR & I saw this drunk guy across the aisle from me reach over to give his friend a celebratory high-five. But… he missed the guy’s hand, then stumbled & tumbled about a dozen rows in a spectacular rolling fall to the very bottom of the section. He got up shakily & quickly disappeared down the portal, only to return the next inning with 2 more beers – and an ugly scrape on his forehead. IIRC, he made it thru the 12 innings. One hopes he didn’t pose for a mugshot later that night. (Time 3:15; Attendance 37,105; Braves 13-2)
Other than a patented Dale Murphy oppo-shot that careened off the RF football bleachers, I don’t remember a lot about this one. According to Retrosheet, it was a pitchers’ duel between Rick Mahler & Randy Martz. Up 2-1 going into the 9th, the Cubbies nicked up Camp for 3, benefitting from a walk, a misplayed bunt & a Hubbard error—more like a late-inning meltdown. (Time 2:20; Attendance 27,094; Braves 16-6)
This is one of those early-season games where manager Joe Torre began to fall in love with Steve Bedrosian. After the Phils roughed up Mahler to go up 5-0, the Bravos rebounded & took the lead on Sparky Lyle (via a clutch Chris Chambliss RBI & a rare Mike Schmidt error). Bedrock took the win & closed things out with 3 scoreless innings—almost Gossage-like. Games like these reaffirmed the belief that we might be seeing a special season. (Time 2:39; Attendance 28,050; Braves 26-13)
The next afternoon. Other than an oppo-shot from Murphy (#13 for the season), not much to celebrate here. Pete Rose picked up 2 RBI & crafty vet Mike Krukow, having one of his best years, went 8 to best Larry McWilliams. IIRC, went to see The Plasmatics at the Agora Ballroom on Peachtree later that night. Wendy O. Williams blew things up, chain-sawed instruments in half & did her best to test the local morals code—yup, way more entertaining than Mike Krukow. (Time 2:12; Attendance 25,925; Braves 26-14)