1. Game 6 of the 1995 World Series
Rafael Belliard makes the first out on an amazing catch in foul territory. Glavine and Wohlers held the most potent offense in baseball to one hit. Grissom catches a routine fly for the 2nd out, but when Grissom catches that last fly ball and Skip Caray screams, “YES! YES! YES! THE ATLANTA BRAVES HAVE GIVEN YOU A CHAMPIONSHIP” I get goosebumps and, no lie, a little misty thinking about it. All the naysayers who hold that the team never accomplished much in spite of all the division titles must acknowledge the legitimacy of 1995.
2. Skip Caray’s Call of this moment. I still get goosebumps, occasionally tears.
I almost made this #1, but a championship trumps a playoff win, no matter how unforgettably spectacular it might have been.
3. April 8, 1974
3,700+ hits, 755 homeruns, 2,297 RBI’s, and a lifetime .302 hitter. 21 All Star selections and 25 All Star appearances. Zero steroids.
4. Dale Murphy’s Back-to-Back MVP’s
Year Age Tm Lg G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB Pos Awards
1982 26 ATL NL 162 698 598 113 168 23 2 36 109 23 11 93 134 .281 .378 .507 .885 142 303 10 3 0 4 9 *879 ASMVP-1GGSS
1983 27 ATL NL 162 687 589 131 178 24 4 36 121 30 4 90 110 .302 .393 .540 .933 149 318 15 2 0 6 12 *87/9 ASMVP-1GGSS
5. Cy Young City
From 1991-1996 Glavine, Smoltz, and Maddux won every* NL Cy Young Award.
*Yeah, 1992 had Maddux on the Cubs….but work with me here.
6. The 1991 Season. All of it.
After the extremely intense frustration we all felt in the late 80’s, and the mathematically-eliminated-in-July 1990 season, we could barely believe what we were seeing in 1991. After Bobby Cox fired Russ Nixon in June 1990 and made himself manager, we had a little hope, but we had no idea how important trading Dale Murphy that August and signing Terry Pendleton in the off season would be come 1991. John Schuerlholz gave Cox the tools to win, and the players rose to the occasion, beating the accursed Dodgers for the NL West crown. The 1991 World Series is still called “The best ever” by some baseball reporters. Even though it broke our hearts when Lonnie Smith pulled up at 2nd when Chuck Knoblauch faked him into thinking he was catching a cutoff throw, and we all still collectively hate Kent Hrbek for pulling Ron Gant off first, 1991 was such a good feeling. There was never anything like it in Atlanta. Ever. But there has been since!
7. Rico Carty was the best two-strike hitter in baseball.
Everyone knew this. Even Whitey Herzog.
Some of you would chant Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiico in the pavilion seats until he’d turn around and wave.
8. Greg Maddux won 10 consecutive Gold Gloves from 1993-2002
Bill James has called Maddux the most underrated baseball player of all time. Not in the hearts and minds of Atlanta fans! We knew he was the best free agent signing ever.
9. Knucksie threw a no-hitter in 1973
So did Kent Mercker in 1994. There was also a combined no hitter in which Mercker threw six innings of no-hit baseball. No big deal.
10. Glenn Hubbard’s 1984 Fleer card.
A beard and a boa constrictor? Come on, Glenn! Could you have been any cooler? (I really hope that’s a boa, or I’m gonna get some hatemail). Hubbard also turned 784 double plays with the Braves.
11. July 6, 1986
Bob Horner hits four home runs in one game. Sure, we still lost that game to the Expos, but, in the 80’s, home runs were hard to come by, and four in one game was astounding.
12. We never missed the playoffs from 1991-2005.
Only Dodgers’ fans will mention 1994. No one asked you.
13. Andy Messersmith was a good sport.
Ted Turner turned our team into “America’s Team.” And, we believed it.
14. This is both an interstate and a pitcher to us!
RIP/Descanse en paz, Sr. Pérez. We’ll always want the Wrong Way.
15. This catch still causes joy and fire to burn in your bosom.
Otis Nixon sparked the Braves on so many occasions, but this catch ranks as the most memorable thing he did for us.
16. Not only was Bobby Cox an amazing manager, he was willing to go to bat, metaphorically, for his team. He has the major-league record: 158 ejections!
And 3 post-season ejections too! For anyone bringing up his arrest, the charges were dropped and they remain married 19 years later without further incident.
17. Abstract Math
The Tomahawk Chant during an important game is deafening, intimidating, and everyone knows who is cheering for whom.
18. 1973 Braves had three players with 40 or more homeruns.
They were the first team to ever accomplish that feat (the other two came in the PED Era), and they did it with Aaron reaching 713 (career), Davey Johnson hit 43 homeruns (42 as a 2nd baseman), and Darrell Evans added 41. Evans came back to the Braves at the end of his career, and shocked even himself when he cranked a triple at age 42.
20. Walt Weiss, Game 3, 1999 NLDS
You have to watch it to see how amazing it was. Remember, this was extra innings, bases loaded, one out. CLUTCH!
21. 13-0 Start to the 1982 Season
Sure, the Cardinals whooped us in the playoffs, but they did win it all that year. And, we’ve got the good record, not the bad record. Here’s some video in the clubhouse after they clinched the NL West.
22. I know it’s cruel, but this moment is ours.
Andy Van Slyke was a class act. I wish him no ill will. But, this image is the other side of the coin that didn’t come up for us (as it so often has), and it still feels good.
23. October 29, 1991
We lost the World Series on the 27th, but on the 29th, 750,000+ of us came downtown and celebrated our heroes with an outpouring of love that hadn’t been seen on Peachtree since Gone with the Wind premiered at the Loew’s Grand. If you skipped school or called in sick to work that day, no one would’ve blamed you (except for the Atlanta PD). Four years later, we had another parade when they brought a championship home to Atlanta.
24. One Player, One Team
Chipper Jones could’ve left us for more money, but he stuck with the team that took him #1 Over ALL in the 1990 draft. 1990-2012, and he was worth every penny. The 1990’s Braves are looking at four Hall of Famers from that team. Chipper hit .300 from both sides of the plate.
25. Jeff Treadway pulled off the hidden ball trick……..TWICE!
Eric Yelding and Marvell Wynne fell for this cruel trick. HAHAHAHAHAHA (evil laugh)
26. Crash Davis and Ebby Calvin “Nuke” LaLoosh were Braves
The Durham Bulls were the Braves High A minor-league team from 1980-1997. So, for a few years, we had the major league and minor league home run leaders. :)
27. 1969 NL West Champs!
Hank Aaron, Felipe Alou, Rico Carty, and Phil Neikro brought the playoffs to Atlanta in the fourth season since leaving Milwaukee. We lost to the Miracle Mets, who would go on to win it all, thanks to a youngster in Game 3 named Nolan Ryan getting a timely hit. Miracle indeed, given his lifetime .110 BA.
28. This story about Murph
Bob DiBiasio, a former public relations director of the Braves, recalls an away game against the St. Louis Cardinals in August 1987. “I got a call from a hospital in St. Louis,” he said. “A family of five from the South was traveling west, and had terrible tragedy: The parents were killed in a car accident, and the hospital wanted to know if Dale Murphy would visit the three children.”
It was a Saturday night following an afternoon game, “which most players consider a vacation, a break, and get out on the town.”
Murphy spent four hours with the children in the hospital.
Murphy remembers that night. “I had a chance to be with them a while,” he says. “The thing I tried to keep in mind as a ballplayer is that nobody likes to be in a hospital, and I can make a child forget for 30 minutes, or a short while at least, where they are.
“I mean, some children have a dying wish to go to a game, or meet me or some of the ballplayers. I mean, it gives you perspective that there are more important things in life than baseball.”
There are hundreds more stories like that one. Murphy received the Roberto Clemente Award in 1988. Perhaps the most beloved Brave of all time.
29. No other team gets to sneak their name into the last line of the national anthem.
We’re still sorry, Canada!
30. Chief Noc-A-Homa
He would never fly these days, but he is an indelible and unforgettable part of Braves history, for better or for worse. He was certainly much more entertaining than either incarnation of Homer the Brave.