|Boston Braves: the team we now know as the Atlanta Braves is the longest continuously active team in baseball history. In 1871, the team was named the Red Stocking, and were a part of the first professional league; the National Association. They won four consecutive championships, 1872 thru 1875. When the league folded at the end of 1875, the team became charter members of the newly formed National League in 1876. The Boston team won eight pennants from 1876-1899 and changed their name to the Boston Beaneaters in the early 1890's. |
At the start of the 20th century, the team assumed the current Braves' name. The Boston Braves won the National League Pennant in 1914 and beat Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series. Money poured in as fans filled the ballpark, and a new stadium was built for the following season. Braves' owner James Gaffney constructed the new stadium on a 13 acre plot located on the Charles River, bounded by Commwealth Ave., Gaffney St and Babcock St. Owner Gaffney wanted a huge ballpark conducive to speed and in-side-the park home runs. The outfield walls were 402 feet down both foul lines and a distance of 550 feet to dead center. It was the largest park in the country and opened to a standing room crowd of well over 40,000 fans. It was at the time the largest crowd ever to attend a baseball game anywhere in the country. They watched the Boston Braves beat the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1.
It was so difficult to hit a ball over the outfield walls that in 1921, Braves' Park produced 34 in-side-the park homers and only 4 over the outfield walls. On April 29, 1922, the New York Giants hit four in-side-the park homers in one game.
In 1928, Boston's management finally brought the fences in to bring-in the new game that was taking the country by storm- swing for the fences with legend Babe Ruth leading the way. The new fences were 320 down leftfield, 387 ft to center and 364 to RF. From 1917-1945, the Boston Braves finished over .500 only 5 times and attendance declined dramatically and the Braves' franchise was sold to Lou Perini in 1946. The Braves won the pennant in 1948 but lost the World Series to the Cleveland Indians. Financial difficulties took their toll and resulted in a move to Milwaukee in 1953.
The Boston Braves were the first team in 50 years to move to a new city. Attendance soared in Milwaukee to almost 2 million to set a new NL record. The Braves led by Hank Aaron, Eddie Mathews, Johnny Logan and pitchers Warren Spahn and Lew Burdette won the World Series in 1957 and took the NL pennant in 1958, but when the Braves failed to contend in the 1960's attendance dropped off sharply.
In 1966, the Braves moved to Atlanta and played in new Fulton County Stadium where the foul lines were 330 down each line and deep center was only 402 feet away, a far cry from the huge Boston Braves' park built in 1915. By mid-1970's the ballpark was referred to as the 'Launching Pad' because of the frequency of homers hit. Regularly during the 1970's & 1980's more home runs were hit there than any other NL park. In the 1990's, the Atlanta Braves led by sinker-ball pitchers' Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux and John Smoltz have contended for the pennant throughout the decade. baseballhistorian.com
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