How Many Boston Braves Are Still Around? Game Thread, May 29 (by iceberg584)

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 “natural rival” 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 – 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 “natural rival” games coming against the Boston Red Sox (who are playing the Phillies this week).

Now, I’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 Braves’ 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 I’ve been in a full-out Boston Braves blitz lately.

After the complete debacle that was the 1935 Boston Braves season (if you’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 franchise’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) – 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 Braves’ 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 can’t help but think about the fact that, like our nation’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. We’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:

NameYears as Boston BravePositionCurrent Age
Gene Conley1952P82
Jack Dittmer19522B85
Bert Thiel1952P87
Virgil Jester1952P85
Johnny Logan1951-52SS86
Bob Addis1950-51OF87
Luis Olmo1950-51OF93
Dick Manville1950P86
Walt Linden1950C89
Del Crandall1949-50C83missed 1951-52 due to Korean War
Johnny Antonelli1948-50P83missed 1951-52 due to Korean War
Clint Conatser1948-49OF91missed 1942-45 due to WWII
Al Dark1946/48-49SS91
Hal Schacker1945P88
Harry MacPherson1944P86
Mike Sandlock1942/44C97
Eddie Carnett1941OF96
Art Kenney1938P97

In ten years, there is a good chance that the last of the remaining Boston Braves will be lost to mists of time.

122 thoughts on “How Many Boston Braves Are Still Around? Game Thread, May 29 (by iceberg584)”

  1. The Blue Jays and Braves have in fact been natural rivals — for Bobby Cox’s employment. I’m sure Bobby is saying, “Makes sense.”

  2. 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.

  3. If you’re going to play interleague every day, there’s no reason for “natural rivals” to be interleague.

  4. #4
    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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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):

    1.Johnny Logan331951-1961
    2.Rabbit Maranville29.81912-1935
    3.Rafael Furcal21.72000-2005
    4.Jeff Blauser20.71987-1997
    5.Denis Menke151962-1967
    6.Eddie Miller121939-1942
    7.Yunel Escobar11.42007-2010
    8.Dave Bancroft10.41924-1927
    9.Edgar Renteria8.22006-2007
    10.Rafael Ramirez7.11980-1987
  7. @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.

  8. @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.

  9. Anybody had a Burger Fi hamburger? A friend of mine is opening one in Roswell.

  10. @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.

  11. @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.

  12. Game day says Bonifacio singles on sharp line drive to Medlen, injury delay. What happened?

  13. Line drive hit Kris on the back of the knee. It bounced far enough that he couldn’t get the out.

  14. Melky with 2 hits, 2 RBI. There is no karmic justice in the universe.

  15. @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.

  16. If Melky Cabrera would drop dead, that would be nice.

    Medlen was hit behind the left knee. Looks OK…ish.

  17. And as soon as I say Medlen’s OK-ish, he goes down the tunnel and David Carpenter starts warming up.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. Great, we’ve got Gattis coming up now! Oh, wait … never mind.

  21. 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?

  22. Is that ballgame, or should I hang on until Gattis gets his daily plate appearance?

  23. BJ, Uggla, Heyward – the three worst players in the Major Leagues all on one team. Mercy!

  24. How the heck is this team in first place by 4.5 games? They are so damned frustrating to watch.

  25. 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.”

  26. If Fredi subbed in Schafer, Gattis and Pena I’d feel pretty good about our chances of winning this game. Instead it’s hopelessness.

  27. Carpenter just hit better than half the starting lineup. I’m not sure he pitches better, though.

  28. 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

  29. Pretty sure Francoeur never had a 6.5 win season as a 22-year old. But hey, despair is fun: Heyward is doomed.

  30. 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.

  31. 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?

  32. BJ looks like he shouldn’t face this lefty either right now. Or righties. Or anyone else.

  33. 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

  34. Fat Juan and BJ back-to-back. In the parlance of “This Is Spinal Tap,” it’s a “s— sandwich.”

  35. 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.

  36. Carpenter, despite the walks, pitched well. Now would be the time to begin to chip away at the unearned lead.

  37. Is Melky better than our entire outfield tonight? Even JUpton has entered that vortex of suck.

  38. 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.

  39. Highlights to date – H&F burger, hillbilly jailbait hanging out in smoking section

  40. When asked how he fills out his lineup card Jim Leyland responds, “If you hit, you play.” It’s not fucking rocket science.

  41. @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.

  42. Shafer, Simmons, Freeman, Gattis, BMac, C. Johnson, Pena, and R. Johnson: could work.

  43. 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 !

  44. That was unusual for Freddie. I know he’s immobile, but he typically catches anything he can reach.

  45. 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!

  46. Reading this thread you would have no idea this team has won 9 of its last 11 games.

  47. Reading this thread you would have no idea this team has won 9 of its last 11 12 games.

  48. @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

  49. 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.

  50. Heyward, Uggla and BJ Upton all need to be benched for a while. They’re just awful!

  51. 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.

  52. At least Uggla hits occasional HR’s. Can we DFA Juan tonight and bring back Ayala or Lisp?

  53. 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.

  54. 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.

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