Saturday, July 16, 2011

10,000 - 9,992

This is the total Atlanta Braves Franchise record since 1876 after an 11-1 pounding of the Washington Nationals last night. The Braves are baseball's oldest team. Reaching 10,000 wins last night placed them in the company of the Cubs and the Giants Franchises as the only three baseball organizations to offically win 10,000 games.

Everybody of course thinks the DamnYankees would surely be a member of this club. But, they are part of
baseball's junior circuit and many of their earlier games don't count.

As a mental exercise this afternoon I connected Warren Spahn with Chipper Jones, covering the Braves continuously from 1946 in Boston up to the present in Atlanta. Here's how the lineage works. As it should be, it is mostly with pitching. Warren Spahn had a great career for the Braves but his worst season was his final one in Milwaukee in 1964. That was his also the first season for Phil Niekro even though Niekro only pitched 15 innings. A late season call-up. Nevertheless, these two Braves pitched on the same team one season.

Niekro then takes us up to 1983 after which he was released by the Braves. Now, we have to rely on a catcher to carry us along. Bruce Benedict had just an ordinary career as a ball player but he caught Phil Niekro's first win in '83 and Tom Glavine's first loss in the 1988 season. Glavine, of course, to my heart's sorrow, opted to become a New York Met in 2003. But, Chipper Jones remained on the Braves roster, of course. Here we have to leave the world of pitching/catching completely. Jones is the only constant player between now and then. So, if you connect six Braves players you can go all the way back 65 years to Boston. Who will Chipper hand this lineage off to, if anyone?

All these years and basically the Braves are a .500 ballclub. 8 losses away from their 10,000th defeat. That will put them
in company with the Philadelphia Phillies, who have a losing percentage as a Franchise. The brilliance of recent Braves seasons was preceeded and balanced by periods in Boston, though never in Milwaukee, and throughout the 1970's and 1980's in Atlanta when the Braves were one of the worst teams in baseball. Nevertheless, but for the brilliance of recent seasons we would have reached 10,000 losses sooner, maybe even before the Phillies. We only made it to .500 ourselves last season. Before then it had been 1923 since the Braves Franchise had a winning record.

Again, baseball is historic in some form or fashion almost every week you live it.

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