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Atlanta Braves

An original member of the National League (Boston Red Caps 1876-1882, Boston Beaneaters 1883-1906), the Boston franchise was not that successful, though they did pull off the most incredible comeback in regular season history when they stormed back from 14 games out to win the NL flag in 1914.

They subsequently upset a heavily favored Philadelphia A's team in the World Series, helped greatly by Johnny Evers, the former Cubs leader. The team was known as the Doves and Rustlers before settling on Braves in 1912. From 1936-1940 they were variously known as the Bees.

From 1917 to 1945, a span of 29 years, the Braves posted just five winning seasons, finishing no higher than 4th. A few noteworthy players wore the Braves colors during that stretch, such as Rabbit Maranville and Wally Berger.

By the late 1940s the Braves were stocked with some talented players, (Bob Elliott, Earl Torgeson, Tommy Holmes, Johnny Sain, and Warren Spahn) who delivered the franchise's second pennant in 1948. After losing the World Series to Cleveland, the team fell back into mediocrity and during the 1952 off-season they were moved to Milwaukee. It was the first westward expansion in NL history. The change of address was an immediate success. Led by Charlie Grimm and Fred Haney, the team finished no lower than 3rd in their first eight seasons in Wisconsin. Behind Eddie Mathews, Henry Aaron, Joe Adcock, Red Schoendienst, Spahn, and Lew Burdette, the Braves won back-to-back pennants in 1957-1958, defeating the Yankees in the Fall Classic in 1957. The Dodgers and Braves finished in a tie in 1959, the Braves losing in a playoff.

The franchise enjoyed tremendous success at the gate, drawing record crowds in Milwaukee, but in 1966 they bolted town for Atlanta, once again blazing trails into new baseball markets - this time the deep South. Aaron set home run records in an Atlanta uniform, but the team enjoyed little success other than a division title in 1969.

The 1970' saw the team running in place, even with stars such as Phil Niekro and Darrell Evans. By the 1980s, Ted Turner was entrenched as owner and in '82 a fast start helped the Braves win the NL East flag. Dale Murphy won the first of his two MVP awards that season. He was generally regarded as the best all-around player in the majors at that time.

The Braves were the most successful franchise in baseball in the 1990s, beginning the decade with an improbable "worst to first" pennant in 1991. Their loss to the Twins in that World Series was the first of many post-season failures for the team, however. Through 2002, the team had just one World Series title to show for 11 straight post-season appearances.

From 1991-1993 and 1995-2002 the Braves advanced to every post-season, a major league record for sustained success. In 1995 they won the World Series, repaying the Indians for the '48 Series loss. In 1991, 1992, 1996 and 1999, the team lost the World Series. In 1993, 1997, 1998 and 2001 they were defeated in the NLCS. In 2000 and 2002 they lost in the Division Series, despite being favored to win.

Through 2002 (the Bobby Cox era), the Braves have played 22 post-season series, winning 12 and losing 10. The team has a cumulative won/loss record in games of 58-53 (.523, compared to .611 during the regular season during that stretch).

In 2004 Atlanta again won their division with a 96-66 record. They lost in the 1st round of the playoffs to the Houston Astros 3-2 in a best of 5 game series.

In 2006 Atlanta finished with a 79-83 record and in 3rd place.


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