COMMENTARY | The Atlanta Braves franchise started playing baseball in 1871. When the club first began skipping around the diamond in knee-breeches and stockings, the country had only 37 states.
In the 142 years players have been putting wood to rawhide, there have been enough stats and trivia questions compiled to make the Aflac duck's head explode. How well do you know your Braves history?
Is your Braves acumen up to snuff, or do your trivia skills still belong in the minors?
How many different team names has the franchise used?
Answer: Seven -- Although the franchise started playing baseball with the word "Braves" scrawled across its chest in 1911, the team has been known by seven different monikers. Those names include the Braves, Bees, Doves, Rustlers, Red Caps, Red Stockings -- and my personal favorite -- and the Boston Beaneaters from 1883 to 1906.
Who recorded the first regular-season hit at Turner Field?
Answer: Chipper Jones -- The first regular season hit at Turner Field came on April 4, 1997 when the Braves opened the season with the Chicago Cubs. After starter Denny Neagle shut the Cubs down 1-2-3 in the top of the 1st inning, it was the Braves' turn to bat.
Kenny Loften and Michael Turker were unable to get a hit to start the contest, but Chipper Jones -- batting in his customary No. 3 spot -- came up and laced a line-drive single into left to officially christen the ballpark.
Who was the first Braves player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame?
Answer: Babe Ruth -- This one might get categorized as a trick question because Ruth did not enter the hall as a member of the Braves, but after a stellar career -- first with the Boston Red Sox and then the New York Yankees -- Ruth ended his run in 1935 with the Boston Braves. He was inducted into the Hall one year later, in 1936.
Ruth hit just .181 with six home runs and 12 RBIs for the Braves that season, but he did hit his final home run (No. 714) in a Braves uniform. Ironically enough, Hank Aaron would also hit No. 715 to break Ruth's record as a member of the Braves franchise.
Who Won the World Series MVP in 1995?
Answer: Tom Glavine -- I thought I'd give you an easy one after the trick question about Ruth.
Glavine earned MVP honors after going 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in the 1995 World Series. After notching the win in Game 2, Glavine came back and wrapped up the World Series title for Atlanta in Game 6 when he pitched eight innings of one-hit baseball, allowing the Braves to squeak past the Cleveland Indians 1-0.
Glavine loves to share the story about how he felt so good during the game, he came into the dugout and told the team to just get him one run and he'd do the rest. As it turns out, one run was all he needed that day.
Who holds the single-season home run record for the Braves?
Answer: Andruw Jones -- Don't lie and say you knew this one. I'm fairly certain that 99.9 percent of fans would have guessed Hank Aaron, or maybe Chipper, but, in 2005, it was actually the other Jones brother who put on the top power display in franchise history.
Jones hit 51 homers that season to help the Braves win the final of their 14 straight division championships. Jones would come in second in the MVP race to Albert Pujols -- the highest MVP finish of his career.
How many career ejections does Bobby Cox have?
Answer: 143 -- Although Cox ranks No. 4 on the all-time managerial wins list, the Braves' skipper is No. 1 where it counts -- ejections. Cox was known as being a players' manager, and, as such, he routinely racked up the heave-hoes from umpires simply by standing up for his players to make sure they weren't the ones to get run.
Cox won Manager of the Year four times in his career (1985, 1991, 2004, and 2005) and ended his 25-year Atlanta tenure with a record of 2,149-1709.
Which pitcher has thrown the most no-hitters in franchise history?
Answer: Warren Spahn (2) and Kent Mercker (2) -- Spahn's name should come as no surprise, considering he also holds the franchise records in wins (356) and innings pitched (5,046), but Mercker would not be the name on the tip of most fans' tongues.
Mercker notched his first no-no in 1991 as a member of a three-man no-hitting bid. The lefty pitched only six innings before handing the ball to Mark Wholers for two frames and then Alejandro Peña nailed down the save for a 1-0 victory over the San Diego Padres. Mercker came back three years later to get the more standard nine-inning no-hitter against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1994.
The Braves have 14 no-hitters in their franchise's history, but no pitcher has ever tossed a perfect game.
How many numbers have the Braves retired?
Answer: 11 -- Chipper Jones became the most recent member of the club when his No. 10 was raised to the rafters in 2013. The franchise has also retired the numbers of John Smoltz, Bobby Cox, Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, Eddie Matthews, Dale Murphy, Phil Niekro, Warren Spahn and Hank Aaron.
Math majors out there may have noticed that only 10 names were cited, however, in 1997, every team in baseball retired the No. 42 of Jackie Robinson.
Anthony Schreiber is a freelance sportswriter who has been following the Atlanta Braves for over 20 years. He has penned articles for a variety of online publications and magazines.
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