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Relocated MLB Teams: The Boston Braves

The Boston Braves were a baseball team that was a member of the National League between 1876 and 1953. Today, the franchise is based in Atlanta and it is known as the Atlanta Braves. The team went by different names during their early stages and was not officially christened Braves until 1912. Some of the names they used prior to that include the Boston Red Stocking, Boston Bean Eaters and Boston Pilgrims. Between 1926 and 1940, they were known as the Boston Bees but they readopted the Braves moniker starting 1941. The “Braves” nickname is believed to have been picked as a tribute to owner James Gaffney who was a member of the Tammany Hall political organization which used the symbol of an Indian chief as its logo. The team can trace its beginnings to 1869 in the Cincinnati Red Stocking who dissolved that year. As such the Braves are the oldest continuously running professional team in American sports. Following the disbandment of the National Association in 1876, the Red Stockings joined the National League as one of its charter franchises. The Braves’ home ground was the South End Grounds prior to 1915 when the Braves Field was built.

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During their days in the National Association, the Braves had been a force to reckon with, winning four pennants in five years. They began their competitive life in the National League during the 1876 season. They finished in third place with a 39-31 record. They claimed two pennants in a row in 1877 and 1878 before going into a lull of sorts that saw them win just one pennant between 1879 and 1890. They began the 1890s well winning three straight pennants between 1891 and 1893. The Braves also closed the decade in impressive fashion as they claimed the 1897 and 1898 titles. In 1898 they won the league with a 102-47 record which stood untouched for another century. With talent draining to the American League’s new entrant known as the Boston Red Sox, the Braves sunk into mediocrity, only managing one winning season between 1900 and 1913. In the last half 1914, they played some of the best baseball a team has ever offered, recovering from last on 18th July to win the league. They remain the only team ever to win the league after having been last on the standings on the Fourth of July. They then went on to win the World Series by sweeping the Philadelphia Athletics. After that season, success would largely elude the Braves as they went more than three decades without a major trophy. They won the 1948 pennant but they were beaten in the World Series by the Cleveland Indians. As it turned out that would be their last trophy in Boston as they went five barren years before they took off for Milwaukee.

One of the most iconic players to play for the Braves , albeit for a short time was Babe Ruth. Considered in many quarters as the greatest baseball player ever, Ruth was brought in from the Yankees in 1935 as a way to increase fan turnout and perhaps kick start the Braves faltering on-field product. Ruth played for the Braves while holding the position of vice president and assistant manager. With his pedigree having fallen significantly over the years due to lavish living and advanced age, Ruth was unable to live up to the hype he caused when he joined. Disenfranchised by his own inept play and broken promises from Emil Fuchs who the owned the team, Ruth decided to retire barely months after signing on.

Why were the Boston Braves Relocated?

The lack of success following the 1948 World Series win led to disillusionment among Braves fans and attendance at Braves Park fell consistently. In 1952 less than 500,000 fans turned out in the once consistently sold out stadium. Tired of financial losses, then team owner Lou Perini announced that the team would be relocating to Milwaukee. The move materialized following the conclusion of the season, with the team being rename the Milwaukee Braves. The team would move again in 1965 to their present home in Atlanta where they became the Atlanta Braves.

Boston Braves Notable Players

Hugh Duffy OF 1892-1900

King Kelly OF 1887-89, 1891-92

Rabbit Marranville SS 12-20, 29-35

Kid Nichols RHP 1890-1901

Frank Selee MGR 1890-1901

Warren Spahn LHP 1942, 1946-52

Vic Willis RHP 1898-1905

George Wright SS 1876-1881

John Clarkson RHP 1888-1892

Johnny Cooney RHP/1B 1921-1930, 1938-1942

Bob Elliot 3B 1947-1951

Wally Berger OF 1930-1937

Ben Cantwell P 1928-1936

Bob Smith P 1925-1930, 1933-1937

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