The Braves Come to Atlanta – Can It Be 50 Years?

This year Atlanta marks the 50th anniversary of the city’s first major league sports team. For those of us who remember the turbulent decade of the 1960s, it may not be surprising that the move of the Bos-ton/Milwaukee Braves was not a smooth one way back in 1965-66. In fact, the 1965 season was one of uncertainty and the Braves could well be described as a team with two hometowns.

 

While Milwaukee fought to keep the franchise from moving south that year, the Braves had one of the most unusual seasons in baseball history. The team came to its new “hometown” in a series of un-official games against other major league clubs on its “off days.” It also played a three game series against the Detroit Tigers in the brand new Atlanta Stadium built for them. In June 1965, the “Milwau-kee/Atlanta” Braves took on the Chicago White Sox in one of their “off day” games.

The “Atlanta” Braves came away with a 5-1 victory but with another, even more impressive, statis-tic. The new stadium was filled with over 24,000 fans. Along with the three exhibition games against the Tigers, Atlanta attendance was 130,000, five thousand more than the fan totals who turned out for the 22 Milwaukee games that spring. The Braves had certainly found their new home even though that wasn’t made official until 1966. Can it really be 50 years already?

-Dick Funderburke