This is the story of the oldest continuously operating professional sports franchise in America. It's a story not only of great teams (the 1914 'Miracle' Braves, the 1995 World Champs), great ballplayers (Aaron, Spahn, Niekro and Murphy), memorable managers and pleasant stadiums, but also a story of heartbreaking losses and long pennant droughts. It's the story of the Braves and their ancestors - the Red Stockings, Beaneaters, Doves, Rustlers, and Bees - and their wanderings from Boston to Milwaukee and Atlanta. In a way, it's also the story of professional baseball in America.
In fact, the franchise that started as the Boston Red Stockings in the 1870s and is now known as the Atlanta Braves is the only one of today's 30 Major League franchises to have fielded a team every season professional baseball has been in existence.
Follow this overview and this section's timeline for more of the rich, sometimes warped, always colorful and truly unique story of the Braves.
Birth and Early Years
On January 20, 1871, the Boston Red Stockings were incorporated by Ivers Whitney Adams with $15,000 and the help of Harry Wright, the "Father of Professional Baseball," who had founded and managed America's first truly professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings. Two months later, the Red Stockings became one of nine charter members of the National Association of Professional Baseball Players and the forerunner of the National League.
Like the current Braves, Wright's Red Stockings, were a dominant force. They won six of the first eight pennants in history - National Association flags in 1872-1875 and National League championships in 1877-78. In 1875, they won 26 straight games, and won all 38 home games at the Union Base Ball Ground in Boston's South End.
The Boston Braves
By 1912, Boston's National League franchise had come to be known as the Braves and was slowly emerging from a decade of poor performance. After six league titles in the 1870s and three more in the 1890s, the Braves entered a long colorful chapter in its history. The modern era in Boston started slowly, but included two pennants (1914 and 1948) and one World Series title (1914). In fact, the Miracle Braves of 1914 are among the most well-known teams in baseball history. But by 1952, the Braves had lost much fan support to the Red Sox, Boston's American League team.
The Milwaukee Braves
No one expected the Boston Braves to move to Milwaukee, the home of the Braves' top minor-league affiliate, after 82 years in Boston. Braves owner Lou Perini had promised to help Milwaukee attract a Major League team and most people thought it would be the struggling St. Louis Browns. In the Spring of 1953, Perini cited declining fan support in Boston and announced his intention to move the Braves. NL owners unanimously approved, much to the delight of Milwaukee fans. At a parade, 60,000 people citizens cheered the new team. And one of the happiest chapters in Braves history had begun.
Moving to Atlanta
The dwindling fan support that caused the Braves to move from Boston also caused them to move from Milwaukee to Atlanta. That didn't mean the city of Milwaukee and State of Wisconsin would go down without a fight. After a series of court battles, injunctions and appeals, the team finally arrived in Atlanta in 1966. They were welcomed with a parade and quickly grew comfortable in their new home, Atlanta Stadium. It only took a few years for the Braves to return to their winning ways.
The Team of the 90's
After the struggles of the mid- and late 1980s, Atlanta baseball fans were ready for a winner and the Braves delivered in the 1990s. From the stunning worst-to-first pennant race of 1991, which captivated the city for months, to the World Championship team of 1995 and the stellar performances of teams in 1996-1999, the Braves were far and away the most successful Major League Baseball team of the decade.