38 years ago, then-Braves owner Ted Turner decided to manage his own team for a game
Ted Turner managed the Braves 38 years ago today
The Braves began the 1977 season in, um, let's just say less than ideal fashion. Atlanta lost 16 games in a row from mid-April to early May, and a doubleheader sweep at the hands of the Pirates on May 10 dropped their record to 8-21 -- much to the dismay of their 38-year-old owner, Ted Turner.
Unsuprisingly, the man who earned every bit of the nickname "Captain Outrageous" (case in point: he once asked that Braves pitcher Andy Messersmith to change his last name to "Channel" in order to promote the station broadcasting Atlanta's games) was not one to take losing lightly. So, naturally, Turner did what any man watching his multimillion-dollar investment flounder would do: He decided to manage the thing himself. Seriously.
On the afternoon of May 11, with the Braves scheduled to play Pittsburgh that night, Turner informed manager Dave Bristol that he'd be getting a relaxing, 10-day reprieve from that whole stressful coaching racket. From then-Braves infielder Darrel Chaney:
Bristol packed up and headed back to his home in North Carolina, while Turner made his way to the ballpark to make his Major League debut. He had some help: third-base coach Vern Benson was the de facto strategist, bullpen coach Chris Cannizzaro spent some time in the dugout too and, of course, there was the guy in the opposite dugout: "It looked to me that every time [Pirates manager Chuck] Tanner would cross his legs, Turner would cross his legs, you know?" Chaney recalled. "Like he was trying to figure out what to do."
Ultimately, though, it wouldn't be enough -- despite a complete game from future Hall of Famer Phil Niekro and a cunning decision from Turner to pinch-hit Chaney in the ninth, Atlanta fell 2-1, its 17th straight defeat. And just like that, Turner's managerial fever dream was over: National League President Chub Feeney called the next day, informing Turner of an MLB rule stipulating that no one who owned stock in a team could also manage it.
But no amount of "rules" or "basic conflicts of interest" can take away this gem from the record books: Ted Turner, 1977, 0-1.
Christopher Russo discussed the moment during a segement on High Heat on Monday: