Guest Author - Nick Greene
It was January 20, 1871 and Ivers Whitney Adams took his $15,000 and incorporated the Boston Red Stockings. He was assisted by Harry Wright, the "Father of Professional Baseball," who had founded and managed America's first truly professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings. In March, the new team joined eight others to form the National Association of Professional Baseball Players, the forerunner of the National League.
The Boston Red Stockings were a force to be contended with as they won six of the first eight pennants in history. 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 next few years were a roller coaster and included several droughts for the team. They become known as the Beaneaters, to tie their identity closer to Boston and help avoid confusion with the Cincinnati Reds. 1891 was their best year at the end of the century when they won the pennant.
Early in the 20th century the team endured a couple of name changes, first to the Doves after new owners, the Dovey brothers, then, finally, to the Braves in 1912. Two years later, was a miracle season for the team as they battled back from last place to win the pennant.
Over the next several years, a number of greats played for the team, including Jim Thorpe, Rogers Hornsby and Babe Ruth, who finished his career in a Braves uniform. The team name was changed to the Bees briefly in 1936, but had returned to Braves by 1941.
Moving to Milwaukee in 1953, the Braves played 12 seasons, which were highlighted by the play of a young Hank Aaron. Brought in to replace an injured Bobby Thomson in 1954, Aaron batted .280 with 13 homers as the Braves finished third. In 1956, he won the batting title with a .328 average, but the Braves wouldn't take the pennant as the Dodgers won it on the final day of the season. The team did manage to take the pennant and World Series the following year, led by Wes Covington, "Hurricane" Bob Hazle, Lew Burdette, Warren Spahn and Aaron.
In 1965, the team planned a move to Atlanta, that was postponed by a court order and they played a "lame duck" season in Milwaukee. In 1974, Hank Aaron tied Babe Ruth on his the first at bat, on April 4. Four days later he broke the record with homer number 715.
Again, the Braves had several roller coaster years, but they shocked the world in 1991 when they became the first team in history to reach the World Series after being in last place the year before. Since that season, they have continued to place high in the rankings, becoming the first team to win the N.L. West for three consecutive years, and culminating in a World Series victory in 1995.
Today, the Atlanta Braves (formerly the Boston Red Stockings, Boston Beaneaters, Boston Doves, Boston Braves, Boston Bees and Milwaukee Braves) are the only one of today's Major League franchises to have fielded a team every season professional baseball has been in existence.