The Atlanta Braves have had their share of memorable late-season moments over the last couple of decades.
|Atlanta Braves Statue of Liberty, promotion (1)|
Here are the Braves' top 10 most memorable late-season moments over the past 21 years:
1. Braves' End-of-Season Run, 1991: At the beginning of the season, Braves fans probably did not expect much from the team. The Braves had only made the postseason twice since 1959 and had finished dead last in their division the last three years. The Braves surprised everyone when they won eight of their last 10 games and ended the season one game ahead of the L.A. Dodgers in the NL West Division.
2. Epic Braves Collapse, 2011: On Aug. 25, the Braves seemingly had the NL wild card locked up; the team was 10.5 games ahead of its nearest competitor. Unfortunately, the Braves would post a .333 winning percentage (9-27) in September. The St. Louis Cardinals took advantage of the Braves' poor performance to wrestle the wild card away from the Braves on the final day of the season.
3. John Smoltz Sets Saves Record, 2002: John Smoltz is one of the all-time best Braves pitchers. He might have become one of the greatest pitchers in major-league history, if not for all of the injuries. He proved his worth in 2002 when, on Sept. 27, he set the NL record for single season saves with 54. He finished the season with 55 saves.
4. Greg Maddux's Hot September, 1995: One of the best pitchers in Major League Baseball history, the Braves' Greg Maddux capped off an amazing year by going 4-0 in September. During this stretch, he only allowed one earned run. Maddux ended up winning the NL Cy Young Award.
5. Atlanta Braves' Late-Season Run, 2001: On Sept. 24, the Braves were tied with the Philadelphia Phillies atop the NL East with 80 wins apiece. The Braves went 8-4 from that point forward and won the division by two games.
6. Rafael Furcal's Steals, 2002: Rafael Furcal set a Braves record for stolen bases by a rookie. Over one-fourth (11) of those steals came in September.
7. Last Regular Season Game at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, 1996: The stadium had been the Braves' home since the franchise moved from Milwaukee to Atlanta in 1966. The Braves played their last regular season game at the stadium on Sept. 23, 1996. The team now calls Turner Field home.
8. Chipper Jones' Final Regular Season Game, 2012: Earlier this year, Chipper Jones decided to retire at the end of the 2012 season. The third baseman has spent his entire 20-year major-league career with the Braves and is one of the franchise's all-time greats. Assuming he stays healthy, Jones will likely play his last regular season home game on Sept. 30, when the Braves take on the Mets at Turner Field.
9. Bobby Cox Breaks a NL Record, 2002: Bobby Cox became the first NL manager to win more than 100 games in five different seasons. He earned this honor when the Braves beat the New York Mets 5-2 on Sept. 28 for win number 101. The team would finish the 2002 regular season with 101 wins and 61 losses.
10. Bobby Cox Retires in Style, 2010: Cox does not have any peers when it comes to Braves managers. During his 25 years with the team (1978-1981, 1990-2010), Cox took the Braves to the postseason 15 times. His teams won five pennants and a World Series. The manager was able to go out in style; his 2010 club secured the NL wild card by beating the Phillies 8-7 on the last day of the season.
The Atlanta Braves' official website
1. Photographer: Marianne O'Leary
Date: July 11, 2008
Title/Description: Atlanta Braves Statue of Liberty, promotion for 2008 MLB All-Star Game.
Location/Permission: Wikimedia Commons - Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license
(see title/link for photo, credit, permissions).
The author has followed Major League Baseball for many years and is a fan of the Atlanta Braves.
-- Anthony Hopper
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