Monthly Archives: November 2019

Tom Glavine Jersey Braves

The home where famed former Atlanta Braves pitcher Tom Glavine and his wife Chris have raised their five children is for sale for $6.75 million.

The eight-bedroom, nine-bathroom home at 910 Hurleston Lane in Johns Creek encompasses 16,132 square feet and was built by the Glavines over a period of two years. It comes with a backyard baseball field and basement batting cage — both built by Braves groundskeeper Ed Mangan — and is located in the exclusive gated community Country Club of the South in Johns Creek, Ga. It includes a championship Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course; Glavine is an avid golfer.

Glavine starred for the Braves during their record-setting 1990s run. After the team finished last in 1990, his pitching helped take the Braves to the National League West title the very next year — the Braves’ famous worst-to-first 1991 season.

This season is shaping up like that, Glavine said.

“They are a little bit ahead of where everybody thought they were going to be – to be really, really competing for their division. Sometimes things happen sooner than you plan, like they did for us in 1991, so hopefully this is another one of those years,” he said.

With a 20-11 record, a league-best nine complete games and the National League Cy Young Award, Glavine helped the Braves advance to their first World Series — where they lost to the Minnesota Twins in extra innings in the dramatic seventh game.

The Braves went to the Series again in 1992, and then in 1995 against the Cleveland Indians. Glavine threw eight-shutout innings in Game 6, earning the world championship with a 1-0 victory. He was named the World Series Most Valuable Player.

Along with Greg Maddux and John Smoltz, Glavine was part of one of the best pitching rotations in baseball history. Together they won seven Cy Young Awards from 1991 to 1998, with Glavine’s honors in 1991 and 1998. He was a 10-time All-Star, led the National League in wins five times and even won four Silver Slugger Awards.

Glavine was inducted into the baseball Hall of Fame in 2014, along with Maddux. Smoltz joined them a year later. In 2011, Glavine became a color commentator for Braves baseball games.

Today, change is in the air for the Glavine family. Two of the couple’s children are out of college and on their own, a third is in college (Peyton Glavine is a left-handed pitcher, like his dad, for the Auburn University Tigers), a fourth is entering his high school senior year and the fifth is in third grade, Glavine said. It is time to find a smaller house, although they have enjoyed 910 Hurleston Lane, he said.

“It was the perfect house for what we wanted. We wanted a destination for our kids and their friends,” Glavine said. “We had kids here all the time hanging out. We could actually do that, and we were not all on top of each other. It worked perfectly in that regard. We had a lot of fun memories with those guys hanging out here.”

The family is looking for a smaller home in the Country Club of the South neighborhood and surrounding areas of North Fulton, such as Alpharetta or Milton, Glavine said. He plans to keep playing golf with the same group of guys. “It may just be a longer commute (to the course) now depending on what happens,” he said.

“We plan on staying here; we haven’t decided what to do. We toyed with the idea of going into Buckhead but I am not sure how realistic that is,” he said. “We are comfortable here and we know the surroundings. I am hard-pressed to believe we wouldn’t end up somewhere in this area.”

Phil Niekro Jersey Braves

As the 2019 season nears, the Atlanta Braves look forward to Opening Day to defend their National League East crown. Today, we mark 71 days until Opening Day by looking at Phil Niekro’s incredible career.
Early Niekro

Phil Niekro was originally signed by the Milwaukee Braves in 1959, and he spent multiple years in the minors before finally cracking the majors in 1964 at age 25. He worked primarily as a reliever until 1967, when he spent his first year as a swingman, and he was incredible, winning the ERA title with a 1.87 ERA over 207 innings split between 26 relief appearances and 20 starts. He also saved 9 games, which was a career high.

Niekro’s 20s with Atlanta were relatively rough as he got a late start. Overall, he pitched 5 seasons in his 20s in the Braves organization, with 31 wins, posting a 2.56 ERA over 603 2/3 innings.
Niekro’s middle years

His entire 30’s were spent with the Atlanta Braves, though during that time, the Braves were rarely good. As a knuckleballer, Niekro pitched more often and was able to tally up a ton of innings, topping 300 innings three times in his 30’s.

Niekro made All-Star games in his 30’s, including his first one at age 30 in 1969. Due to often pitching deep into his games, Niekro had a decision in 310 of his 402 games. He AVERAGED 40 games and 37 starts over the decade, averaging 282 innings and a 3.18 ERA.
Like a fine wine

For the first time in his career, Niekro left the Atlanta Braves in his 40’s, but he waited until he was 45. He did return to the Braves to finish his career in 1987 at age 48.
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Incredibly, Niekro won 71 games (hence his inclusion for #71!) in his 40’s as a member of the Atlanta Braves. Incredibly, in his age 40 season, 1979, Niekro led the National League in wins while also leading the major leagues in losses, starts, complete games, and innings pitched. He had a 21-20 record, the only time since World War I that a pitcher had recorded both 20 wins and 20 losses in the same season.

He spent three seasons during his 40’s with other organizations, but Knucksie’s Braves-only statistics would rank him in the top 7 of all pitchers in MLB history during his 40’s in wins, starts, and innings, though he’s significantly the leader in major league history if you add in his time elsewhere.

Orlando Cepeda Jersey Braves

Orlando Cepeda, in full Orlando Manuel Cepeda Pennes, bynames Baby Bull and Cha-Cha, (born Sept. 17, 1937, Ponce, P.R.), Puerto Rican professional baseball player who became one of the first new stars to emerge when major league baseball arrived on the U.S. West Coast in 1958.

Cepeda grew up surrounded by baseball: his father, Pedro (“Perucho”) Cepeda, was a power-hitting shortstop who was known as the “Babe Ruth of Puerto Rico.” In 1958 Orlando Cepeda debuted with the San Fancisco Giants and was a unanimous selection as the National League (NL) Rookie of the Year. The seven-time All-Star first baseman played for eight seasons with San Francisco, three with the St. Louis Cardinals, and three with the Atlanta Braves before ending his career with brief stints with Oakland Athletics, the Boston Red Sox, and the Kansas City Royals. In 1967, with St. Louis, Cepeda was unanimously selected as the NL Most Valuable Player while leading the Cardinals to the World Series title.

With the kind of numbers Cepeda put up during his 17-year major league career—a .297 batting average and 379 home runs—it seemed he would be a sure bet to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. But after 15 years on the ballot, he was never able to receive the necessary votes for induction, probably owing to the backlash resulting from an off-the-field incident the year after he retired. In 1975 Cepeda was arrested when several pounds of marijuana were discovered in his luggage on his return to Puerto Rico from Colombia, where he had been conducting baseball clinics. After serving 10 months of his five-year sentence at a federal prison in Florida, Cepeda was released early because of good behaviour. In 1987 he returned to the site of his greatest success, San Francisco, where he was hired to work as a community representative. His improved public image led to his election to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee in 1999.

John Smoltz Jersey Braves

Dealt to the Braves when he was only a minor league prospect, John Smoltz soon established himself as a workhorse right-handed hurler for a young team on the verge of turning the corner. Unfortunately, in the midst of this prolonged success, a troublesome elbow forced the starter to become a closer for a few years. Smoltz would emerge from this unchartered path to become the only player in big league history with at least 200 career wins and at least 150 saves.

“My legacy will be however someone wants to view it,” Smoltz said as his playing career was coming to an end. “Certainly I’m proud of it. I don’t even know if I have a word for it. I mean, I literally gave everything I had every single time I went out there.

“In life, certainly, not everything goes smoothly, but this has been the time of my life.”

Born May 15, 1967 in Detroit, Mich., John Andrew Smoltz grew up in a baseball family with both a grandfather and his father having spent time working at Tiger Stadium. Smoltz was such a big Tigers fans growing up that after Detroit won the 1984 World Series, he and his father dug up a piece of Tiger Stadium sod and planted it in the family’s backyard.

Starring in both baseball and basketball at Waverly High School in Lansing, Michigan, Smoltz’s initial plan was to attend Michigan State to play both sports. Instead, he signed with his hometown Tigers after being selected in the 22nd round of the 1985 amateur draft.

After almost two seasons toiling in the Tigers’ minor league farm system, the 20-year-old Smoltz was acquired by Atlanta Braves general manager Bobby Cox for veteran pitcher Doyle Alexander on August 12, 1987. At the time of the transaction, Smoltz was 4-10 with a 5.68 ERA pitching for the Double-A Glens Falls Tigers of the Eastern League, while Alexander, 36, was a 16-year veteran with a 5-10 record and a 4.13 ERA in 16 starts for the Braves.

“I was very disappointed,” Smoltz would recall years later. “I thought, ‘I’m going to the worst team in baseball.’ Then I switched my thoughts, realizing I can get to the big leagues quicker and help turn this franchise around, which has been a great story.”

In 1987, Alexander went 9-0 with a 1.53 ERA during his seven weeks with a Detroit team that would qualify for the postseason, but the Tigers would lose in the ALCS to the Twins in five games. By the next year, and after only a half-season at Triple-A Richmond, Smoltz was pitching in the majors, finishing with a 2-7 won-loss record. Amazingly, only a season later, he was pitching in the All-Star Game.

Over his first five full seasons, from 1989 to 1993, Smoltz averaged 14 wins, 34 starts and 182 strikeouts with a 3.42 ERA. This stretch also included the Braves’ remarkable 1991 campaign, a worst-to-first season in which Atlanta lost an epic seven-game World Series title to the Minnesota Twins. The ’91 Fall Classic is arguably most remembered for Jack Morris’ 10-inning masterpiece in Game 7, shutting out the Braves, 1-0, where Smoltz tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings while earning a no-decision.

Smoltz’s pitching repertoire included a trio of exceptional pitches: an impressive fastball, a slider that veered away from right-handed batters, and a splitter that darted under the swings of left-handed batters.

Led by the “Big Three” of Smoltz, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, the postseason would become quite familiar for Atlanta. Smoltz, who would became the only Braves player to be part of the franchise’s historic run of 14 consecutive division titles from 1991 to 2005, would appear in 41 postseason games, compiling a 15-4 record, a 2.67 ERA and a record 199 strikeouts. In five World Series, including the 1995 triumph over the Indians, Smoltz started eight games, finishing with a 2-2 record and a 2.47 ERA.

“I just relished it,” Smoltz said. “I could not wait for the big moment, the big game.”

Plagued by arm problems throughout his big league career, the first of a half-dozen surgeries took place in September 1994 when doctors removed a large bone spur and some chips from the back of his right elbow.

Two years later, Smoltz captured the 1996 National League Cy Young Award on the strength of a 24-8 record (including 14 consecutive wins from April 9 to June 19), a 2.94 ERA and a league-best 276 strikeouts. Smoltz capturing the award also ended Maddux’s Cy Young streak at four, giving the Braves four straight winners. And with Glavine’s wins in 1991 and 1998, Braves pitchers won six Cy Young awards in eight years.

“Everybody felt I needed this to be on par with Greg and Tommy,” Smoltz said after winning the Cy Young. “At least winning the award takes the pressure off of that. I know down the road I’ll be honored to have played with those two guys.”

Despite having elbow surgery to remove bone chips prior to the season and a four-week disabled list stint with an inflamed elbow during the season, a resilient Smoltz finished 1998 with a 17-3 record. The following year, spending time on the DL twice with a strained elbow, he tried to compensate for the pain by dropping down his pitching motion from overhand to a three-quarters delivery to finish 11-8.

The worst of Smoltz’s injuries came in 2000 when he missed entire season after tearing the medial collateral ligament in his right elbow in spring training and undergoing Tommy John surgery in March. A comeback in 2001 was derailed after five starts with time spent on the DL, but when he returned in July he was converted into a relief pitcher as the best chance to maximize his health.

After 159 wins as a stalwart starting pitcher for the Braves, the versatile Smoltz began anew as the team’s closer and the results were superb. Finishing out the 2001 season as the team’s new fireman, he had 10 saves in 11 chances with a 1.59 ERA.

“It has been a mental adjustment. It hasn’t really been that bad of a physical adjustment,” Smoltz said at the time. “As a starter, you know when you’re going to pitch. You prepare to pitch a certain day. As a closer, you wait to see if your team’s going to put you in that position. That’s probably been the hardest transition.”

In 2002, his first full season in the closer role, Smoltz set the NL record by converting 55 saves (tied by the Dodgers’ Eric Gagne in 2003). Similar to his success as a starting pitcher, he would dominate his new role in the bullpen by saving 154 games in 168 opportunities in his 3½ seasons as an elite closer. Injuries continued to be a concern during this period as well, as he suffered from right elbow tendinitis in 2003 and had right elbow surgery in October 2004 to clean up scar tissue.

Preferring to be a starter, Smoltz was a workhorse after returning to the rotation in 2005, averaging 15 wins and 222 innings over the next three seasons. But two months after winning his 200th career game in May 2007, he was back on the DL with right shoulder tendinitis.

After five starts early in the 2008 season, one of which included him becoming the 16th big league pitcher to reach 3,000 career strikeouts, it was announced that Smoltz would need season-ending shoulder surgery.

“I love to compete,” Smoltz said. “But I can’t compete against my body anymore.”

Signed as a free agent by the Red Sox in January 2009, struggled to a career-ending 3-8 campaign split between Boston and the Cardinals.

An eight-time All-Star and the winner of the 1997 NL Silver Slugger Award (pitcher), Smoltz finished his 21-year big league career with a 213-155 record, 154 saves, 3,084 strikeouts and a 3.33 ERA. The winner of 14 or more games 10 times he twice led the NL in wins (1996 and 2006), innings pitched (1996 and 1997) and strikeouts (1992 and 1996).

Also honored for his humanitarian efforts, Smoltz has been honored with the 2005 Lou Gehrig Memorial Award (2005), the Roberto Clemente Award (2005) and the 2007 Branch Rickey Award (2007).

Hank Aaron Jersey Braves

When Hank Aaron first received the news that he was returning home, he couldn’t have been farther away from it.

Fourteen hours and five minutes away from Milwaukee, Aaron had been competing with Japanese home run king Sadaharu Oh in a home-run hitting contest in Tokyo. At 40-years-old, Aaron had narrowly defeated the 34-year-old slugger, 10-9, in front of a packed Korakuen Stadium and millions of television viewers worldwide.

Although he was happy he won the contest, Aaron admitted to reporters after the game that he hadn’t had any batting practice for about a month and was enduring the effects of a 17-hour-plane ride. But the ever-modest future Hall of Famer just shrugged off his win as having “patience at the plate.”

But after all of that hard work, the Hammer wouldn’t have an uninterrupted night’s sleep. In the early morning hours on Saturday, Nov. 2, 1974, he received a call from then- Brewers’ president Bud Selig, informing him that he was coming back to Milwaukee, in exchange for outfielder Dave May and a minor league player to be named later.

Aaron, though understandably groggy at the time, couldn’t have been happier with the news.

“When Bud Selig called me,” he said to the New York Times. “I was too sleepy to get all the details…All I know is that I’m happy to be going back home. This is the first time I’ve ever been traded. If I was being traded to a city like Chicago or Philadelphia, I’d frown on it. But I’m going back to Milwaukee… I’m going back home.”

Hank Aaron was born in Mobile, Ala., but his baseball home was in Wisconsin. He played the first 12 years of his career there with the Milwaukee Braves, before they relocated in 1966. After nine years of playing in Atlanta, his career was coming full-circle, as it would end in the same place it began.

But Aaron was a very different player in 1974 than he had been while playing in Milwaukee. He had certainly grown into one of the all-time greats – as he felled Babe Ruth’s home-run record that year and was in the process of setting modern records for RBI and total bases – but had also suffered from the wear and tear that comes with time. He recognized it, and had realistic expectations about the next, and final, stage of his career.

“I’m not even sure I can play next year,” he said to the New York Times, “with new pitchers, new towns, a whole new ball game for me. But it’s a tremendous challenge. It’s not like going back to West Palm Beach for Spring Training. But I’m going to do the best I can.”

Aaron would make the All-Star team again in 1975 – a remarkable feat at the age of 41 – and spent most of his last two years as a designated hitter and in left field. While his numbers dropped, those two years helped to cement his place in the baseball record-books, as he finished his career with 3,771 hits, 755 home runs, which still stands as the second most in major league history, 2,297 RBI and 6,856 total bases – two records that have yet to be broken.

He would accept a position as Vice President of the Atlanta Braves in 1976, overseeing player development and their farm system, transitioning into a role as one of the game’s great statesmen. His playing days were over, but Aaron had no qualms on how he finished his 23-year-long career.

“I guess this is the last press conferences, boys, but at least I’m going out a little better than Nixon did,” he joked with reporters in the era of Watergate. “I’m grateful for everything, though. No regrets. I didn’t get much recognition at the beginning, but when it did come, man, it came in waves. I’m totally fulfilled.”

Greg Maddux Jersey Braves

First of all, Greg Maddux is an Atlanta Brave.

I understand that he had some sentimental feelings towards Chicago because he started his career there, but we all know the truth. He won more Cy Young Awards, plus a championship with the Braves, plus he was part of the greatest starting rotation in baseball history with the Braves.

So sure, Maddux wanted his hat on his Cooperstown plaque to be neutral, but we don’t care. He’s a Brave. Maddux is so great that he could have worn anything he wanted to on his plaque. He could have worn a Toronto Maple Leafs beanie on his plaque. The man is Greg Maddux and he’s ours.

Greg Maddux was the best pitcher during a decade when offense was at its peak performance. As we know all too well, the 90’s were filled with bulked up steroid using offensive machines. Meanwhile Greg Maddux won more games during the 1990’s than any other pitcher in baseball.

Maddux is 8th on the career all-time wins list, but keep in mind the only guy with more wins than him during the post-1920 live ball era is Warren Spahn. For you young whippersnappers out there, the Dead Ball Era was before 1920, when the baseball was heavier and didn’t bounce as much. Therefore pitchers had a huge advantage… which is one of the reasons why Ty Cobb was so great.

Greg Maddux is the only guy to win at least 15 games for 17 straight seasons, and literally the only guy who could consistently outsmart Greg Maddux was Tony Gwynn. In 107 at bats against Maddux, Gwynn slashed .415/.476/.521. This is insanely impressive given how dominant Maddux was during his career, especially during the 90’s.

But since Tony Gwynn was the really only guy who could handle him, Maddux won four consecutive Cy Young Awards from 92-95 and had an ERA of 1.98 during those four years.
The Glove

When you think of pitchers, you often think of very one dimensional players. Fans and pitchers themselves seem to think this way. We often forget that the pitcher is a defensive position, and an important one at that. Greg Maddux never forgot this.

Greg Maddux won 18 Gold Glove Awards. I’ll let you get up and walk around and think about that for a minute. That’s the most Gold Gloves of any player ever. That’s more Glove Gloves than Willie Mays, Andruw Jones, Ken Griffey, Jr., Brooks Robinson, Ozzie Smith, Jim Edmonds, Omar Vizquel, the list goes on.

Greg Maddux won a Gold Glove Award every year from the time I was in second grade to when I was a freshman in college. The most dominant pitcher was also the best defensively. Its almost too good to be true. If you had the honor of watching Greg Maddux pitch, you saw that these GGs appeared to be freakishly intentional. He was a master at getting a batter to hit one right back at him.

When it came to making things happen just the way he wanted them to, Greg Maddux was a complete savage.

This one time Bobby Cox visited Maddux on the mound with runners on second and third and two outs. Bobby was worried about the situation, hence the mound visit, and wanted to calm Maddux down. Instead, Maddux calmed Bobby down. When Bobby suggested to Maddux that he intentionally walk the batter, Maddux explained to Bobby exactly what he planned to do.

Maddux told Bobby not to worry and laid out the sequence of his next three pitches. He told him that he’d get him to pop up foul to third base on the third pitch. Which is exactly what happened, bringing the inning to an end.

He once called in the outfield and told Otis Nixon to move back and to the left and to stand just on the edge of the warning track and to not move. Otis told reporters afterwards the he didn’t have to move his glove and was completely freaked out.

Besides Bob Feller, Maddux was perhaps the best at remembering everything. If Greg Maddux struck you out in April, he’d remember exactly how he struck you out once he saw you again in August or September. His memory was like a database.

Eddie Mathews Jersey Braves

One of the best third basemen in major league history,
Eddie Mathews
Eddie Mathews
Eddie Mathews played fifteen seasons with the Atlanta Braves, dominating the game with his fiery playing style, a powerful bat, remarkable speed, and a strong arm. Mathews was the only Brave and the only big leaguer in history to play for the same franchise in three different cities: Boston, Massachusetts; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; and Atlanta.
Born in Texarkana, Texas, on October 13, 1931, Mathews signed with the Boston Braves in 1949 on the night of his high school graduation in Santa Barbara, California, for $5,999. Turning down college football scholarships and more money from other big-league teams, Mathews chose to sign with the Braves after careful consideration (and advice from his father), knowing that he would soon have a job replacing the Braves’ aging third baseman, Bob Elliot.
Mathews spent his first two seasons in the minors, perfecting a swing that even baseball great Ty Cobb described as “perfect.” In 1950 the Korean War (1950-53) forced Mathews to leave the minors and enlist in the navy. He was soon released, however, because of his status as an only child and his father’s battle with tuberculosis.
Returning late in the 1951 season, Mathews played forty-nine games that year with minor-league clubs in Milwaukee and Atlanta—two cities that he would return to as a major-league sta
Eddie Mathews
Eddie Mathews
r. By 1952 Mathews claimed the starting role at third base for the Braves’ last season in Boston. During his second season Mathews accompanied the Braves in a move to Milwaukee and adjusted quite well to his new surroundings, taking the home run crown with forty-seven round trips. He became such a star in Milwaukee that Sports Illustrated placed him on its very first cover, on August 16, 1954.
His career reached its pinnacle in 1957, when the Braves won the World Series over the New York Yankees, and in 1958 the team captured one more National League pennant. By the 1960s his productivity began to decline, but he was still playing well enough to join the Braves in their final move to Atlanta in 1966.
Mathews’s final days with the Braves were not especially cordial. In 1967 the Braves traded him to the Houston Astros, even though he was only seven home runs shy of 500. Houston later traded him to the Detroit Tigers, who won the World Series in 1967, but he played sparsely as a pinch hitter and platoon first baseman. Mathews retired in Detroit, Michigan, in 1968.
A nine-time National League All-Star, Mathews ended his career with 512 home runs—the most of any third baseman in the history of the game until Mike Schmidt—and 1,453 runs batted in. In 1969 the Braves retired his number, 41, and two years later hired him as their first-base coach. Late in the 1972 season Mathews took the helm as manager of the Braves from Luman Harris, coaching only one full season before being fired in the 1974 season with an overall record of 149 wins and 161 losses. Appropriately, though, Mathews was still leading the team in 1974 as Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record.
In 1978 Eddie Mathews was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. After spending some years as a minor league scout and hitting coach with the Braves and the Oakland Athletics, Mathews returned to California and died in La Jolla on February 18, 2001. The Braves honored Mathews one last time by wearing his number on a patch on their jerseys throughout the 2001 season.

Deion Sanders Jersey Braves

Most people will never know the exhilaration of a major athletic achievement. Hell, the vast majority of the world won’t even be able to say they failed miserably in a high-stakes, professional sporting environment. Pro athletes are statistical anomalies, human beings capable of so much more than we can dare to dream of—which is why we remain fascinated by the dual-sport athlete. It’s hard enough to be elite at one discipline, let alone two.

Of the two-sport stars, Deion Sanders stands above them all. Unlike Bo Jackson and others, he did both on the same day.

On October 11, 1992, Sanders and the Atlanta Falcons played the Dolphins at Joe Robbie Stadium in Miami, and then he flew to Pittsburgh to be with the Atlanta Braves for their National League Championship Series game against the Pirates. It remains one of the most talked-about accomplishments in sports history, so when I got a chance to speak to Sanders, I had to ask him about 10/11/92.

“You’re really on to something. You don’t understand how brilliant you are,” he says in his classically self-assured cadence. He’s right about that.

Sanders tells me he’s working on a documentary about the day in question, a film he promises will expose the “mistakes that were made by various people who will be named.” The mistakes he’s referring to are the ones that involved his flying all the way to Pittsburgh (first on a helicopter to the airport and then a private jet to Pennsylvania) and suiting up for Game 5 against the Pirates, but not playing a single inning of baseball.

As with any notable sports memory, the legend ends up superseding the reality. Ask a random person on the street, and chances are good they will assume Deion played in both games. “It’s a huge misconception. A lot of people really got it wrong. A lot of prominent people with a microphone in their face, with a lot of power, really got it wrong,” he says.

It clearly irks Sanders that he didn’t get to step on the field at Three Rivers Stadium that night, as he admits much of his planned documentary will focus on who is responsible for his healthy scratch: “You have to ask yourself, ‘Why?’ There had to be something behind that.” He won’t say who because, master pitchman that he is, he’s saving the reveal for his movie. “I won’t disclose what was behind it, but it wasn’t on my behalf,” he says, shooting down the question in the classiest way possible.

Speculation abounds that then-Braves manager Bobby Cox was upset at Sanders for his decision to play both games that day, but attempts to reach Cox or other former Braves were unsuccessful.

The standard critique directed at Sanders by pundits at the time was that he wasn’t taking either game seriously enough to pick one, especially considering the Braves had a chance to clinch the National League pennant that night. To this day, Sanders is adamant that he took his responsibilities to both teams seriously: “Both of them were important. Both games were important. It’s a game. There’s fans. There’s teammates. There’s family. Everything. Every time you compete, it’s important.”

His voice gets a bit sterner as he drags out the hard feelings he still has from 1992. In his mind, the Braves’ playoff matchup wasn’t any more important than an early-season Falcons game, but was it worth not playing in Game 5 just so he could be in Miami? “You have an obligation,” he says. “Why wouldn’t your obligation be worth it?”

Knowing that any attempts to get Deion to open up would be squashed as though my queries were one of the three tackles he made in the Falcons-Dolphins game, I asked him who was working on his film with him. Anyone notable?

“It’s not like that. I’m not working with [Steven] Spielberg on it,” he responds, slightly narrowing the field of potential directors. “It’s gonna be something we’ll be proud of.” What Deion is most certainly proud of is his remarkable feat, even if it didn’t include a crucial at-bat or a stolen base, which the Braves could have used in the 7-1 drubbing they suffered at the hands of Barry Bonds and company.

The Braves went on to win the series in dramatic fashion thanks to Sid Bream’s iconic slide into home plate in the bottom of the ninth of Game 7. Sanders wouldn’t try to do both again, though the Braves and Falcons would play the same day again during the World Series. Rather than travel to San Francisco to play the 49ers on Oct. 18, Sanders started Game 2 in left field in Atlanta.

Here’s hoping Prime Time is planning to write and direct his documentary when that comes to fruition so he can do both one more time.

David Justice Jersey Braves

Atlanta Braves fans forgave David Justice for his outburst against the home folks _ after he hit the home run that brought the Braves and the city a World Series title.

Tom Glavine allowed only one hit in eight innings and Justice hit a home run in the sixth inning for a 1-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians and a 4-2 series triumph Saturday night.

Justice, who berated the Atlanta fans Friday for being too quiet, was booed when he batted in the second inning. But when he homered, all was forgiven.

After the game, Justice threw kisses to the cheering crowd.

“All I was trying to do was get them to prove me wrong, to just come out and show us the support I know they had in them,″ he said. “They proved me wrong. … They were the key factor tonight.″

Steve Elliott, 42, brought a sign that read: “Justice _ Rip Ball Not Fans.″

After Justice hit the game-winning homer, Elliott tore up the sign and gave Justice a standing ovation.

“He’s forgiven,″ he said. “He can say whatever he wants if he can win this game.″

Today, fans got a chance to cheer Justice and the other players again at a parade down Peachtree Street. The festivities also were to feature owner Ted Turner and wife Jane Fonda, president Stan Kasten, general manager John Schuerholz, manager Bobby Cox, the coaches, the club’s broadcasters and five marching bands.

To prevent a repeat of the 1991 Braves parade, when thousands of fans broke through police lines to touch the players who rode in convertibles, the players planned to ride this year atop fire trucks.

After making its way through downtown Atlanta and past City Hall, the procession was to end at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

Police beefed up security and lengthened the parade route in hopes of accommodating more fans and avoiding problems.

“There will be an extra contingency of officers to ensure the safe, efficient flow,″ Atlanta police Lt. Stan Savage said.

The 1991 parade followed Atlanta’s march from worst to first and its dramatic loss to the Minnesota Twins in seven games in the World Series.

This time, the fans had even more to celebrate.

Skip Caray, longtime voice of the Braves, described the feeling on radio after center fielder Marquis Grissom caught the final out off the bat of Carlos Baerga.

“Yes! Yes! Yes!″ Caray screamed. “The Atlanta Braves have given you a world championship!″

It was the first championship for Atlanta in any of its three major pro sports _ baseball, basketball and football. The NBA Hawks, the NFL Falcons and the Braves had been losers for a combined 84 seasons before Saturday night.

Saturday’s victory also brought with it an array of headlines in area newspapers.

The front page of Sunday’s edition of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said it boldly, but simply: “WORLD CHAMPS!″ On the newspaper’s front page of the sports section, the headline was: “AT LAST!″

The Savannah Morning News front page had a headline that said: “Finally.″ Its sports headline read: “On Chop of the World.″

The Birmingham News headline was: “Braves On Top Of the World.″

The Albany Herald’s front-page headline: “Justice Prevails, Braves 1-0.″

“This finally puts us out of Loserville status,″ said Keith Peck of Atlanta, waving his tomahawk as he watched Steve Avery run the bases and slide into home during the Braves’ celebration after the game.

Fans in the Buckhead section of Atlanta spilled from bars and restaurants and partied in the streets for three hours after the game.

“It wasn’t quite a Presbyterian revival,″ Atlanta police major Kenneth Green said, “but it was closer to that than a riot.″

At Underground Atlanta downtown, fans were jammed wall-to-wall while one man played the Braves’ war chant on a bamboo flute.

“Braves fans have been vindicated,″ Steve Carlisle of Atlanta said. “We wanted it more than the players. It’s what we deserve.″

Dale Murphy Jersey Braves

A lot of virtual ink has been scribbled into dozens of blog posts over the years about Atlanta Braves great Dale Murphy and his credentials — pro and con — for the Hall of Fame.

In truth, he’s one of those maddening borderline cases… the kind of player who is often used as a yardstick to determine whether somebody else merits inclusion based on whether he is at least better than Dale Murphy.Murph had his ballot years… 15 of them. Nowadays, candidate only get 10 years of ballot access. The writers had seemingly given up on him by 2013 – his last year – since he only garnered roughly 19% of the ballots.

That’s not close to the required 75%.

While he was on that ballot, here are the players who were elected to the Hall:

2013… nobody
2012… Barry Larkin
2011… Roberto Alomar and Bert Blyleven
2010… Andre Dawson
2009… Ricky Henderson and Jim Rice
2008… Goose Gossage
2007… Call Ripken and Tony Gwynn
2006… Bruce Sutter
2005… Wade Boggs and Ryan Sandberg
2004… Paul Molitor and Dennis Eckersley
2003… Eddie Murray and Gary Carter
2002… Ozzie Smith
2001… Dave Winfield and Kirby Puckett
2000… Carlton Fisk and Tony Perez
1999… Nolan Ryan, George Brett, and Robin Yount
>> In the six years prior to Murphy appearing on the ballot, only 5 players were elected!

Many players had to wait their turns as the writers were notably stingy with their ‘Aye’ votes in this era.

In fact, even though they enshrined 3 players in 1999, five other eventual Hall of Famers had to wait for later years to make their speeches. In 2002, there was a ‘backlog’ of six additional HOF players, yet only 1 – Ozzie Smith – was elected on that ballot.

So players like Murphy had to wait for a turn that never came.