1900 – 1952
The franchise that is now the Atlanta Braves, after a 13-year stopover in Milwaukee, is the longest continuously active club in baseball history. A charter member of the National Association, the first professional league, the team called itself the Boston Red Stockings because manager Harry Wright and three other members of the Cincinnati Red Stockings, baseball’s first pro team, were on the original club in 1871. They finished first four straight years (1872-75) and continued in the National League when that organization supplanted the NA in 1876.
Boston won eight NL pennants before the end of the 19th century, becoming known as the Beaneaters in the process. The 20th century wasn’t as kind to the team, which finally assumed the familiar Braves name. Boston did make history in 1914 when the “Miracle Braves” took less than two months to go from last to first in the second half of the season and proceeded to stun the Athletics in the World Series, becoming in the process the first team to successfully utilize platooning. Financial difficulties took their toll over the next thirty years, as the Braves finished over .500 only five times from 1917 through 1945, but contractor Lou Perini bought the franchise for 1946. With a turnover of personnel on the field and in the front office, the team won the NL pennant in 1948, but declining attendance resulted in the move to Milwaukee only five years later. Babe Ruth hit his final home runs in a Boston Braves uniform in 1935, and Casey Stengel managed the club during the lean years of the late 1930s and early 1940s.