Ted Turner’s career in baseball, marked with controversy but little on-field success, began with his 1976 purchase of the Braves, which kept the team in Atlanta. His creation of the first superstation, TBS, distributed Braves games to cable systems nationwide and propelled the Braves to a self-proclaimed position as America’s Team.
Turner attended (but did not graduate from) Brown University. While still in his twenties, he became an advertising and communications mogul in Georgia. He also purchased the NBA Atlanta Hawks and was a four-time Yachtsman of the Year. In 1977 he skippered Courageous to the America’s Cup.
Turner’s aggressive pursuit of Gary Matthews following the 1976 season led to his one-year suspension from baseball for tampering. A risk taker and showman, he put on a uniform in 1977 (during a short period when his suspension was lifted while it was appealed) and managed the Braves for one game, the last contest in a 17-game losing streak. Coach Vern Benson made the strategic moves that night. Turner was then ordered out of the dugout by NL president Chub Feeney. Turner has been a free spender with free agents, but his major purchases, Andy Messersmith and Bruce Sutter, had arm problems and proved to be busts.