Thursday, October 30, 2014




June 29-July1

The Atlanta Braves completed a three game sweep of the Dodgers at home on June 24th, thanks to fine starting pitching from Tony Brizzolara, Phil Niekro and Rick Matula. It was a rarity to sweep the Dodgers, but the two-time defending National League champions were fading a bit and the Braves took advantage.

But it was one thing for the Braves to sweep the Dodgers in Atlanta Stadium, but when they came to Los Angeles a week later, I wasn't expecting anything quite so satisfying, as Dodger Stadium had been a house of horrors for the Braves ever since I could remember.

But in the first game, The Braves were playing the Dodgers tough at 2-2 late in the game. Hits by Joe Nolan and Glen Hubbard loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth. Jerry Royster cracked a bases clearing double giving the Braves a 5-2 lead! Gene Garber came in and retired the last six Dodgers and the Braves took the first game out west.

Gene Garber
With Dodger ace Don Sutton going the next night, I wasn't that hopeful the streak could continue. But home runs by Jeff Burroughs and Bob Horner kept the Braves close. Then a second Burroughs homer put the Braves up by two and Gene Garber was called on to save it again in the ninth. But then the Dodgers began hitting again and Steve Garvey knocked in two runs sending the game into extra innings. It felt lost, but surprisingly, the Braves bats woke up with run scoring singles by Charlie Spikes, Pepe Frias and even Gene Garber! which put the Braves up by three. Garber nailed it down this time and the Braves had won two in a row.

They couldn't do it again. Could they?

Braves ace Phil Niekro was on the mound and he pitched the Dodgers well, but the Braves didn't do too much offensively either. It was 1-1 in the ninth when the Braves came through again when big hits from Pepe Frias and Charlie Spikes were followed by a Jerry Royster sacrifice fly and the Braves were ahead.

Jerry Royster

Could this really happen?

Joey McLaughlin came in to pitch the ninth and Joey made it interesting by loading the bases with two outs.

The final out fell into the glove of Rowland Office and I remember McLaughlin pounding his glove in victory and celebrating with his teammates.

Joey McLaughlin
The miracle at Chavez Ravine was complete.

In retrospect, it really was an off-year for the Dodgers. They finished four games under .500 before becoming the winning Dodgers again for the '80 season. 

But the Dodgers-Braves rivalry was starting to heat up and L. A. became their chief rival when the Braves contended in '82 and '83. Yes, contended. This was a word I didn't get to use for the 70's blog, but I do get to use it for the 80's blog (a little bit, anyway.)
And that's the end of  the 1970's and the end of this blog for this year. At the beginning of the 2015 baseball season I will look at my favorite Braves players of the 80's. Hope to see you then...

As I typed the previous sentence, I reconsidered stopping here. I honestly thought I was finished with the 70's part of this blog, but as I was going through the list of players, with the help of baseball, I noticed the thing I enjoyed the most was not so much going through the better known players, but trying to sift out the positives and trying hard to remember the lesser known ones. Of course I remember Hank Aaron and Phil Niekro, but how much do I remember about Mike Thompson or Jim Wessinger? So I've really started to wonder about the players I left out. I'll take a look...

...I looked back and counted fifty players not on my original list that played for the Braves at some point between 1970-1979. To make a long story short, I've decided to list them too. I'll be back with the remaining fifty in a couple of days. Keep those cards and letters coming!


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