With the baseball season starting, we've been able to find the time to make a few changes to the the Boston Braves Historical Association (BBHA) Website.
Among the changes is this new page where you can find about what's happening in the coming weeks and months with the BBHA. We've also updated the newsletter page to post the last two newsletters. We have fixed the broken links on the uniform and daily results pages. If there are any other broken links, please feel free to drop us a line at email@example.com
The Association would like to offer a special thanks to Stuart Tobias and Frank D'Amico both of whom have graciously donated their collected Braves memorabilia. Their collection will be kept safely and be available for any members to see. Thanks again!
Don't forget to like us on Facebook! Every day there's a lot of great give-and-take amongst Boston Braves fans and there are a few great weekly questions that really gets the conversations started. Tell your friends and join in on the fun.
The street leading to the Braves administration building and main gate was once name for James Gaffney. It currently bears the name of Harry Agganis whose statue resides at the street entrance. You might be interested in a recent documentary produced about the Sox first baseman whose life ended tragically.
The Fall 2012 Baseball Research Journal features a story by Bob Ruzzo entitled "Braves Field: An Imperfect History of the Perfect Ballpark." The Journal is published by The Society for American Baseball Research and is distributed by the University of Nebraska Press.
By following this link to The Jimmy Fund, you can hear the May 22, 1948 broadcast of the Truth or Consequences radio show that took place at Boston's Children's Hospital and that led to the creation of the famous fund. Ralph Edwards (the MC), Jimmy and several members of the Boston Braves are featured. Thanks to the Jimmy Fund.
Boston Braves signee and 1951-52 farmhand John Goryl, 79, is honored with the Mike Coolbaugh Award for outstanding baseball work ethic, knowledge of the game and skill in mentoring young players on the field. Goryl, who played for the Cubs and Twins and managed Minnesota, currently is an adviser to the Cleveland Indians player development department. The award is named after after Mike Coolbaugh who was killed after being struck in the neck by a line drive while coaching for Colorado's Tulsa affiliate. Thanks to ClevelandIndians.com.
The biography that appeared in the fall 2012 BBHA newsletter of 1945 Boston Braves "mystery" player Joe Tracy has been accepted into the on-line Society for American Baseball Research Baseball Biography Project. Thanks to SABR.
The 12/3/12 issue of Sports Illustrated contains an interesting article, "Tinkers to Evers to Chance ..... to Me," about Johnny Evers, written by Tim Layden, a great-nephew. Thanks to Sports Illustrated.com.
The Braves acquired Tommy Holmes from the Yankees. While Tommy never appeared in an official game for the Yanks, he was around long enough to be photographed in their attire:.
BBHA member Herb Crehan has just launched a new website of interest to the membership. It's called BostonBaseballHistory.com and will contain features on Boston's American and National League franchises.The inaugural website posting contains an article on a fantasy Boston Braves Heritage Trail. One highlighted spot on the trail that you won't be able to visit at the moment is the Braves Field Way sign midway down on Harry Agganis Way (formerly Gaffney Street). Not only has the sign disappeared but also the pole that it was on. The BBHA is pursuing this matter with Boston University and the City of Boston. The Braves Field Way sign on Babcock Street remains in place -- at least for the time being! Maybe we'll see the sign and pole offered on auction on eBay!
Worth a revisit -- the Boston Public Library's collection of photographs taken at Braves Field.
James Aloysius Robert "Bob" Quinn was a part owner and president of the Boston Braves from 1936-45. His son John would become the Tribe's general manager and later generations would achieve baseball fame in the front office. Links here provide access to a biography and to a discussion of Quinn's role in the development of baseball's a farm system structure. Thanks to SABR.
The Boston Baseball History website now features a story, "The Sad Last Spring of Boston's Braves," written by BBHA newsletter editor Bob Brady.
Once again, the Gibson House Museum in Boston is celebrating Opening Day with a special program, "Boston Baseball: Early Games and Legendary Players." The event will take place on Monday, April 29, 2013 at its 137 Beacon Street location. A reception starts at 5:30 p.m. followed by the program at 6:30 p.m. Discounted tickets may be obtained by BBHA members ($10 versus $20 at the door). Visit their site for further information.
We mourn the passing on March 7 of 1943, 1947-48 Boston Braves right-handed pitcher Ray Martin. Funeral arrangement may be found here. Ray was a great friend of the Association and participated in several of our reunions. His death leaves only 3 survivors of the 1948 NL Champions -- Johnny Antonelli, Clint Conatser and Al Dark. Ray was the last survivor of the 1943 and 1947 Tribe squads. A more complete obituary will appear in the next hardcopy edition of the BBHA Newsletter.
It is my sad duty to pass along to you news of the recent death of former Boston Brave Robert "Ducky" Detweiler. Although Ducky only briefly played for the Boston Braves in 1942 and 1946, he was a cherished member of our Braves Family. He and his family have been very generous supporters of the BBHA and true "Royal Rooters." We were fortunate to have been graced with Ducky's presence at a couple of our reunions. I hope that some of you had an opportunity to chat with him and obtain his autograph. Our deepest sympathies are extended to his family. A tribute to Ducky will appear in the next BBHA newsletter. His obituary may be found here. For more on his life, visit this site. Thanks to Baseball in Wartime.
Here's a link to a home movie that provides a rare color glimpse of Braves Field action in 1948. Fast forward to the five-minute mark in this home movie to see the Braves Field portion. You should be able to make out close-up shots of Johnny Sain and Tommy Holmes. While dark, there's a brief glimpse of the Troubadours in the clip. The outfield wall and scoreboard are in glorious color. You'll also see some locomotive smoke from the rail yard about to drift into the Wigwam. My research leads me to conclude that the clip was taken on September 15, 1948 at a game vs. the Chicago Cubs. The key is uniform #44 on the visitor's first baseman. That number belonged to Phil Cavaretta of the Cubs in '48.
The box score and play-by-play can be found here.
Here's a link to a rare film clip of an in-season exhibition game between the Jamestown Falcons and the Boston Braves on July 7, 1942.
Nearly 97, Mike
Sandlock is the oldest living member of the Dodgers, Pirates,
Phillies and Boston Braves. He was recently honored at Citi
Field in New York.
He was featured in a three-part series of articles in 2010:
The summer edition of the hard copy BBHA newsletter featured a tale about a smashed in door at Braves Field that followed a rhubarb involving an umpire's call against the Dodgers during a critical September 1951 ballgame at Braves Field. This link provides a number of Life magazine photos taken during that game.
Despite informing this eBay seller that the photo he's offering is NOT of Tommy Holmes of the Boston Braves but of Tommy Holmes, the sportswriter of the Brooklyn Eagle, the seller persists in this misrepresentation. The back of the photo, as shown on eBay even has the notation of "writer" on it. Fortunately, this item has failed to sell after being posted on a number of occasions. Let's hope that a novice Boston Braves collector doesn't mistakenly purchase this item.
R.I.P. Johnny Pesky (1919-2012). Although a member of Boston's "other team," Johnny was welcomed to and warmly received at our reunions on a number of occasions, the last being an autograph signing of his book. One favorite photographic memory of Johnny that we recall is a picture of him with his hat askew emerging from a Billy Hitchcock-Earl Torgeson tiff during an April 16, 1948 City Series contest at Braves Field. Here's an update to our story in the Summer edition of the BBHA newsletter on Warren Spahn's Florida "cottage". Thanks to the Herald Tribune.
Author Tom Whelan put together a recent baseball symposium at Boston University that included a tour of Braves Field by BBHA resident expert Ralph Evans entitled: The South End Grounds -- The Most Beautiful Ballpark Ever? Take an interactive tour of the South End Grounds at the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Thanks to Sports Collector Digest.
Former Boston Braves broadcaster and BBHA member Leo Egan has been posthumously inducted into the Massachusetts Broadcasters Hall of Fame.
That reminds us of the National Baseball Hall of Fame's continued slighting of Ken Coleman in not inducting him into the broadcasting wing at the Hall despite qualifications equal to or exceeding past recipients and current candidates.
June 2012: Thanks again to Bob Brady for the links.
A Florida Historical Society is attempting to save Warren Spahn's spring training cottage residence during his time in Bradenton, Fl. Here's a link with a video version of the story. See also.Thanks to Bay News 9.
Did you know that there's a song entitled "Bob Elliot [sic], Tommy Holmes, Sibby Sisti"? Follow this link to find the album that includes this tune. You can listen to a clip of it here. Thanks to Cooperstown Music.
Here's a CBS news interview with BBHA member and baseball film archivist Doak Ewing. Doak has preserved Boston Braves promotional films among many others. Our appreciation to CBSNews.com for the link.
We've finally heard from the Red Sox regarding the location of our three commemorative paver bricks. The site locator map can be found here.
bricks are at the following locations:
If your travels take you to Fenway Park, please visit our memorials.
Al Veigel, a right-handed pitcher for the 1939 Boston Bees passed away at age 95 on April 8.
Check out these cool pics of some Braves uniforms from the 1930s, 40s and 50s. Thanks to Dave Grob.
March 2012: Tip o' the cap to Bob Brady and Saul Wisnia for the links!
As the longest continuously operated professional baseball franchise, the Boston Braves can trace their roots back to the Victorian era. The BBHA has had discussions with representatives of Boston's Gibson House Museum about their desire to run an "Opening Day" event featuring 19th Century baseball in Boston including the Braves' ancestors. The presentation will be conducted by the Gibson House and is not intended to be a BBHA reunion. The Gibson House has generously offered a reduced ticket rate for BBHA members. Below is the basic information. Click here for the PDF version.
Please contact the Gibson House or call 617/267-6338 directly with any questions or to obtain tickets.
Longtime BBHA member Herb Crehan offers a course on Boston baseball. Let's hope that the writer of this article takes it and learns that the Braves, not the Red Sox, trace their history back to 1871! Thanks to Dover-Sherborne Press.
From time-to-time we link to the Boston Public Library's baseball photograph collection on Flickr. Here is another batch of pics. This group of pictures were first brought to our attention from the UniWatch blog.
February 2012: Once agian, thanks to Bob Brady for this round of links!
The BBHA is expanding our web presence and can be found on Facebook now. Either do a search for the Boston Braves Historical Association or click here. We'll update the Facebook page with pictures, BBHA news and connect with fellow Boston Braves fans by writing a message on our home page.
If you have a spare moment, please revisit this film clip on the Braves that features George Altison and Adacie Fox Allen.
November 2011: Thanks to Bob Brady for the links!
This season, Florida Marlins relief pitcher Chris Hatcher became the first ex-catcher to return to the big leagues as a pitcher since the Boston Bees' Art Doll accomplished the feat in 1936. Thanks to The Palm Beach Post.
Page through this Flickr album of photographer Leslie Jones shots of old-time baseball in Boston.
There are many Braves and Braves Field pictures to enjoy! Once again BBHA board member Mort Bloomberg has found a website that should be of great interest to Boston Braves fans. includes on-screen batter by batter replays of all regular season Braves games from April 18, 1950 to September 28, 1952 -- some 466 games in all. In addition, you can replay all of the 1914 and 1948 World Series contests. For a sample, click here. Select a game and sit back as it unfolds before you on your computer screen. Thanks, Mort!!
Check out the Braves Uniforms from the 1930s on this flickr page.
June 2011 Update: Thanks again to Bob Brady for providing these links!
The Boston Braves actively recruited ballplayers from the Negro Leagues. However, some never made it to the majors. Stanley "Doc" Glenn is a case in point and the subject of this interesting piece. Thanks to Seamheads.
Speaking of the Babe, here's a late newsreel of the former Brave vs. Carl Hubbell. You can get a nice view of Braves Field if you look close enough.
We're pleased to announce that a large Boston Braves memorial paver brick will be placed at Fenway Park before Opening Day 2012 as part of the ballpark's 100th anniversary celebration. This expensive undertaking will be funded by the BBHA and details on how members may contribute to the brick fund will be posted in the summer edition of the hard copy newsletter. The Braves played some regular season games at Fenway while awaiting the opening of Braves Field as well as the 1914 World Series. After the "wet paint" incident in 1946, the Braves shifted to Fenway while the Wigwam seats dried. With this memorial, three of the four sites in Boston where the Braves played will have been commemorated. Braves Field has a plaque behind the administration building as well as the BBHA-sponsored effort to name the adjacent alley "Braves Field Way." The Congress Street Grounds are memorialized by a plaque in the Ruggles Station on the MBTA's Orange Line. Only the Congress Street Grounds lack any signage.
February 2011 Update: Happy belated New Year. Thanks again to Bob Brady for providing these links!
Sadly, the past several weeks have brought news of the passing of ballplayers with a link to the BBHA. We were privileged to have Bob Feller attend our 50th Anniversary reunion of the 1948 World Series between his Indians and our Braves. He was a wonderful guest and many members were able to engage in lively conversations with him. One highlight was the viewing of the '48 World Series film and hearing Bob's reaction to the infamous Masi pick-off play. Bob loudly proclaimed Phil out and pictures seem to be on his side.
Former Red Sox first baseman Walt Dropo attended a number of our festivities and was present at the NE Sports Museum's 40th anniversary festivities for our NL champs in 1998 from which the BBHA was born. Dropo claimed Rookie of the Year honors in the American League the same year that the Braves' Sam Jethroe received the like award in the National League -- a coincidence that will never be repeated. "Moose" avoided the spotlight whenever he joined us but was very approachable and willing to share memories and give autographs.
Phil Cavaretta's death closed out a chapter of Boston Braves history. Phil was the last living opponent to play against Babe Ruth. The event occurred during the Bambino's final days as an active player with the Boston Braves. Phil was approaching his 19th birthday on May 12, 1935 when the rookie and his Chicago Cubs played the Boston Braves at Braves Field. The Braves lost 4-1. Ruth went hitless and Cavaretta had one hit in four at bats.
We received this sad news from Cristal Morris, the third cousin of former Brave, Roy Hartsfield.
"This email is to inform you of the passing of Roy T. Hartsfield.He played with the Boston Braves from 1950 to 1953. Mr. Hartsfield passed away from complications of an illness yesterday, January 15th. a little after 2p.m. He was an amazing person with a loving nature and a caring heart. The attached is an image of Roy, his first cousin and my grandmother, Inona, and myself. The picture was takeen a couple of years ago at his home in Ellijay, GA."
The recent deaths of Roy Hartsfield and George Crowe have reduced the ranks of living former Boston Braves to 29.
November 2010 Update: For those of you who are getting the BBHA eNewsletter, some of these links may be old news, but for those of you who don't, check back every few weeks for a new round of updates. Thanks again to Bob Brady for providing these links!
Mike Balas (1938) and Steve Kuczek (1949) had one-game major league careers and both accomplish it with the Boston Braves. Despite their limited time in the big leagues, Balas and Kuczek have full biographies at this site. From the Baseball Bigoraphy Project of SABR.
A couple of nice photos and storeis from the UniWatch Blog. Here's Casey showing the squad how to bunt. Here's a fun article about what happened to the old Braves scoreboard. A nice shot of a vintage Braves sweater. And a terrific article on the Braves' move from Boston. Blogger Paul Lucas updates the site every day, check it out.
This is the time of year to start looking for a 2011 calendar. The National Baseball Hall of Fame Cooperstown Collection calendar features a couple of monthly photographic collages that might be of interest to BBHA members. January's portrait is dedicated to "Three City" Brave Eddie Mathews. June's picture is a tribute to the Boston-Milwaukee-Atlanta Braves. The photographic displays are "keepers" even after the year ends. The other months are in similar formats. The calendar carries a suggested price of $13.99 (as sold at Borders) but I purchased mine for $2.99 at Building 19 in Weymouth, MA.
September 2010 Update: For those of you who are getting the BBHA eNewsletter, some of these links may be old news, but for those of you who don't, check back every few weeks for a new round of updates. Thanks to Bob Brady for providing these links!
Here's an interesting article on the '59 White Sox and the former Boston Braves that comprised its brain trust -- Manager Al Lopez and coaches Ray Berres, Tony Cuccinello and Johnny Cooney. Thanks to BaseballAnalysts.com
The BioProject Committee of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) has just issued its latest newsletter, Baseball Lives, and this electronic publication contains kind words about the effort we extended on Spahn, Sain and Teddy Ballgame as well as an acknowledgement of the efforts of Bob Joel to produce an anniversary team book on the 1914 Miracle Braves. Also of note is a tribute to Len Levin. In addition to his direction of the Lajoie/Start Southern New England Chapter of SABR, Len is a longstanding member of the BBHA. As an Associate Editor of Spahn, Sain and Teddy Ballgame, Len assured that a quality publication was produced. Read about it here. Check out SABR here.
We're saddened to learn of the passing of Carl Johnson. Carl was the brother of Boston Braves pitcher Art "Lefty" Johnson and, himself, had signed a contract with the Braves. Carl was a longstanding supporter of the BBHA and a frequent reunion attendee. Thanks to Fosters.com.
June 2009 Update: The BBHA has some sad news to report, George Altison the founder of the Boston Braves Historical Association passed away on Friday June 19, 2009. Here is an official statement from the BBHA:
"It is with the deepest of regrets that we announce the unexpected passing of George Altison on Friday, June 19, 2009. George held the title of BBHA business manager but was much more than that. He was a founder and the heart and soul of the organization as well as one of the greatest fans of the Boston Braves. He almost single-handedly ran all of the Association's operations, including those memorable reunions that we hope many of you had the opportunity to attend. First and foremost he was a loving husband, father and grandfather and we extend our deepest sympathies to his family. Thank you George for all of your work preserving the memory of your beloved Boston Braves. You succeeded in your mission beyond any reasonable expectation. You have provided us with many fond baseball memories and you will always be in our thoughts. May you now be reunited with Tommy, Sibby, Spahnie and the rest of your heroes in an eternity where Braves Field serves as your Field of Dreams. The Executive Committee of the Boston Braves Historical Association"
We will all miss George very much.
Above is a shot of George and former Brave Sam "Jet" Jethroe.
From the June 23, 2009 BOSTON GLOBE, by Marvin Pave
As a 10-year-old Boston Braves baseball fan and loyal member of the team’s “Knothole Gang,’’ George Altison paid 50 cents in annual dues for admission to the left field pavilion at Braves Field, two blocks from his home in Allston.
He rarely missed a game. But while stationed with the Air Force in Okinawa in 1953, Mr. Altison received bad news in a letter from his father, Peter, who owned The New Park Vale Café near Braves Field. George’s beloved Braves were moving to Milwaukee because of poor attendance. “I couldn’t believe it,’’ Mr. Altison recalled in a 1997 interview with the Globe. “To us fans, that was tough. Teams just didn’t move back then. I felt like an orphan because I had no team.’’
But Mr. Altison made sure the Braves - whose cousins twice removed, the Atlanta Braves, played the Red Sox at Fenway Park over the weekend - were not forgotten. The longtime Marlborough resident cofounded the Boston Braves Historical Association in 1992 and was a prime mover in arranging annual Braves reunions in Boston and Brookline and establishing the Boston Braves Hall of Fame.
Mr. Altison, who served as the association’s business manager and was its link to former Braves players and team officials, died Friday at his home from complications of pneumonia. He was 79.
“George was the keeper of the Braves flame,’’ New England Sports Museum curator Richard Johnson said in a 2003 Globe story. “Citizen Kane had his sled, and George has his Boston Braves.’’
After the museum hosted a Braves reunion in 1988, Mr. Altison helped organize a group of former Braves fans that started the Boston Braves Historical Association, now comprising more than 500 members, many living outside New England and some in other countries. In addition to its annual meeting and player reunions - including Braves fan favorites from the 1940s and 1950s such as the late Johnny Sain, Warren Spahn, Sibby Sisti, Sam Jethroe, and Tommy Holmes - the group publishes a newsletter, contributes to a baseball website, and sponsors research publications. It also conducts tours of the site of Braves Field - now Boston University’s Nickerson Field - where Mr. Altison worked shortly after graduation from Brighton High School for the concessionaire, Harry M. Stevens.
It was Mr. Altison’s entrée to the 1948 World Series, which the National League champion Braves lost to the American League pennant-winning Cleveland Indians in six games. “Very few people are lucky enough to befriend their childhood heroes. Even fewer can lay claim to keeping that memory alive for others, and that’s George’s legacy,’’ said Saul Wisnia, association executive board member and the co-master of ceremonies at Braves reunions with former Red Sox manager Joe Morgan.
Morgan, who was signed by the Boston Braves in 1952 and played briefly with the Milwaukee Braves, described Mr. Altison as a quiet individual who worked tirelessly behind the scenes arranging travel for former Braves players to the reunions. “It’s safe to say there would be no Boston Braves Historical Association if not for George,’’ said Morgan.
Bob Brady, the association’s newsletter editor, said Mr. Altison was the “heart and soul of the association. He almost single-handedly preserved the memory of the Boston Braves. He cannot be replaced.’’
Brady said Mr. Altison had a special place in his heart for Holmes, the popular right fielder, and Sisti, the team’s "super-sub,’’ who were among the first inductees to the Boston Braves Hall of Fame in 1993. At the 1994 reunion at Boston University’s Jacob Sleeper Auditorium, Mr. Altison arranged for Sal Barbato, a trumpeter with the “Troubadors,’’ a fans’ band that entertained at Braves Field, to play Holmes’s theme song, "Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly?’’ which was Holmes’s nickname.
“The music brought tears to Holmes’s eyes,’’ Brady recalled.
Mr. Altison’s kindness to former Braves also was evident when he led an association fund-raising drive to support center fielder Jethroe, who had fallen on hard financial times after his house burned down. “He helped get Sam back on his feet,’’ said Brady.
Mr. Altison, whose personal memorabilia included photos of Braves players in leather-bound binders, kept a list of all living former Braves players, now numbering 34. He was an important and always willing resource for media members or researchers seeking interviews with the players or their families.
“I can remember the first thing George would do when we met at the corner store was getting the newspaper and seeing how the Atlanta Braves were doing,’’ said his former next door neighbor in Marlborough, John Rowe. “Long after the Braves left Boston, he still rooted for them.’’
Mr. Altison, who retired as an electrical supervisor in 1985 after a 30-year career with Raytheon Corp., was a coach of youth baseball teams in Marlborough, where he resided for more than 50 years. He leaves his wife, Christine (Sidoti); two sons, Brian of Holden and John of Hubbardston; a daughter, Dian McGovern of Marlborough; and three grandchildren.