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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Also make sure to check out the portraits of Braves stars by artist Ronnie Joyner in the "Ronnie Joyner Portrait Gallery". Joyner's art can be seen in publications like the Sports Collector's Digest and is happy to be working with the BBHA. "I am very excited to finally get together with the Boston Braves Historical Association," he told us in the Summer 2006 newsletter. "I was very honored to be asked to contribute a drawing of Sibby Sisti and I hope I can do more in the future."
Joyner makes his home in Charlotte Hall, MD and can be reached 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!
November 2011: Thanks to Bob Brady for the links!
Lou Lucier, the oldest living member of the Boston Red Sox at age 93, got his start in professional baseball in the Boston Braves minor league chain (1937 Beaver Falls Bees of the Pennsylvania State Association): Thanks to MetroWest Daily.
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 Public Library has just published on flickr a number of photographer Leslie Jone's baseball pictures of Boston Braves and Red Sox players. Hopefully more will follow from this vast collection.
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.
The BBHA received a note from Rob Ginocchio, Director of the Springfield, MO Metro Baseball League: I run a youth baseball league in Springfield, MO for kids 8 to 18. We play in a vacated semi-pro stadium and serve about 150 to 200 kids each summer and fall. This year we are doing the entire league in a throwback to the 1950's and 1960's and will field a Boston Braves team in our 18 & under Senior division. There they will spend the summer competing with the St. Louis Browns, New York Yankees, Brooklyn Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, and others. We have made some mock up uniforms along with wearing the official American Needle caps and it should be a great summer for old time baseball fans. All our games are FREE with the exception of our Opening Ceremonies where we are bringing in a number of former MLB players. I have a page on our baseball website that links to other baseball history sites including fan clubs of the Browns, Milwaukee Braves, Colt 45's and the like. I would like to add a link to your site if you are okay with it. [Editor: We were okay with it] I also hope you will make mention of the league to your visitors in case they are in the Springfield/Branson area during the summer and want to visit. Their website is here .
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!
Were the seeds of the Braves' eventual departure from Boston sewn during the reign of Arthur Soden (1877-1906)? According to this blogger, that might have been the case. Note that this person's opinion is at variance with some other authorities of the National Pastime who possess a much more positive view of Soden's baseball reputation. Thanks to Uncle Mike's Musings.
We mourn the loss of another former Boston Braves player, Steve Kuczek. Kuczek passed away at age 85 on November 21. He's best remembered for his 1.000 batting average, the result of his hitting a double against the Dodgers' Don Newcombe in his only official major league at bat. You can read more about him here. Thanks to the folks at the Baseball Biography Project at SABR.
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.
Here's a link to a very early photo of a young Rabbit Maranville playing for his first professional team, the New Bedford Whalers circa 1911-12.
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.
Pitcher George Estock's recent death leaves us with 32 surviving members of the Boston Braves. Look for the obituary on Legacy.com.
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.
The late famed broadcaster Ken Coleman received a local honor. Ken was a long-time member of the BBHA and graciously served as master of ceremonies at our annual reunions until his untimely passing. Thanks to the PatriotLedger.com.
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.
July 2010 Update: It's been a long time since we updated the site, but we have a new newsletter on our newsletter page for you to check out.
Also the BBHA was in the news recently when the BBHA purchased a brick at Turner Field (home of the Atlanta Braves) for former Association President George Altison. Read the Boston Globe story and you'll find out why George was one of the great ones.
October 2009 Update: As one can probably guess because of the passing of our President George Altison, the BBHA is in a state of transition right now. Therefore there will not be any reunion this year. We hope to do it again next year.
However, this does not mean that the BBHA lacks for news. The grandsons of Boston put up a good fight to make the post season, but fell just a few games short to the Colorado Rockies.
* If you happen to pick up USA Today's Sports Weekly for the week beginning September 23, you may have noticed that there was a familiar picture accompanying a story on all-time great MLB comebacks. Writer Robert Kimball got some help with some research and the team picture of the 1914 Miracle Braves. Unfortunately Sports Weekly is a paid site, so we can't link to it. But it may still be on the newstand, so run out and grab it!
* Also our contact address has changed. You can reach us at:
Braves Historical Association
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.
A funeral service will be held at noon on June 24at the John P. Rowe Funeral Home in Marlborough. Burial with full military honors will be in Evergreen Cemetery in Marlborough.
From the June 24, 2009 BOSTON HERALD, by Saul Wisnia
Last Friday night, the Atlanta Braves whipped the Red Sox [team stats], 8-2, at Fenway Park [map]. Nobody would have relished the moment more than George Altison, who had died the same evening. As a Brighton native and longtime Marlboro resident, Altison, who was 79, didn’t have anything against the Sox. But his heart always was with the Braves - the Boston Braves. The National League team he rooted for as a kid left town (for Milwaukee) because of sagging attendance and mounting debts in March 1953, while Altison was stationed in Okinawa with the Air Force.
He couldn’t know it at the time, but he would wind up doing more than probably any other individual to rekindle - and preserve - memories of the Braves, who called Boston home from the NL’s maiden season of 1876 through 1952. Altison was co-founder and business manager of the Boston Braves Historical Association (BBHA), which held annual reunions starting in 1992 for the club’s ballplayers and fans. A retired electrical supervisor for Raytheon who operated the BBHA on a shoestring budget, he built membership to more than 500 from Maine to California and even other countries.
“This wasn’t just a banquet, it was like bringing back family every year,” said Gene Conley, who pitched for the Braves in Boston and Milwaukee and attended the reunions. “George was such a sweet guy. You always wanted to come even if you weren’t feeling up to it.”
“It got tougher every year, as guys got older or passed away, but George kept the tradition alive,” said Walpole native and former Red Sox manager Joe Morgan, who was signed by his hometown Braves out of Boston College in 1952.
Running the group gave Altison, who grew up just two blocks from Braves Field, a chance to honor and befriend his boyhood heroes. As a kid he was able to attend countless games at the old ballpark through the team’s Knothole Gang, and he spent the summer after his graduation from Brighton High in 1948 working there for concessionaire Harry M. Stevens. Altison’s timing couldn’t have been better, as the Braves won the 1948 NL pennant.
Altison leaves his wife of 55 years, Christine (Sidoti); two sons, Brian of Holden and John of Hubbardston; a daughter, Dian McGovern of Marlboro; and three grandchildren. A funeral service will be held at noon today (June 24) at the John P. Rowe Funeral Home in Marlboro, followed by burial with full military honors at the town’s Evergreen Cemetery.
Saul Wisnia is on the executive board of the Boston Braves Historical Association (P.O. Box 5668, Marlboro, MA 01752) and senior publications editor at Dana-Farber, whose Jimmy Fund charity the Braves helped establish in 1948. The Altison family requests that gifts in George’s memory be made to the Jimmy Fund .
George's obituary also ran in the METRO WEST DAILY NEWS:
MARLBOROUGH George P. Altison, Boston Braves Historian ,79,of Marlborough died Friday (June 19,2009) at home after being stricken ill.
He leaves his wife of 55 years Christine L. (Sidoti) Altison. His children Brian Altison and his companion Sandy Calocci of Holden, John Altison and his wife Colleen of Hubbardston and Dian McGovern and her husband James of Marlborough. Also leaves three grandchildren Alysha and Gina McGovern and Jack Altison. He was the father of the late George P. Altison Jr.
He was born in New Britain, CT, son of the late Peter and Theano (Asvestas) Altison and moved to Marlborough over 50 years ago. He was a graduate of Brighton High School, while attending school he worked in his parents restaurant The New Park Vale Cafe and upon graduation from school he then enlisted in the United States Air Force and served 4 years during the Korean War.
Mr Altison grew up in Allston, in the early 1940s, just a short walk from Braves field. As a kid he was a member of the Knot Hole Gang with the Boston Braves. This was just the beginning of his passion as a diehard fan of the Boston Braves. He took a job at Braves field, known today as Boston Universitys Nickerson Field, just so he could watch the games. He worked at Raytheon Corp.-Wayland Division for over 30 years as an Electrical Supervisor, retiring in 1985. He enjoyed his retirement with his family and keeping the tradition of the Boston Braves as a lasting memory for all the fans.
When in 1993 he helped the Boston Braves Historical Association (www.boston-braves.com) where he served as the organizations business manager. It gave George great pleasure to keep the memories of the Braves years in Boston with annual reunions with players and fans. He was a member of the V.F.W. and the Greater Boston Sports Clu. He also Past President and member of the board of directors of the Marlbo Little League and Pony League., where he coached.
Funeral services will be held at noon time Wednesday (June 24,2009) in the John P. Rowe Funeral Home Inc., 57 Main St., Marlborough, Burial with military honors will follow in Evergreen Cemetery, Marlborough. Calling hours prior to services on Wednesday from 9:30 A.M. til noon.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to either the Dana-Farber's Jimmy Fund Tribute Program,1 Harvard St., Brookline, MA 02146 or to Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome Association, P.O.Box 502, 99 Cherry St., Milford,CT 06460.
November 2008 Update: Members of the Boston Braves Historical Association were recently interviewed by the New England Cable News (NECN) station. To read AND see what was said, please click here.
If any members have pictures or stories from the last Dinner/Reunion, please email them to web master of the site and we will post them here for all to see.
September 2008 Update: Don't forget the social event of the season! The BBHA will be holding their 17th Annual Dinner/Reunion on Sunday, October 12, 2008 at the Holiday Inn, 1200 Beacon St. in Brookline , MA. The dinner begins at 1:00 pm, but an educational tour of the grounds of Braves Field begins at 11:30 am with Ralph Evans.
This year's Masters of Ceremonies will be Saul Wisnia and Joe Morgan. And the day's tenative lineup includes: Gene Conley, Clint Conatser, Roy Hartsfield, Johnny Logan, Norm Roy and others. Tickets will be on sale until October 5. Make a check for $48 and send to:
Braves Historical Association
April 2008 Update: We've had a lot of email regarding the death of Brave Tommy Holmes. Among the tributes coming into this address was from former Dodgers General Manager Fred Claire. Fred wrote the following for MLB.com, but allowed us to reprint his recollections on this site:
Legacy One of Excellence, Joy
I never saw Tommy Holmes play in person, but I must have seen him swing the bat on film a thousand times.
That's because he is part of one of my early memories of the game of baseball. Holmes was a starting outfielder for the Boston Braves in 1948, the year they met the Cleveland Indians in the World Series. I can tell you all about the 1948 World Series and the players who participated. When you are 12 years old and form a partnership with your 14-year-old brother to buy an 8 mm World Series film and then watch it almost daily until the film practically falls apart due to use, the images sink into your memory bank. I suppose that's why Holmes and others who played in that World Series will always be somewhat young and vibrant in my mind.
And that's the reason I was somewhat taken aback this week when the news arrived that Holmes had died at the age of 91 at an assisted-living facility in Florida.
A quote from Jeff Wilpon, the chief operating officer of the New York Mets, caught my attention. "Tommy Holmes was one of our sport's truest gentlemen," said Wilpon. "His passion for the game and up-and-coming players, along with his 30-year association with our franchise, was unsurpassed."
I was pleased to see Wilpon's quote but, very frankly, I didn't realize Holmes had been involved with the Mets for so many years. I started to do some research on Holmes to see what else I had missed about the career and life of a man who had played so many decades ago.
The key points of his career were carried in the obituaries of the major newspapers. Holmes had hit in 37 consecutive games in 1945 to set a modern National League record that stood until it was broken by Pete Rose of the Cincinnati Reds in 1978. A native of Brooklyn, Holmes was originally signed by the New York Yankees in 1937, but was traded to the Braves in December of 1941. He was a key member of the Braves from 1942 through 1950, batting .300 or more in five of those nine seasons. Entering the 1951 season, the 33-year-old Holmes was named the player-manager of the Braves' Hartford farm team. He was to be groomed as the future manager of the Braves. On June 19th of that season, the Braves were struggling under manager Billy Southworth and Holmes was called back to the big leagues to serve as a player-manager. "It just happened sooner than I thought it would," Holmes told Time Magazine. It also ended sooner than Holmes could have anticipated as he was fired on May 31 of the 1952 season and replaced by Charlie Grimm.
Holmes was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in mid-June to serve as a pinch-hitter and ended up playing in the World Series. It was to be his final season in the Major Leagues and he ended his 11-year career with a lifetime batting average of .302. He managed in the Minor Leagues for the Braves and Dodgers from 1953-57, but basically disappeared from baseball's spotlight. He returned to the game in 1973 as director of amateur baseball relations for the New York Mets, a post he held until he retired at the age of 86. In an ironic twist, Holmes was in attendance at Shea Stadium on July 25th, 1978, when Rose collected the hit to give him a 38-game hitting streak, erasing Holmes' record. Holmes took the time to thank Rose for "making people remember me."
Holmes had gone from one of the most popular players in the history of the Boston Braves to the manager of the team to what must have seemed to him to be a forgotten man. The fact is, those who knew Holmes remember him today for being not only a great hitter, but a wonderful human being.
"Tommy always offered encouragement and was well-liked by everyone," said former Dodger teammate George Shuba. "He was blessed with a long life and always will be remembered by everyone who had contact with him."
George Altison is 78 years old, but he remembers seeing Holmes when he was 11 and a member of the Braves' "Knothole Section." He has never forgotten his admiration for Holmes and the other Braves and in 1993 helped to form the Boston Braves Historical Association. "Tommy was the first player we inducted into our Hall of Fame," said Altison. "He is as beloved to Braves fans as Johnny Pesky is to Red Sox fans."
Del Crandall recalled that when he started his Major League career with Boston in 1949, the veteran Holmes "made rookies like myself and Johnny Antonelli feel like one of the guys."
The veteran baseball executive Roland Hemond was hired by the Braves as a front office employee for the Hartford team in 1951 and later that year made his first of many trips to the Winter Meetings in the company of the new Braves manager Holmes. "It was exciting just to be in the company of Tommy Holmes, but he treated me like a veteran executive," said Hemond, who has never forgotten the kindness he was shown and has been one of baseball's leading figures in helping others through the years.
Tommy Holmes Jr. recalls that his father kept and treasured his Braves uniform, socks and cap, stating, "He loved every minute of his time in Boston." Holmes' daughter, Patricia Stone, told the Associated Press that, "When he played, there would be days he'd leave early and he'd pass children playing baseball and stop to play with them."
It has been 60 years since Tommy Holmes played in the World Series for his beloved Braves. Everything in the game has changed drastically. If only we could find the joy that Holmes experienced in the game and in his life. It's certainly worth a try.
As you can tell from Claire's piece, he's a gifted writer. To read more of his stories from his major league carreer, click here.
CALLING ALL BRAVES FANS! A new book on the 1948 seasons of the Boston Braves and Red Sox is close to be written, but your help is needed! Do you remember what it was like to in the Wigwam? Any experiences you may have during that season would be great, so jot down your remembrances and send them to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will be sure to get it to the proper folks.
What kind of things are we looking for: How did you get to the game: cream and orange-colored trolley, bus or automobile? How did the MTA vehicle drop off and pick up folks at the ballpark? Did you participate in a group trip? Where was parking available? How and where did you get your tickets? Where did you enter and how were tickets taken and turnstiles operated? What do you remember of the ballpark concessions? Other than food and programs, were other souveniers sold? And most importantly, what were the sights and sounds of the game?
May 2007 Update: During the last few months, interest in the Boston Braves has grown. You can read all about the Braves in the May 11 issue ofthe Boston Phoenix. Click on this link to read what some members had to say about Boston's favorite National League team.