1985 Topps Donnie Moore 699 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

It’s hard to write about Donnie Moore and not mention game 5 of the 1986 ALCS or the horrible manner in which his life ended. So, I’ll just say, when he was with the Braves, I was a fan. I was not happy when they lost him to the Angels following the 1984 season and would have much preferred to see him in the Braves bullpen than Bruce Sutter.

mp-photo-alt[]=

A Tim Raines Auto With A Story About Collusion

Of raines

When the 1986 season came to an end, Tim Raines was one of the best players in baseball and he was a free agent. He was ready to cash in. Little did Raines know, tinpot dictator and commissioner, the odious paper bag of dog crap named Peter Ueberroth had bullied the owners into refusing to sign free agents from other teams for the second straight year. Teams would talk to Raines and his agent, but there were no offers from anyone but the Montreal Expos.

As a scandal, collusion is every bit as bad as the drug scandals of the 70s and 80s, the gambling scandals of the early 20th century, and the PED scandals of more recent vintage. It was essentially every owner, of every team, refusing to complete. It was also illegal. They ended up paying the players millions upon millions of dollars in penalties and poisoned the well. It was, as future commissioner Fay Vincent put it, organized theft from the players. Fuck the owners.

Well, Tim Raines had no offers except from the Expos and he didn’t like what they were offering. When January 8, 1987 passed, Raines was forbidden fro signing with the Expos until May 1. Eventually, the Expos would come to a deal with Raines on May 1. That day, Raines would play a single game of A baseball where he was allowed to lead off every inning of the first six innings. The next day, he made his return for the Expos against the World Champion Mets.

David Cone, who was not yet “David Cone” was on the mound for the Mets. On the first pitch he threw to Raines, Rock raked it down the first baseball line into the corner for a triple. Next time up, he walks and later scores. A single in the sixth. Another single in the 9th that would again lead to a score as the Expos would tie up the game 6-6. Who needs spring training? Not Tim Raines it would appear.

In the 10th, the Expos would start the inning with three straight singles off Jesse Orosco to bring Rock to the plate. He took the first pitch high. The next pitch was right over the fat part of the plate and Raines drilled a low, screaming line drive over the left field fence for a grand slam and sending the Shea Stadium crowd toward the exits. It was a Hall of Fame performance from one of the great players.

I was fortunate enough to get to see Tim Raines play second base in AA for the Memphis Chicks. He’s been one of my favorite baseball players since. It’s great to see that the baseball world as a whole recognizes just how great he was.

1993 Topps Traded Greg Maddux 61T - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

This is the first Topps card of Greg Maddux with the Braves and it does nothing but piss me off. You see, in December of 1992, the Braves signed Greg Maddux to a five year, 28 million dollar deal. At the time, the Braves were owned by Ted Turner who threw fiscal responsibility out the window. Instead of focusing on more important things like office buildings, paying down debt and the flexibility to maybe make a deal later, if, someone might come available, Turner wanted to win and empowered his team President, Stan Kasten, and his GM, John Schuerholz, to spend what was needed.

The Maddux free agent signing was such a disaster, that the team only had the financial flexibility to make a single deal during the 1993 season when they sent Vince Moore, Donnie Elliott and THE Melvin Nieves to the Padres for Fred McGriff. In return for this bundle of young talent, the Braves only received a SEASON AND A HALF of McGriff’s services and had to pay him in excess of five million dollars. Then, on top of that, to keep him, they had to sign him to an expensive free agent deal in 1995. This, of course, had a serious impact on the teams financial flexibility. You can just sign a free agent removing most of your financial flexibility and then use what little flexibility you have left to make a deal for one of the game’s better players and further limit said financial flexibility.

It just isn’t right. People focus on the wrong things in this world. A baseball team is a business and it should be run like a business. Win at all costs in not something that should ever be pursued. Playoff appearances and a world championship do not excuse the lack of fiscal responsibility shown by Ted Turner and the Braves organization.

I should also point out one other disaster that can be blamed on the Greg Maddux signing. After his costly extension expired, the Braves allowed Greg Maddux to return to free agency so that he could make further millions with some other team. It was very generous! The Braves did extend him an offer to go to arbitration, but that was a mere formality. Maddux would walk and cost some other team their financial flexibility and, with the arbitration offer and with Maddux being a type A free agent, the Braves would receive draft pick compensation. Maddux, who only cared about himself and not the Braves financial flexibility, instead took the Braves arbitration offer and ended up signing for nearly fifteen million dollars.

mp-photo-alt[]=

1986 Topps Traded Andres Thomas 111T - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

Here it is. The first card of the least valuable position player by WAR in the history of the Atlanta Braves, according to Fangraphs. On the one hand, he couldn’t hit. On the other, he wasn’t great in the field. So yeah, Thomas was pretty bad, and yet, I have fond memories of his time in Atlanta. I loved those late 80s Braves baseball teams. They were really, really bad.

mp-photo-alt[]=

1954 Topps Joe Jay 141 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

Joey Jay was a switch-hitting pitcher, one of the original bonus babies, and the first little league player to make the big leagues. He started his career with Milwaukee, moved on to Cincinnati, and returned to the Braves in Atlanta for a brief one in 1966. Thus ends my knowledge of Joey Jay.

mp-photo-alt[]=

1986 Topps Craig McMurtry 194 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

Scab.

mp-photo-alt[]=

1948 Bowman Warren Spahn 18 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

Warren Spahn is the greatest Braves pitcher of all-time, but he is not the greatest pitcher to pitch for the Braves. Does that make sense? If it sounds like I’m slighting Spahn, I’m not. If anything, he’s the pitching equivalent of Hank Aaron. He was “good to great” for such a long period of time. He’s one of those guys I wish I could have watched, especially during the Boston Braves World Series run of 1948. (That would be a World Series that ended in a fashion to which most Braves fans can relate.)

I love this baseball card because I love Warren Spahn. There’s just something in Spahn’s face that conveys mischievousness. It’s the slight upturn in the smile on his lips and a small twinkle in his eye. Of course, if you’ve read about Warren Spahn, you know he was far more complicated than that. Still, the Spahn of the baseball card is the Spahn we all know best.

mp-photo-alt[]=

1951 Bowman Blix Donnelly 208 - Braves Card of the Day ⚾

Donnelly pitched just over 7 innings for the Braves from April 16 of 1951 through May 12, when the Braves released him. It must have been during this month that Bowman decided their checklist. This is, obviously, the only Braves Blix Donnelly baseball card ever made.

mp-photo-alt[]=

Page 12 of Acuña cards including Mr. Albies!

A partial page 11 of Acuña cards.