Leaving Fulton County: Atlanta Braves’ Final Season at Turner Field

Sep 30, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; General view of the field before the Atlanta Braves host the Washington Nationals at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 30, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; General view of the field before the Atlanta Braves host the Washington Nationals at Turner Field. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports /

Writer’s Note: From now until the close of the 2016 season, I intend to do a retrospect and look back over the Atlanta Braves’ time in Fulton County, as this will be their final year before moving to Cobb County. This will cover time in Turner Field as well. I truly hope you will enjoy what lies ahead.

On October 2, 2016, the sun will set one last time over Turner Field, in Fulton County, one last time, after an Atlanta Braves regular season game. The Braves will begin play in a brand new, shiny and shimmering, state-of-the-art stadium/entertainment facility – SunTrust Park. This will signify the end to 51 years in Fulton County, Georgia. SunTrust Park, as we all know, will reside in Cobb County.

While I wasn’t around for years 1966 through 1978, I was treated to some fantastic memories from both Fulton County Stadium and Turner Field from 1979 and on. Magical moments were all over. The Braves were the joke of baseball for most of the 70’s and 80’s. Then, the 90’s happened. Oh, the magical 90’s! What a ride!

1974 – Hank Aaron became the all-time home run king. 1982 – a Major League record 13 consecutive wins to begin the season and the first of Dale Murphy‘s back-to-back MVP seasons. 1991 – the ‘Worst to First’ team and first World Series appearance since moving to Atlanta. 1992 – Skip Caray’s call of “Sid’s Slide”; simply majestic. 1995 – World Series Champions. The first franchise to win a World Series in three different cities. Also, the first major sports championship in Atlanta’s history.

Atlanta Fulton County Stadium was more than a stadium, it was a cathedral among chapels. To an obsessed toddler, who’s first words weren’t mommy or daddy, but were Dale Murphy and Bob Horner, it was heaven. This was the same toddler who couldn’t understand why on WGN, the Chicago Cubs always sang the ‘Braves’ Song’ before every game. You know, ” … and the home of the, ‘BRAVES’.”

I was there for Dale Murphy’s number retirement. I was there to see guys like Bruce Benedict, Steve Bedrosian, Glenn Hubbard, Claudell Washington, Horner, Murphy, and more grace the grass of that glorious green turf. I was mystified, awestruck, and enthralled with the Atlanta Braves. They weren’t just my team though, they were “America’s Team”.

Now, after what will eventually be 51 years, America’s Team will leave Fulton County; albeit just a few miles north into Cobb County. Still, the feeling is the same, and Fulton County won’t be the same without the Braves in it.

The years may not have always been great. Some have been better than we could ever have imagined. Others were just simply inspiring, but all of them left us with memories we will never forget. Moments we will share with family and friends and lives that will forever be changed.

No, the Braves aren’t leaving Atlanta per se. I’m excited and anxious to see this new stadium. I’m excited for the Braves to come out strong and fast out of the gate. There’s another part of me, though, somewhere deep inside, where that toddler’s heart is breaking into a million pieces.

Next: Alan's Crystal Ball: Sneak Peek to 2016 Draft

So be on the lookout for more moments and memories from Atlanta Fulton County and Turner Field in the coming weeks, months, and duration of the season. And please feel free to share or post you favorite moments. Somewhere out there, there’s the kid in all of us who might just feel the same way.