Atlanta Braves Throwback Thursday memory: the first time

ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 29: A general view of SunTrust Park prior to Opening Day between the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies on March 29, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - MARCH 29: A general view of SunTrust Park prior to Opening Day between the Atlanta Braves and the Philadelphia Phillies on March 29, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

How far back does your own Braves memory go?

As the Atlanta Braves begin the 2018 baseball season it brings back some wonderful memories. There are the memories of me running inside my parents house to turn the radio on to catch the first game of the season, listening intently as I visualized each Braves player either throwing a pitch from the mound to taking a swing at the plate.

I remember through the years of not being able to get the game on the radio in my parents house, so I would have to go sit out in my dad’s car in order to listen to the game. It was in 1966 I started collecting baseball cards, which brings up a few painful memories. When I left home for college my mother threw out all my baseball cards: all my Hank Aaron, Rico Carty, Eddie Mathews cards were gone.

That First Game

Over the years my discarded baseball cards have vanished from my memory, but the one memory I will never lose is my first Braves game I attended in Atlanta. It was June 10, 1967, I was 10 years old making my first visit to Atlanta Stadium to watch my Braves face the San Francisco Giants.

I had been following the Braves since they moved to Atlanta in 1966 from Milwaukee, never missing a Braves game on the radio. I had always wondered what the stadium looked like while listen to each game and as I walked through the concourse of Atlanta Stadium my anticipation was building to see the field. Unlike today where stadiums have so many amenities, in 1967 what you had was just a stadium with seats.

As I walked through the tunnel with my dad to see the field where my Braves played I was in awe, here I was 10 years and living a dream. The only thing different was not hearing the play by play of Milo Hamilton and Ernie Johnson.

I sat right behind home plate, looking around the stadium while thinking this was the most people I had ever seen at a baseball game. I think the attendance was around 40,000 (ed. note:  good call – it was 40,047).  But what I was focused on the most was seeing my heroes, and it didn’t take long for me to get to see what I had been dreaming of for so long.

Even though the Giants jumped on top 2-0 in the very first inning, I knew coming up in the bottom of the first were the Braves players I had been wanting to see. The first player to come up was Felipe Alou, he proceeded to hit a home run and Hank Aaron had a single, one of three hits on the day.

It didn’t matter that the Braves lost 7-4 to the Giants:  all that mattered was seeing all my favorite Braves players I had been following on the radio since I started following the Braves.

When I look back on that game back in June of 1967, I now realize not only did I get to see some of my baseball heroes such as Hank Aaron, Felipe Alou, and Joe Torre, but I was able to watch Willie Mays along with Willie McCovey that day.

Ed. Note:  the umpire crew even featured the legendary Harry Wendelstedt covering 1st base that day.  But check the names in this box score… multiple Hall of Famers.

Saturday afternoon, June 10, 1967:  Giants 7, Braves 4

San Francisco Giants Hitters
Billy Sorrell LF3010003.182.308.273.580
Ty Cline LF2000002.
Tom Haller C3111104.307.392.536.928HR
Willie Mays CF4110004.296.374.485.859GDP
Willie McCovey 1B3322104.254.365.542.908HR
Jim Ray Hart 3B3112114.240.322.426.748HR
Ollie Brown RF4110004.293.338.544.882
Hal Lanier SS4000014.
Tito Fuentes 2B4011014.
Gaylord Perry P4000024.
Team Totals347863537.235.297.500.797
Atlanta Braves Hitters
Felipe Alou 1B-CF5132005.295.330.459.789HR
Mack Jones CF2000113.240.320.429.748
Bob Uecker C1000011.
Rico Carty PH1000001.257.347.404.750
Hank Aaron RF4030004.313.382.604.987
Joe Torre C-1B4000004.332.389.574.962GDP
Clete Boyer 3B4010024.271.326.459.785
Gary Geiger LF3211114.240.377.360.737HR
Denis Menke SS4010004.228.321.317.639
Woody Woodward 2B3100114.
Tony Cloninger P2011012.
Clay Carroll P0000000.
Ramon Hernandez P0000000.
Glen Clark PH1000011.
Jay Ritchie P0000000.400.400.8001.200
Charlie Lau PH1000001.
Team Totals3541043838.286.342.457.799
San Francisco Giants Pitchers
Gaylord Perry, W (5-5)910443823.093856
Team Totals910443824.003856
Atlanta Braves Pitchers
Tony Cloninger, L (1-3)4.28761334.082324
Clay Carroll1.10000005.064
Ramon Hernandez10001005.493
Jay Ritchie20001203.417
Team Totals98763536.003724

My dad took me to many Braves games years later, and while I have been to several as an adult,  I will never forget my first Braves game.  When you go to your next game (even if it’s not a Braves game) and see young kids remind them of the memories that will stay with them their entire life.

Next: He's getting closer

What Braves memories do you have?