“In a fitting sort of way, kind of that childhood dream comes back to me today.”
Delta has partnered with the Braves for 56 years starting in 1966, and this is the fourth plane Delta has dedicated to the Braves — Bastian joked Delta has plenty more aircraft for future Braves World Series wins. In addition to commemorative planes in honor of Bobby Cox and Chipper Jones, a plane was dedicated to Hank Aaron, who died in 2021 and spent 21 seasons with the Braves.
“We lost Hank before that last season, and in a lot of ways that carried us through,” said Derek Schiller, Braves CEO and president. “It was really an inspirational part. We knew that he was looking down on us and was doing everything he could to help us win that World Championship.”
Bastian recalled greeting the team after they flew the World Series trophy home to Atlanta. Schiller continued the story by describing that “euphoric” night with the “right partner carrying us home.”
During the ceremony, Schiller gave the gift of a World Series ring to Delta.
“This achievement is really for all of us,” Schiller said after the ceremony. “It’s as much a Braves achievement as it is a Delta achievement as it is for our entire community. Now to watch that logo be flown around the country, it just gives me chills.”
Braves second baseman Ozzie Albies said his family and friends fly Delta when coming to the U.S. to see him play. He said the emblem on the plane was “one of the coolest things I’ve seen.”
“It brings back a lot of memories, and all I can say is we want to do more things like this,” he said.
Since 1985, team manager Brian Snitker has flown with the team on Delta charters in various coaching roles and said some flight attendants still serving the team have been doing so for decades.
“They’re more than flight attendants, they’re close friends. We’ve watched each other raise our children and now grandkids,” Snitker said.
At the event in the Delta hangar, former Major League Baseball player and Braves broadcaster Joe Simpson led giveaways of signed baseballs, Braves tickets, World Series jerseys and replicas of the Braves World Champions plane for Delta employees.
Some Braves fans and Delta customers will travel on the plane as it flies on routes around the country.
“This has been a hard year, a hard couple of years,” Bastian said after the ceremony. “The championship that was brought back to the Braves — to our town — lifted the spirits of our entire community.”