Fifty years ago, something new came to Major League Baseball: divisional play.
And the Braves won the inaugural National League West championship that year.
The Braves announced Monday that they’ll celebrate the 50th anniversary of their special 1969 season by giving away Hank Aaron bobbleheads to the first 15,000 fans through the gates at the Sept. 17 game against the Philadelphia Phillies at SunTrust Park.
The Braves’ 1969 season is definitely worthy of commemoration.
Aaron hit 44 home runs that year. Phil Niekro went 23-13 with a 2.56 ERA. The Braves were 93-69, their most wins in any Atlanta season until 1991.
The 1969 Braves finished three games ahead of the San Francisco Giants and four games ahead of the Cincinnati Reds in the NL West, reaching the postseason for the first time since moving to Atlanta in 1966. (For younger fans: The Braves, incongruously, were in the Western Division from 1969 through 1993. Each league had two divisions in those years. A third division was added in each league in 1994, at which time the Braves moved to the NL East.)
In the inaugural National League Championship Series, then a best-of-five set, the ’69 Braves were swept three games to none by the New York Mets. (The “Miracle Mets” went on to win the World Series, upsetting the Baltimore Orioles in five games.)
The Falcons came in at No. 28 in Forbes' annual ranking of The World's 50 Most Valuable Sports Teams, released Monday.
The Dallas Cowboys were No. 1 at a valuation of $5 billion, followed by the New York Yankees ($4.6 billion) and soccer clubs Real Madrid ($4.24 billion) and Barcelona ($4.02 billion).
The Falcons are valued at $2.6 billion by Forbes. Neither the Braves nor the Hawks made the top 50.
> A preseason media survey, released Monday, picked Georgia Tech to finish last in the ACC Coastal Division. See story here.
> The Falcons opened training camp Monday. It's a big season for the Falcons and an even bigger one for coach Dan Quinn, columnist Mark Bradley wrote.
> Check out Curtis Compton's photo gallery from Day 1 of Falcons training camp here.