Dave Bristol didn’t like being replaced by Ted Turner

There was never any love lost between Braves manager Dave Bristol and owner Ted Turner.

In one of the strangest moves in baseball history, Turner made himself the manager of the Braves for one game in 1977. And it may have been more than one game if baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn had not stepped in.

On May 11 in Pittsburgh, before the third game of a four-game series against the Pirates, the Braves were 8-21 and Turner was upset, telling Bristol to take 10 days off and he would see what was wrong with the team. Bristol was furious. He was told in his hotel room by general manager Bill Lucas and traveling secretary Pete Van Wieren, who also was on the radio broadcast team. Bristol took the first flight out of Pittsburgh and returned to his home in Andrews, N.C.

“It was embarrassing,’’ said the 83-year-old Bristol this week. “He (Turner) didn’t think of anyone’s feelings. I just said get me a plane ticket back to Chattanooga and I will get home from there.’’

Helped by third base coach Vern Benson, Turner, wearing No. 27, managed that night at Three Rivers Stadium and the Braves lost 2-1. But later that night, Turner received a call from National League president Chub Feeney and was told it would be his last game as a manager, that no one holding stock in a club could manage the team. Kuhn supported Feeney in his decision and Turner’s managerial record will always be 0-1.

Meanwhile, Bristol received a call the next morning from Turner.

“He called me and like nothing happened said I will see you at the ballpark later today,’’ said Bristol as the Braves had the series finale that night in Pittsburgh.

Bristol didn’t make it to the park that night as Benson served as interim manager and the Braves broke the 17-game losing streak with a 6-1 win. But Bristol was back in Atlanta the next game for a series against St. Louis and for the rest of a season, a tough year as the Braves finished 61-101. Bristol was fired after the season.

Asked today what he thinks of Turner, Bristol, who was in the game from 1951-94 and is very well liked around baseball, said, “Not much.’’

But he added, “That was a very tough few days but I was in the game for many, many years and I learned how to deal with both the good and the bad. If I would have let those things bother me, I would not have lasted in the game very long.’’