A lot of people don’t know this, but the exclamation “Red Sox Beat Braves!” is part of a long rivalry between the two teams, particularly for the Braves, who are now in Atlanta, but initially started in Boston. My friend Tori was in Atlanta on April 25th watching the Braves play the Red Sox, which ended in a 1-0 win for Boston when Jackie Bradley Jr. hit his first home run of the season. “Pretty much half the stadium consists of Red Sox fans hoping they put in Big Papi before the game is over!” she texted me as she sat behind first base (It’s not uncommon for Red Sox fans to outnumber fans when they’re on the road. When I was in Baltimore during the Sox’s historic 2013 run, many fans referred to Camden Yards as Fenway South).
Less than a mile from Fenway Park on the campus on Boston University sits Nickerson Field, the original site of Braves Field, where the Boston Braves played from 1915, until they left for Milwaukee in 1952, before leaving once again for Atlanta in 1966. While the Braves captured only one World Series title during their time in Boston compared to the Red Sox five titles, part of that 1914 World Series was played in Fenway Park, which was only two years old at the time. The history between the Red Sox and Braves was pretty quiet for a number of years after that, until 1974, when Hank Aaron, who had just broken Babe Ruth’s home run record, almost went to the Boston Red Sox to become their designated hitter, but was traded by the Braves to the Milwaukee Brewers. It’s so interesting to me that Hank Aaron almost became a member of the 1975 World Series Red Sox team!
Before the late 1990s, the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves hadn’t met much at all unless you count spring training games. They’ve never met in a the World Series, and it wasn’t until 1997 when Interleague play was first introduced that they started playing one another during the season. Since then, the Boston Red Sox have beaten the Atlanta Braves 32-30 in 64 games. As the Red Sox and Atlanta Braves continue to slug it out in the last week of August; two games in Atlanta, and two games in Boston, let’s hope that the headline “Red Sox Beat Braves!” is truly repeated after each game.