1978 Atlanta Braves season

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1978 Atlanta Braves
Major League affiliations
Location
Results
Record 69–93 (.426)
Divisional place 6th
Other information
Owner(s) Ted Turner
General manager(s) Bill Lucas
Manager(s) Bobby Cox
Local television WTCG
Local radio WSB
(Ernie Johnson, Pete Van Wieren, Skip Caray)
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Offseason[edit]

Managerial turnover: Bobby Cox begins his first term[edit]

In May 1977, owner Ted Turner had stunned baseball when—in the midst of a 16-game losing streak—he furloughed manager Dave Bristol, sent him on a ten-day scouting trip, and took the reins of the team himself; on May 11, he donned uniform #27 and skippered the Braves to their 17th straight loss. National League president Chub Feeney and Commissioner of Baseball Bowie Kuhn then stepped in and forbad the owner from managing his own ballclub, citing MLB rules that apparently took effect after Connie Mack retired as owner-manager of the Philadelphia Athletics in 1950.[3] Veteran coach Vern Benson ran the Braves the following night (and broke the losing skein), and then Bristol was rehired for the balance of the season.

However, that chaotic season was followed by one of the most important events in Braves' history: the hiring of Bobby Cox, briefly a Braves' farm system player, as manager for 1978. Cox was then a 36-year-old, relatively unknown former third baseman who had spent the previous ten seasons in the New York Yankees' organization, including six years (1971–1976) as a highly successful minor league manager and one season as the first-base coach on the Yankees' 1977 world championship team. Cox would spend four seasons, 1978–1981, during this first term in the Braves' dugout. While his first two years produced frustrating, last-place seasons in the National League West, by Cox' third year, 1980, the Braves posted a winning (81–80) mark and rose to fourth place in their division. Attendance began to climb, with the team exceeding the one-million mark at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium for the first time since 1971.[4] But the strike-shortened 1981 season was a major disappointment; the Braves fell to 50–56, and Cox was fired. He went 266–323 (.452) during his inaugural tenure.

His successor, former New York Mets skipper Joe Torre, would lead the Braves to the 1982 National League West Division championship. Cox would land with the Toronto Blue Jays as their 1982 manager. The Jays were then a five-year-old expansion team that had never escaped the basement of the American League East Division, nor won more than 67 games in a season. By Cox' second season, the Blue Jays broke the .500 mark, and by his fourth, in 1985, they would win 99 games and the AL East title. Meanwhile, the Braves' front office was in flux and owner Turner was seeking a strong hand to take over the team's baseball operations as general manager. He lured Cox back to Atlanta with a multi-year contract.[5] And, although the team struggled desperately on the field in the late 1980s, general manager Cox was assembling a base of talent that, when he returned to the dugout to manage the Braves for his second term, on June 23, 1990, would ignite a series of first-place divisional teams (for 15 out of 16 straight seasons) and five National League pennant winners (as well as the 1995 World Series title) that would earn Cox a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame by his 2010 retirement.

Regular season[edit]

  • May 1, 1978: In a game versus the New York Mets, Braves manager Bobby Cox was ejected from a game for the first time in his career.[6] Cox would go on to set the record for most ejections by a manager.

Season standings[edit]

NL West W L GB Pct.
Los Angeles Dodgers 95 67 -- .586
Cincinnati Reds 92 69 2.5 .571
San Francisco Giants 89 73 6 .549
San Diego Padres 84 78 11 .519
Houston Astros 74 88 21 .457
Atlanta Braves 69 93 26 .426

Notable transactions[edit]

  • May 16, 1978: Jim Bouton was signed as a free agent by the Braves.[7]
  • September 22, 1978: Cito Gaston was purchased from the Braves by the Pittsburgh Pirates.[8]

Roster[edit]

1978 Atlanta Braves
Roster
Pitchers Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders Manager

Coaches

Player stats[edit]

Batting[edit]

Starters by position[edit]

Note: Pos = Position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
1B Murphy, DaleDale Murphy 151 530 120 .226 23 79

Other batters[edit]

Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Hubbard, GlennGlenn Hubbard 44 163 42 .258 2 13
Gaston, CitoCito Gaston 60 118 27 .229 1 9
Asselstine, BrianBrian Asselstine 39 103 28 .272 2 13
Ruiz, ChicoChico Ruiz 18 46 13 .283 0 2
Miller, EddieEddie Miller 6 21 3 .143 0 2
Small, HankHank Small 1 4 0 .000 0 0

Pitching[edit]

Starting pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Niekro, PhilPhil Niekro 44 334.1 19 18 2.88 248
Hanna, PrestonPreston Hanna 29 140.1 7 13 5.13 90
Bouton, JimJim Bouton 5 29 1 3 4.97 10

Other pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; IP = Innings pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Devine, AdrianAdrian Devine 31 65.1 5 4 5.92 26
Boggs, TommyTommy Boggs 16 59 2 8 6.71 21

Relief pitchers[edit]

Note: G = Games pitched; W = Wins; L = Losses; SV = Saves; ERA = Earned run average; SO = Strikeouts

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Campbell, DaveDave Campbell 53 4 4 1 4.80 45
Garber, GeneGene Garber 43 4 4 22 2.53 61
Camp, RickRick Camp 42 2 4 0 3.75 23
Easterly, JamieJamie Easterly 37 3 6 1 5.65 42
León, MaxMax León 5 0 0 0 6.35 1
Davey, MikeMike Davey 3 0 0 0 0.00 0

Farm system[edit]

Level Team League Manager
AAA Richmond Braves International League Tommie Aaron
AA Savannah Braves Southern League Bobby Dews
A Greenwood Braves Western Carolinas League Al Gallagher
Rookie Kingsport Braves Appalachian League Eddie Haas
Rookie GCL Braves Gulf Coast League Pedro González

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: Richmond, Greenwood

Awards and honors[edit]

League leaders[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Bert Blyleven page at Baseball Reference
  2. ^ Buzz Capra page at Baseball Reference
  3. ^ Williams, Doug, "Remembering the Night Ted Turner Managed the Braves." ESPN.com, 2013.05.23
  4. ^ Baseball Almanac
  5. ^ Cooperstowners in Canada.com
  6. ^ Lake, Thomas (July 26, 2010). "Thumbing his Way back home". Sports Illustrated (Time Inc.): 49. 
  7. ^ Jim Bouton page at Baseball Reference
  8. ^ Cito Gaston page at Baseball Reference
  9. ^ Great Baseball Feats, Facts and Figures, 2008 Edition, p.348, David Nemec and Scott Flatow, A Signet Book, Penguin Group, New York, NY, ISBN 978-0-451-22363-0

References[edit]