Cairnes joined the Braves' front office in 1947, as director of the Braves' farm system. He was promoted to executive vice president in 1953. Cairnes succeeded Lou Perini as team president in 1957, when Perini was elected chairman of the board. During his presidency, Cairnes attempted to negotiate with the county to build a new baseball stadium.
Cairnes and his wife, Helen, had six children.
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