Purgatory Online

Friday, September 02, 2005

Speaking of franchise winning records, something fairly remarkable will likely happen to the Atlanta Braves next year. The Braves entered play today with a franchise record (since 1876) of 9519-9542, 23 games below .500. If and when they make it to .500, it will be the first time the franchise has won as many games as it's lost since June 1, 1923.

The Braves were actually a feared and powerful team for quite a while in the 19th century, and had several good years in the early 20th century as well - they were 518 games over .500 after the 1902 season, but ended the 1922 season just six games over. I'm not certain, but it's entirely possible that the Braves had never been below .500 before 1923, since they had winning records in each of their first four seasons - if the Braves franchise spent any time at all with a losing overall record, it was limited solely to 1876 and maybe very early 1877.

On May 25, 1923, however, the Braves dropped a doubleheader to the Phillies, taking them to exactly .500 for the franchise's history. They bounced back a bit, but finally dropped below sea level on May 31, losing the opener of a three-game series with Brooklyn. June 1 would prove to be the last day they ended play at or above .500, taking game two of the series. Unfortunately for them, the bottom then dropped out: the Bostons lost their next twelve straight, and 19 of their next 21.

The Braves have been trying to get back to .500 for eighty-two years. Unless something goes seriously awry, expect this to be the feel-good story of next summer.