Thursday, April 30, 2015

Play Ball...Ball...Ball...

As you're probably aware of, a game took place yesterday between the Orioles and the White Sox that was closed off to the public due to the violence taking place in the city of Baltimore. As the photos of the empty yard started to hit Twitter, a thought came over me: If a game takes place and no one is there to watch it- did it actually happen? The whole scene was surreal.

While I never got to see any of the Braves games during the 70s, I do know that attendance at Fulton County Stadium was pretty horrible for the entire decade. The lowest point during that period came in 1975, when the team averaged 6,642 per game- not nearly as empty as Camden Yard, but still pretty miserable. The team failed to average 10,000 fans four different seasons during the decade, but the Braves early attendance problem went beyond just their days in Atlanta. The final season in Milwaukee (1965) saw an average of 6,859 at old County Stadium. Needless to say, the fans knew the team's days in Milwaukee were numbered.

For those who did attend Braves home games during the miserable 1975 season, they got to see...

Mike Lum hit his first homer of the season, while going 2-4 on Wednesday, May 7 in a loss to San Francisco. Attendance: 2,687

The next night (Thursday, May 8) saw a Braves hold on for a win against the Giants.  3,656 loyal fans witnessed the Giants score 2 in top of 9th to make it close, but still come up short, 3-2.  Ron Reed was the hero, going 8.1 innings, surrendering 10 hits and only allowing 2 runs to score; Tom House pitching the final 0.2 innings to get his third save of the season.

A couple of weeks later, the Montreal Expos came to town, but the fans didn't come out to see them:
Tuesday, May 20 attendance: 3,861 Vic Correll was the star: 2-5, 1 HR, 5RBI
Wednesday May 21, a 6-3 win against the Expos. 3,263 saw Darrell Evans go 2-4 with 2 homers and 2 RBI.

Just when you thought things couldn't get worse....

Wednesday, September 3, the Bravos suffered a 9-10 loss against the Friars. Announced attendance:  1,119.  Rod Gilbreath went All-Star, going 3-5 and leading a 15 hit attack where 5 player had multiple hits. But when the team's bad, losses are going to happen.

Runs weren't as plentiful the next night, Thursday, September 4 in Atlanta's 2-1 Win against that same San Diego team. With 1,062 people in the stands, Phil Niekro was outstanding, going 8 strong innings, with 8 hit and 1 run (earned) allowed, while striking out nine. Unfortunately, Knucksie did not get a decision. Marty Perez drove in the winning run in the bottom of 9th.

Of course there's always a 'rock-bottom' story, and for the 1975 Braves, it came on September 8th when an announced crowed of 737 were supposedly there to see Frank LaCourt take the loss against the Astros. Marty Perez was the star, once again, going 2-3 with 2 walks and 3 runs scored.

The team photo looks like it very well could have been taken prior to 1st pitch at any of a couple dozen home games that year. 

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