Bible Belt baseball and the American journey
Last week, these United States celebrated the 235th anniversary of its birth. Wither there next win, the Peach State's Braves will celebrate its 10,000th major league baseball* victory, the first of which took place during America's Centennial year with the creation of today's National League, five years after their 1871 franchise founding** in Boston and only one year before President Rutherford B. Hayes would bring an end to post-Civil War Reconstruction.
Even then, the way was being paved for the Braves' move to a New South and the rise of an America that would one day save the world from tyranny three times and make America's Past Time, Japan's.
What hath God wrought
What, you may ask, has any of that to do with this year's 400th anniversary of the first printing of the King James Bible? But, absent the best-selling book in world history and subsequent explosion of a priesthood of believers no longer content to bow to the Church of England, would there have been Puritans and Pilgrims to flee the Old World for the New? Would there have been a Declaration of unalienable rights endowed by their Creator?
Would there have been a Christian Abolitionist, Union soldier and future faux Father of Baseball named Abner Doubleday to fire the first retaliatory shot from Fort Sumter at Confederate rebels?
Finally, would there have been Rev. Martin Luther Kings readying the City too Busy to Hate for the cry for Hammerin' Hank Aaron to Play Ball!?
I think not.
Several weeks ago this self-dubbed "Braves-Gamecock" first learned that the oldest franchise in Major League Baseball had made up 526 games during two decades of the Bobby Cox Era to stand at 9,982 wins and 9,982 losses and thus attain a .500 winning percentage for the first time since 1923.
Moreover, the impending reality of a Braves' 10,000th victory caused us to shed our long-standing prejudice against arbitrary milestones based upon consecutive zeros. Big Head Bonds notwithstanding, Aaron changed the history of baseball with the number 715, with nary a zero in sight. But 10,000 has more zeroes than we are used to... especially during an ObamaDem recession, but I digress.
The Pilgrims landed on a Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts in 1620 and after the Indispensable Nation ended involuntary servitude, **Harry Wright dismantled the first professional baseball team he formed in Cincinnati in the 1860s and landed the Red Stockings, that would become the Braves, in Boston, Massachusetts in 1871 to form baseball's first professional league.
*That National Association disbanded in 1876 and the Boston team joined Albert Goodwill Spalding's National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, and Major League Baseball was born.
After iterations as the Beaneaters, Nationals, Doves and Rustlers in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries, they emerged as the Miracle Braves of 1914 and their first of three franchise World Series championships.
Spahn, Sain, and praying for rain made brave men thirsty for Schlitz, so they took the bus to Milwaukee and made that city even more famous by defeating the New York Yankees for their second championship in 1957, as Sputnik hovered overhead.
Welcome South Brother and move over pigskins
After half of King James Version-reading Dixie voted for John F. Kennedy, The Powers that Be liked Ike's interstate highway intersection where Atlanta Crackers sold out Ponce de Leon Park. Atlanta not only was not Gone with the Wind after all, and was hospitable to round ball games Yankees played between Ramblin' Wreck kickoffs.
Reconstruction finally ended when Ted Turner's team became America's Team on TBS and went on to put Atlanta on the map for more than just Sherman's March and changing planes.
Braves beat Indians in 1995 for franchise World series victory #3, but, more importantly, The Deep South had its first major pro sports championship. Tinker, Evers and Chance of the Chicago Cubs, also founded in 1876, wouldn't have had a chance against Maddux, Smoltz and Glavine.
As of the date of the posting of this column, the franchise Harry Wright left Cincinnati to found has 9,999 wins and the King James Bible still has Southern Baptists walking the aisles.
Praise God in the Land of the Free and the Home of the...Braves!
P.S. from Braves-Gamecock: Beat the Phillies!
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Atlanta Law & Politics columnist for Examiner.com
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson
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