1978 Atlanta Braves season

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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The 1978 Atlanta Braves season was the 108th season for the franchise and their 13th in Atlanta.

Offseason

Managerial turnover: Bobby Cox begins his first term

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 forbade 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

Season standings

NL West W L Pct. GB Home Road
Los Angeles Dodgers 9567 0.586 54–27 41–40
Cincinnati Reds 9269 0.571 49–31 43–38
San Francisco Giants 8973 0.549 6 50–31 39–42
San Diego Padres 8478 0.519 11 50–31 34–47
Houston Astros 7488 0.457 21 50–31 24–57
Atlanta Braves 6993 0.426 26 39–42 30–51

Record vs. opponents

1978 National League Records

Sources:
Team ATL CHC CIN HOU LAD MON NYM PHI PIT SD SF STL
Atlanta 5–76–128–105–135–76–68–42–108–1011–75–7
Chicago 7–57–56–64–87–1111–74–147–117–54–815–3
Cincinnati 12–65–711–79–98–47–57–54–79–912–68–4
Houston 10–86–67–117–116–67–56–64–88–106–127–5
Los Angeles 13–58–49–911–78–47–57–57–59–911–75–7
Montreal 7–511–74–86–64–88–109–97–116–65–79–9
New York 6–67–115–75–75–710–86–127–115–73–97–11
Philadelphia 4-814–45–76–65–79–912–611–78–46–610–8
Pittsburgh 10–211–77–48–45–711–711–77–115–74–89–9
San Diego 10–85–79–910–89–96–67–54–87–58–109–3
San Francisco 7–118–46–1212–67–117–59–36–68–410–89–3
St. Louis 7–53–154–85–77–59–911–78–109–93–93–9

Notable transactions

  • 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

1978 Atlanta Braves
Roster
Pitchers Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders Manager

Coaches

Player stats

Batting

Starters by position

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
CBiff Pocoroba9228970.242634
1BDale Murphy151530120.2262379
2BJerry Royster140529137.259235
SSDarrel Chaney8924555.224320
3BBob Horner8932386.2662363
LFJeff Burroughs153488147.3012377
CFRowland Office146404101.250940
RFGary Matthews129474135.2851862

Other batters

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
Glenn Hubbard4416342.258213
Cito Gaston6011827.22919
Brian Asselstine3910328.272213
Chico Ruiz184613.28302
Eddie Miller6213.14302
Hank Small140.00000

Pitching

Starting pitchers

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

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Phil Niekro44334.119182.88248
Preston Hanna29140.17135.1390
Larry McWilliams1599.1932.8142
Jim Bouton529134.9710

Other pitchers

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

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Adrian Devine3165.1545.9226
Tommy Boggs1659286.7121

Relief pitchers

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

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Dave Campbell534414.8045
Gene Garber4344222.5361
Rick Camp422403.7523
Jamie Easterly373615.6542
Max León50006.351
Mike Davey30000.000

Farm system

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

League leaders

Notes

  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, ISBN 978-0-451-22363-0

References

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