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Thread: The 10 Darkest Days In Atlanta Braves History: No. 10

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    Director of Minor League Reports rico43's Avatar
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    The 10 Darkest Days In Atlanta Braves History: No. 10

    October 27, 1972:
    AARON FORCES TRADE OF ANOTHER FAN FAVORITE


    Hank Aaron to this day understands the power that goes with being the face of the franchise of the Atlanta Braves, and has on more than one occasion used that status to get his way in team disputes.

    In the 60s, the media still looked the other way when something unseemly was taking place, and this was never more apparent when a fistfight between Aaron and Joe Torre took place on a team flight in 1968. Torre at that stage still drank heavily at times, and Aaron commented on his drunkeness on the flight. Torre could pack a punch and, although teammates broke it up, Aaron came out the worse for wear.

    Torre was traded to the NL champion Cardinals the following spring for future Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda, but the Cardinals came out ahead as Torre played six years in St. Louis, earning the MVP award in 1971.

    Aaron never made his peace with Torre, and was also allegedly involved with running Torre off as manager in 1984, less than two years after reaching the playoffs. The reasons some sources report, are too unseemly to even mention here.

    But Aaron was an equal opportunity offender and also forced the Braves to trade away their most popular player, former batting champion Rico Carty, after another incident on a plane. Hall of Fame announcer Milo Hamilton described it in his book, Making Airwaves:

    “The fight started as a disagreement over word choice. Carty, a Dominican, did not consider himself “black,” and did not like being thought of as a Black man. In their argument, Carty called Aaron a “black SOB” and Aaron replied, “You're not exactly pink yourself.” Carty, a former boxer as a teen, took Aaron down with one punch.”

    When the deal broke, Aaron (and his name) was nowhere to be found. Carty publicly placed the blame on his manager (and another old teammate) Eddie Mathews and Eddie Robinson, the de facto g.m. Mathews denied it.

    “He told us he was ready to play. He wasn’t. He tried to run and broke down. Then he claimed we took him off the disabled list too soon,” Mathews told the Atlanta Constitution. “But I have nothing against Rico Carty. I would never in a million years trade a man because I disliked him.”


    In the report, Carty’s problems with teammates were skimmed over. He denied that he had problems with teammates. But, writer Wayne Minshew pointed out, it didn’t matter: Rico Carty was gone.

    Their return was markedly less than what they got for Torre – minor league reliever Jim Panther. Carty, despite a chronic knee problem stemming from a winter ball mishap that led to a crushed kneecap and a missed 1971 season, would go on to play eight more seasons. He would hit over .300 in three of them.

    One man’s opinion: you will never see Joe Torre or Rico Carty named to the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame so long as Henry Aaron remains alive to veto such a move.

    FYI: A fight betweem Carty and teammate Ron Reed in August of 1970 was over a Little League bat. Reed had set the bat aside for a young fan, who kept reminding any player he saw that it was promised to him. Carty had Phil Niekro fish the bat out of Reed's locker. Reed arrived and loudly accused Carty of going into his locker, implying he took more than the bat. Reed got into Carty's face, but cooler heads prevailed, Carty apologized and the two men shook hands and laid it to rest.

    FYI2: You might have read that Carty also had an entanglement with Atlanta police, but it wound up being a case of mistaken identity made more complicated by the language barrier.

    Next up: #9 The day Schuerholz was spelled F-A-I-L.
    Last edited by rico43; 04-18-2016 at 11:26 PM.

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    It's OVER 5,000! Runnin's Avatar
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    One of the most interesting posts ever. I would buy a book of the 10 darkest and 10 brightest days in Atlanta Braves history.

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    CyYoung31 (04-18-2016), rico43 (04-18-2016)

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    Shift Leader CyYoung31's Avatar
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    I'm pinning this, and every subsequent entry in this series. It deserves it.

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