On Friday, August 19th, we hosted our annual Hall of Fame Luncheon honoring two very familiar faces in Braves Country, inducting long time center fielder, Andruw Jones, and one of the most successful General Managers in Braves history, Mr. John Schuerholz, into the Braves Hall of Fame – Class of 2016. The event was held at the Hyatt Regency Downtown Atlanta and over 700 people were in attendance. The crowd included all of the current Braves team, coaches, and staff plus some notable Braves legends were on hand to help celebrate the careers of these two baseball greats!
Speaking of Andruw Jones, we hope he will be considered for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in a few years from now, and here’s why. One of the most successful outfielders in Braves history, Andruw Jones signed with the Braves in 1993 as an amateur free agent and made his Major League debut in August of 1996. Two months later, at the age of 19, Jones became the youngest player to hit a home run in the World Series, when he posted a two-homer game in Game 1 of the 1996 Fall Classic against the New York Yankees. During his 12 seasons with the Braves, the Curacao native won 10 straight Gold Glove Awards and was voted to the All-Star Team five times. Additionally, in 2005 he won the Silver Slugger Award, the NL Hank Aaron Award and the Major League Player of the Year. Jones finished his Major League career with 1,933 hits, 1,289 RBIs, and 434 home runs.
Many Braves favorites helped to honor Jones during the luncheon, including Chipper Jones, who took the stage before Andruw and said, “I don’t care what any of the old-timers say, he was the best defender of maybe any position I’ve ever seen.” Chipper also called Andruw his “brother from another mother,” with laughter bursting from the audience. Andruw came to the stage to give his speech and very humbly talked about the way he played the game and the smile he always had on his face was because he just “loved to play the game.” He was also very honored to be inducted at the same as John Schuerholz because he was the one that drafted him so many years ago.
John Schuerholz entered his 51st season in professional baseball and his 26th campaign with the Braves organization this year. His baseball career began in 1966 as an administrative assistant with his hometown team, the Baltimore Orioles. Two years later, Schuerholz moved to the newly established Kansas City Royals, where he would spend the next 22 years. In 1981, the Royals named 41-year-old Schuerholz general manager, making him the youngest in Major League Baseball at the time. With Schuerholz as GM, the Royals went on to win their first World Series in 1985. Schuerholz joined the Braves organization in October 1990, and by 1991, the team was in the World Series for the first time since 1958. During his tenure as general manager, the Braves won 14 consecutive division championships, five National League pennants, and the 1995 World Series. With the team’s 1995 World Series championship, Schuerholz became the first executive to be general manager of world championship teams in both the American and National leagues.
Schuerholz transitioned from general manager to president of the Braves in 2007. We, too, are hoping Mr. Schuerholz receives induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in the near future. “This moment is the most exciting and proud moment that I’ve had in my personal life as an executive,” Schuerholz said during his induction speech. “I’ve shared in a lot of team success … but, individually, this is the top of the mountain.”
Welcome to the Braves Hall of Fame John and Andruw! Congratulations!
On August 16 – 18, 2016, the Atlanta Braves Foundation and Fox Sports South celebrated the first ever Community Heroes Week out in the community and at home at Turner Field.
We asked our fans to nominate and share the stories of friends, family members, neighbors or colleagues who are going above and beyond to positively impact and inspire those around them. These individuals may have overcome adversity or raised awareness of various issues affecting our community.
On each of the three consecutive days during the celebration of Community Heroes Week, the Atlanta Braves Foundation and Fox Sports South went out into the community to recognize a different individual who has made a significant impact in the lives of others and made a monetary donation to their respective non-profit organization.
The honorees got the opportunity to share their inspirational stories with Braves players, fans and the media, while being surprised with the day of their dreams. Each day culminated with a VIP visit to Turner Field for an exclusive tour, batting practice from the dugout and in-game presentation.
Hal Simpson – Georgia Blind Sports Association
Hal Simpson is a devoted father, community member, and sports enthusiast. Hal’s son is visually impaired, and encouraged him to create the GA Blind Sports Association. The GA Blind Sports Association provides visually impaired athletes the opportunity to participate in adapted sports. The Atlanta Braves Foundation and Fox Sports South surprised Hal, visually impaired students at Parkview High School, and the local beep baseball team, the Atlanta Eclipse, at a beep baseball clinic at the school.
Andee Poulos – Andee’s Army
Andee is 20-years-old, manager of her school’s softball team, an avid Braves and UGA fan, and spends her birthday at Turner Field each year. In 2011, Andee suffered a massive stroke, did not walk, talk, eat or drink for 20 months. The foundation that bears, Andee’s Army, raises money to help families with children who have suffered brain and spinal injuries. The Atlanta Braves Foundation and Fox Sports South surprised Andee at Holy Innocents Episcopal School in front of her classmates. Following the surprise, Atlanta Braves players and Fox broadcasters helped Andee host a bake sale to support Andee’s Army.
Zack Leitz – The Backpack Project
Zack is 20-years-old and is a junior at University of Georgia. Zack established The Backpack Project, whose mission is to ease the burden of homelessness by making backpacks filled with food, clothes, and toiletries and distributing them to the homeless. The Atlanta Braves Foundation and Fox Sports South surprised Zack at Turner Field, where he thought he was packing bags with front office employees. Atlanta Braves players and Fox broadcasters helped Zack and his team pack bags and then traveled to the Salvation Army to serve lunch and distribute the backpacks.
For an overview of the entire week, please watch the video below:
Thank you to everyone who helped to make the inaugural Community Heroes Week a success and congratulations to our honorees!
The 8th annual Atlanta Braves Youth Baseball Classic presented by Bank of America, brought together youth baseball teams from across the Southeast to compete in a round robin/bracket style tournament at Wills Park in Alpharetta, Georgia on July 15-17. The tournament hosted 68 teams ranging in age from six to fourteen. Throughout the weekend, teams from Georgia, Florida, Tennessee, South Carolina and Alabama competed for the Tomahawk Trophy in their respective age divisions. On Saturday, July 16, each team traveled to Turner Field to watch the Braves vs. Colorado Rockies game. Over 1,000 players and family members walked around the warning track at Turner Field in the pregame parade before first pitch!
Teams who participated in the Atlanta Braves Youth Baseball Classic received:
- A team photo with Atlanta Braves infielder Jace Peterson and alumni pitcher Alejandro Pena
- 15 Outfield Pavilion tickets for the July 16th, Braves vs. Rockies game at 7:10pm
- An official Atlanta Braves Youth Baseball Classic T-shirt and Braves gift bag
- Opportunity to participate in a pre-game parade at Turner Field on July 16th
Congratulations to the following teams on their 1st and 2nd place finishes.
6U Age Division:
6U Knoxville Stars (Knoxville, TN)
6U Tullahoma Wildcats (Tullahoma, TN)
7U Age Division:
7U Diamond Simcox Academy – Orange (Knoxville, TN)
7U Middle Tennessee Baseball University (Hillsboro, TN)
8U Age Division:
8U Crushers Travel (Calhoun, GA)
8U Blazers (Nahunta, GA)
9U Age Division:
9U Tullahoma Elite Wildcats (Tullahoma, TN)
9U Georgia Yard Dogs (Dekalb County, GA)
10U Age Division:
10U Diamond Academy Legends (Rocky Face, GA)
10U Wallace Park Yankees (Smyrna, GA)
11U Age Division:
11U Earl Battey Baseball (Orlando, FL)
11U Gresham Park Yard Dogs (Dekalb County, GA)
12U Age Division:
12U OTC Xplosion (McDonough, GA)
12U Cyclones (Marietta, GA)
14U (54/80) Age Division:
14U Stixx Baseball (Anniston, AL)
14U Tide Baseball (Kennesaw, GA)
14U (60/90) Age Division:
14U Team Halo (Marietta, GA)
14U Valdosta Fire (Valdosta, GA)
On Saturday, July 16, athletes in the 6U – 8U age groups competed in three skills challenges. Three contestants from each team took to the diamond to determine the player in each age group with the best pitching accuracy, the quickest feet and the strongest bat. Congratulations to the following contestants for winning the respective events in their age group!
Golden Arm – Easton Housewright – Knoxville Stars (Knoxville, TN)
Home Run Derby – Jake Brinson – Albany All-Stars (Albany, GA)
Fleet Feet – Joe Williams – Hopewell Hammerheads (Milton, GA)
Golden Arm – Colton Morey – MT Elite (Murfreesboro, TN)
Home Run Derby – Waylen Burgess – Diamond Simcox Academy Orange (Knoxville, TN)
Fleet Feet – Gage Allen – Middle Tennessee Baseball University (Hillsboro, TN)
Golden Arm – Colby Comparato – Base Knox Royals (Knoxville, TN)
Home Run Derby – Colby Moore – Base Knox Royals (Knoxville, TN)
Fleet Feet – Cade Brooks – Panther Baseball (Cottontown, TN)
We are grateful for the support and look forward to Youth Baseball Classic 2017!
In July, as part of our Braves front office volunteer initiative, we partnered with the Atlanta Police Department and youth baseball players from the Atlanta Police Athletic League (PAL) for a friendly game of softball at the Atlanta Braves Baseball Academy located at the Villages at Carver YMCA.
Atlanta PAL is a non-profit whose mission is to provide a safe environment for youth to reach their full potential through partnership with police and the community. PAL utilizes athletics, activities, and other programming geared to improve quality-of-life for our youth participants, by promoting confidence, self-esteem, civic engagement, academic achievement, and social principles with the goal of aiding them in becoming nurturing, productive members of society.
Braves staff and PAL participants split into two teams, coached by Atlanta Police Department officers and played more than an hour of softball on the hottest day of the summer — a cool 100 degrees!
What an awesome way to show support of our local officers and their kiddos from PAL!
On Monday, June 27, the Atlanta Braves honored Donal Noonan as a Braves Country Community Hero presented by Chick-fil-A. Donal is the Founder and Director of The Atlanta Homeward Choir, a choral group for homeless men that uses music to encourage and uplift the members. The choir has attracted national attention and was invited to Washington D.C. during the 2015 holiday season to perform at the White House. While in D.C. the choir also sang on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Participation in the choir has deeply impacted its members, resulting in jobs and housing for many. All men are welcomed to continue singing with the choir even after finding their way out of homelessness. Donal hopes that these men can provide guidance to others who are still struggling.
At the ballpark on Monday, June 27, the members of The Atlanta Homeward Choir sang the national anthem to kick off the game between the Braves and the Cleveland Indians. The group enjoyed a Chick-fil-A dinner and Braves swag delivered to their seats. Many of the choir members watched themselves on the BravesVision video board as Donal was honored after the 6th inning.
For more information on The Atlanta Homeward Choir, please visit http://www.atlantahomewardchoir.org/
Watch the video below to see the Braves honor Donal at Turner Field!
On Saturday, June 25, the Atlanta Braves hosted Negro Leagues players from around the southeast during the annual Heritage Weekend celebration.
The players and their guests attended a special reception, presented by Grady Hospital, with food, live music, and special appearances from Braves outfielder Mallex Smith and Third Base Coach Bo Porter. Several of the Negro League players signed autographs in the plaza for fans and were then honored during an on-field presentation. The Negro League players enjoyed the Braves vs. New York Mets game from VIP suite with their family members.
To honor the Negro Leagues, the Atlanta Braves wore the Atlanta Black Crackers uniform and the New York Mets wore the Brooklyn Royal Giants uniforms. The game-worn autographed Atlanta Black Crackers jerseys auctioned online with proceeds benefitting the Center for Civil and Human Rights and the Atlanta Braves Foundation.
We enjoyed celebrating these men each year for their contributions to the game of baseball!
Participating Negro Leagues Players:
Carlton Banks – Kansas City Monarchs
Al Barks – New York Black Yankees
Cleophus “Hard Hitting” Brown – Birmingham Black Barons
JC Casselberry – Indianapolis Clowns
Henry Elmore – Birmingham Black Barons
Ernest Fann – Raleigh Tigers
Edward “Butch” Haynes – Indianapolis Clowns
Moses Herring – Raleigh Tigers
Alfonso Holt – Birmingham Black Barons
Willie Lee – Birmingham Black Barons
Jake Sanders – Kansas City Monarchs
Bob Scott – New York Black Yankees, Memphis Red Sox
Eugene Scruggs – Detroit Stars
Ron Smith – Satchel Paige All-Stars
Willie Walker – Birmingham Black Barons
Larry Williams – Kansas City Monarchs
Odell Wingfield – Atlanta Black Crackers
Archie “Dropo” Young – Birmingham Black Barons
The Atlanta Braves celebrated the 4th annual Heritage Weekend presented by Delta Air Lines, Grady Hospital, and Bank of America on June 24 – 25.
The 2016 Hank Aaron Champion for Justice Awards presented by Air Lines were held at The Center for Civil and Human Rights (CCHR) and hosted by V103’s Frank Ski. Derreck Kayongo, CEO of the CCHR, welcomed everyone and Braves Chairman Emeritus Bill Bartholomay presented the awards to four outstanding individuals who have made a lifelong commitment to overcoming industry obstacles and inspiring future generations.
The 2016 award recipients included:
Dolores Huerta – Dolores Huerta co-founded the United Farm Workers with Cesar Chavez in 1962, was a founding Board Member of the Feminist Majority Foundation, and is President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation. Among other prestigious honors, she has been awarded the Eleanor D. Roosevelt Human Rights Award from President Bill Clinton and the Medal of Freedom Award from President Obama.
Marc Morial – Marc Morial served two terms as Mayor or New Orleans before being elected as the President and CEO of the National Urban League. He was appointed by President Obama to serve as the Chair of the Census Advisory Committee and as a member of the President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability and the Department of Education’s Equity and Excellence Commission.
Oscar “The Big O” Robertson – Mr. Robertson led his high school basketball team to a national title – the first be an African American school in any sport. As the first three-time Collegiate Basketball National Player of the Year, NBA Rookie of the Year in 1961, NBA MVP in 1964, and the Co-Captain of the 1960 USA Olympic Gold Medal team, Oscar Robertson is commonly referred to as the “Player of the Century”, along with social activist, business owner, mentor, teacher and philanthropist.
John Schuerholz – Under the control of John Schuerholz, the Atlanta Braves won five National League pennants, one World Series, and several “Organization of the Year” awards. He is a member of the Atlanta Sports Hall of Fame, the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, and will be inducted into the Atlanta Braves Hall of Fame this year. He has also been recognized as the Major League Executive of the Year on multiple occasions. He is a longtime board member of YES Atlanta and Camp Sunshine.
Following the ceremony, the honorees participated in a spirited panel discussion moderated by Doug Shipman, the CEO and Managing Director of Brighthouse (Atlanta). The conversation centered around their individual journeys in working tirelessly for equality and civil rights for all of humanity and how sports unifies different cultures for a common goal. Mr. Morial shared his experiences growing up in Louisiana and dealing with racial inequality. Ms. Huerta described the inadequate working conditions farm workers experienced in the fields and the importance of giving a voice to the voiceless. This powerful conversation was well received by the audience and ended with a standing ovation.
Later that evening the honorees were recognized during a pre-game ceremony before the Braves vs. Mets game.
On Sunday, we celebrated our annual Prostate Cancer Awareness Day to honor men who have courageously battled prostate cancer and raise awareness in support of prostate cancer research.
Dr. Martin Sanda, Professor and Chief of Urology at Emory School of Medicine and Emory Healthcare, and Dr. Scott Miller, Director of Laparoscopic and Robotic Surgery at Georgia Urology and Northside Hospital led a discussion, to a full room in a pre-game health seminar in an effort to increase prostate health awareness. Forty survivors, family members and fans who wanted to learn more about prostate health attended this very informative session.
Dr. Miller spoke on early detection while Dr. Sanda covered frontiers in patient-centered care. This was followed up by a joint Q&A segment where participants were able to learn more about the topics discussed in the seminar and the direction of finding a cure for this disease.
After the seminar, we walked the survivors down to the field, where they were honored during a pre-game ceremony. Braves manager Brian Snitker, coach Bo Porter and Pitcher Jim Johnson came out and met the survivors and participate in the ceremony.
We are so thankful for the prostate cancer survivors that spent their Sunday with us. It was a great event and the Braves winning was certainly icing on the cake! We are certainly excited to see all of our survivors next year at SunTrust Park!
On Monday, June 13, the Atlanta Braves honored Lindsey Haas as a Braves Country Community Hero presented by Chick-fil-A. Lindsey is the founder of Fairy Tale Endings, a non-profit organization that collects dresses, shoes, and jewelry for disadvantaged teenage girls to attend prom. Fairy Tale Endings hosts private fittings and provides complimentary hair, make up, and photography services. Girls are referred to Fairy Tale Endings by guidance counselors at school, so that no other students know that they are in need.
After the birth of her first child, Lindsey wanted to show her daughter the importance of giving back to the community and the impact that one person can have. Lindsey had about 25 dresses that she didn’t know what to do with. Many of the dresses had sentimental value, so she wanted to do something special with them. In the first four months of Fairy Tale Endings, Lindsey was able to collect 600 dresses. Since Lindsey began her work in 2009, she has helped make the dreams of over 150 girls come true. Lindsey shared that the biggest personal reward is watching these girls transform into true princesses.
Fairy Tale Endings is in need of monetary donations to help with dry cleaning bills and prom tickets for those girls who can’t afford to attend prom. Larger dresses are harder to come by, so the organization is always looking for dresses size 16 and up and silver high heeled shoes.
To learn more about Fairy Tale Endings, please visit www.fairytaleendings.org.
Watch the video below to see Lindsey being honored at Turner Field!
The Atlanta Braves Foundation recently hosted our largest fundraiser of the season — Foundation Weekend. This annual event is a sports memorabilia sale and silent auction. Fans are able to purchase and bid on unique autographed memorabilia including bats, baseball and jerseys, one-of-a-kind Turner Field collectibles, framed pieces, and VIP experiences.
To ensure that there was something for every fan, young and old, at all price points, raffle were held for select autographed items. To make it fun and interesting, we allowed fans to purchase enough tickets to stretch the length of their wingspan for only twenty dollars! Fans were also encouraged to take advantage of Blue Light Specials where for a 10 minute period, certain autographed items were significantly discounted.
The funds raised during the Atlanta Braves Foundation Weekend will be distributed to numerous nonprofit organizations in Metro Atlanta through the foundation grants Program. For more information on the Atlanta Braves Foundation Grants Program, please visit www.braves.com/grants.
Thank you to all who supported the annual Atlanta Braves Foundation Weekend!