The Atlanta Braves Avoided What the New York Yankees Could Not

Harold FriendChief Writer IMay 20, 2009

NEW YORK - MAY 13:  Chipper Jones #10 of the Atlanta Braves bats against the New York Mets on May 13, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Braves defeated the Mets 8-7 in twelve innings.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The Atlanta Braves made the playoffs every season from 1991-2005, with the exception of 1994, when there were no playoffs or World Series.

They are considered the most successful National League team during that time period, but when one views their page on, 13 of the 14 listings under "Playoffs" starts with the word "Lost".

Success is Making the Playoffs

In the 21st century, making the playoffs is considered a success. This explains why the Braves are not considered losers, despite winning the World Series only once in 14 playoff appearances.

The Yankees won four World Championships from 1996-2000, but the Braves avoided the most ignominious loss in playoff history in 1999, something the Yankees could not do in 2004.

The Braves Won the First Three Games

The Braves took the first three games of the second round of the 1999 playoffs against the wild-card New York Mets.

They managed only nine runs in the three games, including winning the third game with only a first-inning run that future Met Tom Glavine made hold up.

The Mets Won Two Clutch Games

The Mets beat fan favorite John Rocker in Game Four on a John Olerud two-run single, which gave Mets fans and players tremendous satisfaction after Rocker had blasted them for being "impolite."

Rocker had the audacity to criticize the crude language and abusive taunts hurled at him by Mets fans.

Turk Wendell didn't hide his feelings. 

"He got everything that was coming to him," Wendell said. "It was very pleasurable." .

The next game was a classic that lasted 15 innings.

In a game that neither team deserved to win, the Braves broke a 2-2 tie with a run in the top of the 15th inning, but the Mets loaded the bases in their half of the inning with one out. Braves relief pitcher Kevin McGlinchy walked Todd Pratt to even the score.

Robin Ventura hit a ball over the fence, but he was mobbed by his teammates before he reached second base, and was credited with a game-winning single.

Only the Second Time Ever

The 1999 Mets were only the second team in playoff history to win two games after losing the first three games.

The 1998 Braves were the first.  They lost the first three games to the Padres and won the next two games, but lost Game 6.

In the World Series, only the 1910 Cubs, the 1937 Giants, and the 1970 Reds managed to win Game Four to avoid a sweep.  The team leading three games to none swept its opponent 19 times.

Confident Mets

The Mets' confidence was increased by the fact that the Braves had 25 base runners in the fifth game and only three scored.

During one stretch, 9-of-14 Braves reached base. None scored.

Braves hitting coach Don Baylor admitted, "It's a problem. It really is."

Kevin Millwood, the Braves' Game Six starter, praised the Mets. "It wouldn't surprise us whatever happens," Millwood said. "We definitely don't want to go to a seventh game."

Close But Not Quite

The Braves won the playoffs by beating the Mets, 10-9, but not before the Mets overcame five first-inning Atlanta runs. Then it was the Mets' turn to fail to close it out.

They went ahead, 8-7 in the top of the eighth inning, but the Braves tied the game.

The Mets scored the go-ahead run in the 10th, only to have the Braves' Ozzie Guillen single home Andruw Jones to tie the game.

Finally, Kenny Rogers walked home the winning run in the 11th inning.

The Red Sox Did What the Mets Did Not

The Braves avoided what the 2004 Yankees could not. The Braves clawed their way to a 10-9 win to get rid of the Mets.

Five seasons later, the Yankees won the first three games of the ALCS against the Red Sox.  Unlike the Braves, the Yankees could not get rid of the Red Sox in Game Six.

They couldn't get rid of them in the seventh game either


By MURRAY CHASS. (1999, October 19). Braves' Lead No Longer Seems Insurmountable :On Baseball . New York Times (1857-Current file),D5. Retrieved May 20, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 117201632).

No Sympathy From Wendell. (1999, October 17). New York Times (1857-Current file),p. 403. Retrieved May 20, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 117200264).

GEORGE VECSEY. (1999, October 17). For Rocker, It's Another Night in Fun City :Sports of The Times 'I don't feel the least bit bad,' says the man who chides all Flushing. . New York Times (1857-Current file),403. Retrieved May 20, 2009, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 - 2005) database. (Document ID: 117200263).

Braves-Mets at Retrosheet


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