Bible Belt baseball and the American journey
Last week, these United States celebrated the 235th anniversary of its birth in 1776. Next week, barring an aberrant losing streak, the Atlanta Braves will celebrate its 10,000th major league baseball* victory, the first of which took place in 1876 with the creation of today’s National League, five years after their 1871 founding** in Boston and only a 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
But what has any of that to do with this year’s 400th anniversary of the first printing of the King James Bible, you might ask. Would there have been Puritans and Pilgrims to flee the Old World for the New World absent the explosion of a priesthood of believers no longer content to bow to the Church of England? 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 shot back from Fort Sumter? 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!
Several weeks ago we first learned that the oldest franchise in Major League Baseball had made up 526 games in 20 years of the Bobby Cox Era to stand at 9,982 wins and 9,982 losses to reach a .500 winning percentage for the first time since 1923.
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 to be found in the number. 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 disbanded 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, the National Association of Professional Baseball Players.
*The 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 with their first World Series championship.
Spahn, Sain, praying for rain and bean eating made brave men men thirsty, so they took the bus to Milwaukee for some brewskis and ended up staying and making that city even more famous by defeating the New York Yankees for their second championship of the known baseball world.
Welcome South Brother, move over pigskins
After half of King James Version-reading Dixie voted for John F. Kennedy, The Powers that Be noticed that Ike’s interstate highways intersected where Atlanta Crackers sold out Ponce de Leon Park. Atlanta was not, after all, Gone with the Wind! And after all, College is out in the Summer and its too hot for football anyway.
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’s first major pro sports championship. Tinker, Evans 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 9,998 wins and the King James Bible is the best-selling book of all-time.
Praise God in the Land of the Free and the Home of the…Braves!
P.S. from Braves-Gamecock: Beat the Phillies!
Legal Editor – The Minority Report
Atlanta Law & Politics columnist for Examiner.com
“One man with courage makes a majority.” – Andrew Jackson
More DeVine Gamecock rooster crowings at Modern Conservative, Hillbilly Politics, Unified Patriots, Political Daily and Conservative Outlooks. All Charlotte Observer and Atlanta Journal-Constitution op-eds archived at Townhall.com.