Friday Flashback: Atlanta Crackers

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The Crackers were minor league baseball teams that played from 1901-1965 in various leagues until the arrival of the Braves in 1966.

For 60 years, the Crackers were part of the Class AA Southern Association.  They won more games than anoy other team and were known as the “Yankees of the Minors”. The Crackers won more league championships than any other Southern Association team. The Crackers twice won the Dixie Series, which pitted the Southern Association champion against the top team from the Texas League. Finishing with the Southern Association’s best record, winning its playoff series to capture the pennant, and winning the Dixie Series was a feat called “hitting the Southern Association’s grand slam,” which the Crackers did twice (in 1938 and 1954), more often than any other team in the league.

No one is quite sure on the origin of the “crackers” name.  Some think it came from a shortened version of an earlier team called the “firecrackers”

The most notable players for the Crackers were: Luke Appling, Eddie Mathews, Tim McCarver
Chuck Tanner and Charley Trippi

Ernie Harwell was an announcer for the Crakcers from 1943-1949 before being traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers for catcher Cliff Dapper which is the only time an announcer has been traded for a player.

The Crackers played in Ponce de Leon Park from 1907-1964.   They played their last season in the newly built Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

Crackers-Magnolia2Ponce de Leon Park was known for a magnolia tree in deep center field. Balls landing in the tree remained in play, until Earl Mann took over the team in 1947 and had the outfield wall moved in about 50 feet.During exhibition games, Babe Ruth and Eddie Mathews both hit home runs that became stuck in the distant tree. The famous magnolia tree is still standing at the rear of the shopping center along the BeltLine trail.

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