2021 World Series: Here’s what to know about the Atlanta Braves

HOUSTON — The Atlanta Braves are playing in their 10th World Series when Game 1 begins Tuesday night. Fittingly, the Braves return to baseball’s marquee event in the 150th year of the franchise.

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In 1871, the team that would become the Braves would become a charter member of the National Association. Then known as the Red Stockings, the franchise won four pennants in the five-year history of the league. When the National League was formed in 1876, the team was a charter member and played the first game in league history, defeating Philadelphia 6-5 on April 22, 1876. They have been in the N.L. ever since.

The Braves were trailblazers when baseball began shifting west, moving from Boston to Milwaukee in 1953 to mark the first franchise shift in 50 years. The Braves were also the first team to call the Deep South home, as they moved from Wisconsin to Atlanta for the 1966 season.

Since coming to Atlanta, the Braves have reached the World Series six times: 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1999 and 2021. They are the only team to win a World Series while being based in three different cities: Boston in 1914, Milwaukee in 1957, and Atlanta in 1995.

Here are some things to know about the Braves.

How they got here: The Braves defeated the Milwaukee Brewers in the National League Division Series, winning the best-of-five playoff 3-1. Then they defeated the defending World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers in six games to capture the National League Championship Series and earn a spot in the Fall Classic.

Title drought: Since winning the World Series in 1995, the Braves have made 16 appearances in the playoffs, including 12 since their last Series appearance in 1999, according to ESPN.

Head to head: Atlanta holds a 381-325-1 lead against Houston in regular-season play, according to The Sporting News. The two teams did not meet this year in the regular season. They met annually when both teams were in the National League from 1962, when the Houston franchise began play, until 2012. The Astros moved to the American League beginning in 2013. The last time the two teams met was in July 2017 for a two-game series in Atlanta. The World Series-bound Astros won easily in both games,16-4 and 10-4.

Playoff history: The teams have met five times between 1997 and 2005 when both teams were in the N.L. The Braves eliminated the Astros in the 1997 NLDS (3-0), 1999 NLDS (3-1) and 2001 NLDS (3-0). Houston beat the Braves in both the 2004 NLDS (3-2) and 2005 NLDS (3-1). Neither team won the World Series in those years, although Atlanta reached the Fall Classic in 1999 and Houston played in the 2005 Series.

Experienced: Charlie Morton, 37, will be the oldest pitcher to start Game 1 of a World Series since the Astros’ Roger Clemens in 2005. Clemens was 43 when he started Game 1, MLB.com reported. Morton pitched for the Astros when they won the World Series in 2017. He will be appearing in his third World Series, but with three different teams -- the Astros in 2017, the Tampa Bay Rays in 2020, and now the Braves in 2020, according to The Athletic.

Stretch run: The Braves are only the fourth major league team to reach the World Series despite having a losing record at the All-Star break, ESPN reported. They join the 1964 St. Louis Cardinals, the 1973 New York Mets and the 1991 Braves. This year’s Braves were 44-45 heading into the All-Star break, according to Baseball-reference.com. The Braves were not above .500 until their 111th game of the season, according to The Athletic. The closest example? The 1914 Braves, who were located in Boston that year. It took the “Miracle Braves” 91 games to fashion a winning record, and this was during a 154-game regular season; this year’s squad played 162 regular-season games.

Amazing Eddie: Eddie Rosario, the MVP of the NLCS, hit .560 against the Dodgers. That is the third-highest average in a postseason series with at least 25 plate appearances, according to The Athletic. Only David Ortiz’s .688 mark in the 2013 World Series and Edgar Martinez’s .571 mark in the 1995 ALDS Series is better.

Joctober pearls: Joc Pederson has hit .586 in the postseason, and his pearl necklace has become a signature fashion statement for the Braves -- sort of like the Angels’ Rally Monkey in 2002. The Braves have been selling replica strands at the ballpark for $5, according to Sports Illustrated. However, Pederson is aiming for more jewelry, like a World Series ring. If the Braves win the Series, Pederson will become one of eight players to win World Series in back-to-back seasons with different teams, according to MLB.com. Pederson won with the Dodgers last year. If Atlanta wins he will join Ben Zobrist (2015 Royals, 2016 Cubs), Jake Peavy (2013 Red Sox, 2014 Giants), Ryan Theriot (2011 Cardinals, 2012 Giants), Jack Morris (1991 Twins, 1992 Blue Jays), Don Gullett (1976 Reds, 1977 Yankees), Bill Skowron (1962 Yankees, 1963 Dodgers), Clem Labine (1959 Dodgers, 1960 Pirates) and Allie Clark (1947 Yankees, 1948 Indians).

Thieves: The Braves have not thrown out a runner attempting to steal during the postseason, according to Sports Illustrated. The Brewers were 2-for-2 in the NLDS, while the Dodgers stole 11 bases in the NLCS. While the Astros only stole 53 bases all season – second lowest in the A.L. -- they were 5-for-5 against the White Sox in the ALDS.

Different venues: When the Braves host Game 3 on Friday at Truist Park, it will mark the third stadium venue for a World Series involving Atlanta. The Braves played the 1991, 1992, 1995 and 1996 games at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and competed in the 1999 Fall Classic at Turner Field.

Name game: The Braves have gone through several name changes during their 145 years in the N.L.: Red Stockings (1876-1882), Beaneaters (1893-1906), Doves (1907-1910), Rustlers (1911) and Braves (1912 to the present). From 1936 to 1940, the franchise was also known as the Bees.

Retired numbers: The Braves have retired 10 uniform numbers through the years. All but one had a direct connection to the team since it has been in Atlanta. Warren Spahn (No. 21) played for the team while it was in Boston and Milwaukee. Eddie Mathews (No. 41), played in all three cities (one year in Atlanta) but managed the Braves from 1972 to 1974. Retired uniform numbers include Dale Murphy (No. 3), Chipper Jones (No. 10), John Smoltz (No. 29), Greg Maddux (No. 31), Phil Niekro (No. 35), Hank Aaron (No. 44) and Tom Glavine (No. 47). Bobby Cox (No. 6) managed the team from 1990 to 2010. An 11th number, 42, is retired by every major league team to honor Jackie Robinson, who broke the modern-day color line in 1947. Of those players, only Murphy is not in the Hall of Fame.