This Day in Baseball History: January 14th, 1976

Anyone else love the Family Guy with him in it?

On January 14, 1976:

Ted Turner officially obtained 100% of the Atlanta Braves.

After being expelled from Brown (he was a Classics major –interesting) for having a female in his dormitory (a little excessive isn’t it, but then again, different times, different values), Turner returned home to work in his father’s business, Turner Advertising Company. When his father committed suicide in 1963, Turner took over his father’s company at the age of 24. Turner built the company and began buying Southern TV and radio stations, quickly making his company global. He bought the Atlanta TV station WTCG in 1970 and made it a top-rated station.

Needing sport programming for the network, he bought the Braves for $12 million dollars. He admittedly didn’t know much about baseball at the time (though he would later manage the team for one game), but he had plenty of ideas of what was going to happen to the team. First, they were going to win and bring in attendance. The team had not been bringing in many people (524,000 the previous season), and to Turner, this was not acceptable. Second, he wanted to change the name of the Braves to the Eagles in order to fit in with the Falcons and the Hawks, the NFL and NBA Atlanta teams, respectively. Only one of the two actually occurred.

His main objective, however, was his programming empire, and later in December 1976, his answer came. An RCA satellite was sent into space, and Turner took advantage by bouncing his programming off the satellite and making his network a national “superstation”, the first of its kind, and “America’s Team” was born. In 1979, he changed the name of the station to WTBS, Turner Broadcasting System.

This has particular interest for me because this is how I fell in love with the Braves — TBS. His buying of the Braves was a move to help his broadcasting networks, and as a result, they were one of the few teams I could see on a regular basis (the Cubs and Reds being the others). I didn’t like the Cubs or Reds because my father and oldest brother are Cardinals fans, so the Braves were the team left. It didn’t hurt that, at about the time I started paying attention, the Braves won the World Series in 1995 and had started their consecutive division championship streak a few years before. Still, without TBS, I wouldn’t be a Braves fan. I’m still sad TBS doesn’t broadcast Braves games anymore.


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