M-Braves Historic Milestones
May 11, 2004: Ground Breaking Ceremony
The Ground Breaking Ceremony on May 11, 2004, made the move to Mississippi official. Dignitaries from Mississippi, Atlanta and Greenville, including Governor Haley Barbour, Atlanta Braves Executive Vice President Mike Plant and M-Braves General Manager Steve DeSalvo, were on hand as construction of the home of the M-Braves got underway.
April 7, 2005: Opening Day
After two Southern League Championships throughout its 20-plus year history in Greenville, SC, the Atlanta Braves decided to move the AA franchise to Pearl, MS. The M-Braves played its first game at Montgomery Riverwalk Stadium on April 7, 2005. The M-Braves lineup featured future big-leaguers Jeff Francoeur, Brian McCann, Scott Thorman, Gregor Blanco, Luis Hernandez and Anthony Lerew. Francoeur & McCann both homered in their first AA game, but the Braves lost to Montgomery 9-8.
April 12, 2005: First Win
The Mississippi Braves defeated the West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx 7-4 in game two of a doubleheader on April 12, 2005, to claim the first win in M-Braves history. A five-run sixth inning highlighted by Derrick Gibson's two-run single gave the M-Braves the win.
April 18, 2005: Home Opener
Construction on Trustmark Park began in May of 2004 and the gates opened for fans for the first time on April 18, 2005. 7,062 fans filed into Trustmark Park to watch the hometown Mississippi Braves take on the Montgomery Biscuits. Despite holding a 4-2 lead after three innings, the M-Braves fell to Delmon Young and the Biscuits, 11-6.
June 7, 2005: McCann to the Majors
On June 7, 2005, Brian McCann became the first Mississippi Braves player promoted directly to Atlanta. He was one of five M-Braves promoted directly to Atlanta in 2005 and one of 10 total players that made their big league debuts that year.
July 7, 2005: Francoeur to Atlanta
One month after childhood friend Brian McCann got the call, Jeff Francoeur was promoted to the Atlanta Braves where he homered in his first big league game. He was one of five M-Braves promoted directly to Atlanta in 2005 and one of 10 total players that made their big league debuts that year.
November 16, 2005: Blauser Named Manager
Former big leaguer and Atlanta Braves fan-favorite Jeff Blauser was named Manager of the Mississippi Braves on November 16, 2005. Blauser compiled a record of 58-80 in his lone season at the helm of the M-Braves.
August 11 & 12, 2006: Chipper Jones Rehab Appearances
Atlanta Braves legend Chipper Jones played at Trustmark Park on consecutive days in August of 2006. Jones was coming off of the disabled list and needed a couple of games to get his timing worked out and chose to complete his rehab assignment with the AA Braves. With Jones manning third base, 7,577 fans saw the future Hall-of-Famer in Mississippi. That set a new M-Braves record for attendance only to be broken the next night as 7,652 fans came out to see Jones. While the M-Braves went 1-1 with Jones in the lineup, he went 1-6 at the plate with a run scored.
October 17, 2006: Wellman Named Manager
After serving as the AA hitting coach for three years, Phillip Wellman was named the Mississippi Braves' third manager in as many seasons on October 17, 2006. Wellman led the M-Braves to its first playoff appearance in 2007 and its first Southern League Championship in 2008. In four years as the M-Braves Manager, Wellman compiled a record of 268-285.
May 1, 2007: Nine Stolen Bases
On May 1, 2007, the Mississippi Braves defeated the Mobile BayBears 9-8 in front of 5,321 fans at Hank Aaron Stadium. The Braves stole a team-record nine bases in that game. Mike Rozema stole second twice, Josh Burrus stole second once, Matt Esquivel stole second twice, Van Pope stole second twice and third once and Jarrod Saltalamacchia stole third once.
June 17, 2007: M-Braves Win First Half
On the last day of the first half of the 2007 season, the Mississippi Braves defeated the Mobile BayBears 5-2 to clinch the first playoff berth in team history. The M-Braves held a six-game lead in the standings with eight games to play, but lost six straight games putting their playoff future in doubt. The Braves rallied to defeat the BayBears on consecutive days and win the Southern League South First Half Championship by one game over the Jacksonville Suns.
July 9, 2007: Southern League All-Star Game
On July 9, 2007, Trustmark Park played host to the Trustmark Bank 2007 Southern League All-Star game. The M-Braves were well represented as the Mississippi coaching staff led the South Division All-Stars which also included 10 M-Braves. Birmingham's Thomas Collaro won the Home Run Derby and the North All-Stars won the game, 7-4.
September 7, 2007: First Playoff Win
With the Braves trailing in the series, 1-0, and the score tied at three in game two of the SLDS, Mississippi plated five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to defeat the Montgomery Biscuits and secure the first playoff win in team history. The M-Braves were overmatched by a more talented Biscuits squad, but fought hard before losing the series, three-games-to-one.
June 25, 2008: Hanson's No-Hitter
Tommy Hanson threw the first no-hitter in Mississippi Braves history on June 25, 2008. Hanson struck out a career-high and team record 14 batters as the M-Braves defeated the Birmingham Barons, 6-0. It was only the second nine-inning complete game by an M-Braves starter and the first complete-game shutout.
July 24-27, 2008: Young's Hitting Streak
Matt Young set a new Southern League record by getting a hit in 11 consecutive at-bats from July 24-27, 2008. He also set a record by reaching base in 16 consecutive plate appearances. Young broke the record, previously held by two Jacksonville players from the 70's, with a 4-5 night at the plate in the Braves 9-0 win over Chattanooga. On July 24, Young went 1-4 then followed that with 4-4, 2-2, and 4-5 nights at the plate.
August 9, 2008: Tom Glavine Rehab Appearance
300-game winner and Braves Hall-of-Famer Tom Glavine joined the M-Braves on August 9, 2008. Glavine faced off against the Mobile BayBears and gave up three runs on four hits in five innings of work. The always gracious Glavine hung around Trustmark Park and signed autographs for fans for over an hour following his outing.
August 27, 2008: M-Braves Win Second Half
The M-Braves defeated the Mobile BayBears 7-2 on August 27, 2008, and the Montgomery Biscuits lost to West Tennessee that night, 8-1. The Braves win combined with the Biscuits loss clinched the Southern League South's second-half title and gave the M-Braves its second playoff appearance in as many seasons.
September 13, 2008: Southern League Championship
The M-Braves captured its first Southern League Championship on September 13, 2008. The M-Braves swept the Birmingham Barons three-games-to-none in the SLDS and defeated the Carolina Mudcats three-games-to-two in the best of five SLCS. The M-Braves won five one-run and four extra-inning games on its way to the championship. Kala Ka'aihue was named the SLCS MVP after hitting .429 with a double, three homers, six RBI and five runs scored.
April 12, 2009: Glavine Rehabs Again
Atlanta Braves Hall-of-Famer Tom Glavine made another rehab appearance with the M-Braves on April 12, 2009. Glavine gave up one earned run on three hits and a walk in two innings of work as the M-Braves defeated the Carolina Mudcats 7-4.
May 1, 2009: 1 Millionth Fan
With 3,022 fans at Trustmark Park Friday, May 1, 2009 the Mississippi Braves eclipsed the 1,000,000 fan mark. Abigail Giddens, a 10-year old from Jackson, MS, was the Braves' 1,000,000th fan, and she was showered with Braves gifts Friday night.
June 1, 2009: Longest Game in M-Braves History
The M-Braves played the longest game (16 innings) in its team history on June 1, 2009, when the Braves defeated West Tennessee 5-4 at Trustmark Park. Mississippi plated three runs in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game at 3-all. The Diamond Jaxx took a 4-3 lead in the top of the 11th frame, but the home team responded with a run in the bottom half the inning to make it 4-4. With the bases loaded, Concepcion Rodriguez was hit by a pitch to bring home the winning run.
July 4, 2009: Heyward Promoted to Mississippi
Jason Heyward was promoted to AA Mississippi from High-A Myrtle Beach on July 4, 2009. Heyward was named by Baseball America as the 2009 Minor League Player of the Year after hitting .323 with 17 home runs and 63 RBIs in three minor league stops. He entered the 2010 season ranked as the #1 overall prospect by Baseball America, MLB.com, and ESPN.com, and debuted with Atlanta on opening day, April 5, 2010.
May 8, 2010: Shortest Game in Team History
The M-Braves broke its previous record for the shortest game in team history by one minute on May 8, 2010. Mississippi defeated Birmingham 1-0 at Trustmark Park in just one hour and 57 minutes. The previous record was one hour and 58 minutes on September 2, 2006, against the Montgomery Biscuits.
June 17, 2010: Breaking Team Highs
Mississippi broke several team records en route to a 17-8 victory over Carolina at Five County Stadium on June 17, 2010. The Braves' 17 runs broke the previous record of 14, which occurred twice and last happened on May 25, 2007, against Montgomery. Those 17 runs came via 21 total hits for the M-Braves. The previous high of 18 hits in a game occurred four times with the last time on August 18, 2008, at Carolina. The Mudcats added 14 hits to the M-Braves' 21, pushing the total for both clubs to 35 and breaking the previous record of 34 hits at Chattanooga on August 11, 2005. With eight doubles in the contest, the M-Braves also broke its previous record for most doubles (7 on May 5, 2006 at MTG).
August 2, 2010: Teheran, Harris No-Hit BayBears
19-year-old Julio Teheran, in his second AA start, and Tyrelle Harris, in his first AA appearance, combined to toss a no-hitter against the Mobile BayBears as the M-Braves claimed a 2-0 shutout victory. Teheran, who threw 95 pitches on the night, walked three while fanning seven in 5.2 innings of work. Harris worked 3.1 innings of relief, walking one and fanning six, to notch his first save with the M-Braves. The no-hitter was the second in M-Braves history after Tommy Hanson tossed a complete game no-hitter on July 25, 2008.
November 18, 2010: Wheeler Named Manager
Ralph "Rocket" Wheeler became the fourth manager in M-Braves history when the 2011 field staff was announced on November 18, 2010. Wheeler returned to the Southern League where he managed Tennessee (2000-02) prior to leading Myrtle Beach, the Braves' High-A affiliate, for five seasons (2006-10) and Low-A Rome for three seasons (2003-05).
June 17, 2011: Delgado Summoned to Atlanta
M-Braves RHP Randall Delgado was promoted to the Atlanta Braves on June 17, 2011, where he made his MLB debut against the Texas Rangers at Turner Field. With the promotion, the 21-year-old Delgado became the 11th M-Brave and the first since September 2007 to receive a promotion directly from Double-A to the show.
July 5, 2011: Pastornicky Completes the Cycle
With an eighth-inning triple to right-center, shortstop Tyler Pastornicky
became the first player in M-Braves history to hit for the cycle. After fanning in his first at bat, Pastornicky launched a home run to left in the third, singled in the fourth, and doubled in the fifth. He then lined out in the seventh before the history-making triple.
August 16, 2011: Mejia Sets Single-Season Home Run Record
Ernesto Mejia launched a two-out, three-run home run in the bottom of the fifth to give the M-Braves a 3-2 lead en route to a 5-4 victory over the Huntsville Stars. Mejia's 20th blast of the year went over the batter's eye at Trustmark Park, thus breaking Matt Esquivel's single-season HR record (19) from 2007.
September 3, 2011: Mejia Becomes M-Braves Career Home Run Leader
With a two homer night on September 3, 2011, first baseman Ernesto Mejia became the M-Braves career home run leader with 25 home runs. He broke Matt Esquivel (2006-07) and Michael Rosamond's (2005-06) previous number of 24 career home runs. Mejia finished the season with 26 homers, raising the bar for both career and single-season records.
October 18, 2011: Holbert Becomes Fifth M-Braves Manager
Aaron Holbert was named the fifth manager in M-Braves history on October 18, 2011, taking the place of Rocket Wheeler, who led the club during the 2011 season. Holbert joined the Atlanta Braves organization after spending four seasons as a manager in the Cleveland Indians farm system, including back-to-back playoff division series (2010-11) and ultimately claiming the 2011 Carolina League Southern Division crown. Holbert was also named by Baseball America as the best manager at the Advanced-A level in 2011.
May 31, 2012: Simmons Promoted to Atlanta
Shortstop Andrelton Simmons was called up by the Atlanta Braves on May 31, 2012, becoming the 12th player in M-Braves history to be promoted directly to Atlanta from Mississippi. At that time, the Southern League All-Star had 10 stolen bases, nine doubles, three homers, and 21 RBI.
July 1, 2012: Sheets Signed by Atlanta, Assigned to Double-A
Four-time Major League All-Star Ben Sheets was signed to a minor league contract by the Atlanta Braves and assigned to Double-A Mississippi on July 1, 2012. He made two starts for the M-Braves at Trustmark Park before joining the big league club in Atlanta.
August 6, 2012: Franchise Win No. 500
With a 2-1 victory over the Chattanooga Lookouts on August 6, 2012, the M-Braves picked up its 500th victory since making the move from Greenville, SC, to Pearl, MS, in 2005. Mississippi entered the 2012 season with 451 franchise wins.
September 6, 2012: Moran Claims ERA Title
RHP Gary Moran claimed the Southern League ERA Title, posting a 2.91 ERA in 29 games with the M-Braves. Moran began the season in the M-Braves bullpen where he made five appearances before moving into the starting rotation. With the title, Moran became the first Brave since 1978 (Savannah) to win the ERA Title. Moran finished the season with 10 consecutive quality starts.
March 30, 2013: Atlanta Braves at Trustmark Park
The Atlanta Braves played an exhibition game at Trustmark Park in front of a record crowd of 8,217. At the time, it was the largest crowd in park history. The game sold out in less than 48 hours. The A-Braves defeated the Braves Future Stars, managed by Braves Hall of Famer Bobby Cox, 10-0 in the historical contest.
May 30, 2013: Wood Promoted to Atlanta
LHP Alex Wood was called up to the show becoming the 13th player in M-Braves history to receive a promotion directly to Atlanta from Mississippi. Wood was 4-2 with a 1.26 ERA in 10 starts for the M-Braves. He also worked 19.1 consecutive innings without allowing a run (33.2 IP without giving up an earned run).
September 2, 2013: M-Braves Claim Wild Card Spot
The M-Braves defeated the Jacksonville Suns on the road in extra innings to claim the wild card spot in the Southern League Playoffs. It was the Braves first playoff appearance since the 2008 championship season. The Mobile BayBears defeated the M-Braves three-games-to-one to advance to the SLCS against Birmingham.
May 26, 2014: 2 Millionth Fan
With a crowd of 2,597 at Trustmark Park, the M-Braves welcomed fan number 2,000,000. Holly Hicks was showered with lots of Braves gears including season tickets, jerseys and other autographed memorabilia.
May 31, 2014: Florida Georgia Line Concert
Trustmark Park hosted its first major concert, Florida Georgia Line's This is How We Roll Summer Series Tour, on May 31. The ballpark tour featured Nelly & Chris Lane as opening acts and drew a record crowd of more than 14,000 people. It was the largest concert ever in Rankin County.
September 1, 2014: Best Record in the Southern League
The M-Braves wrapped up the 2014 season with the best overall record in the Southern League but finished second in both halves of the season and missed the post-season. The Braves won 12 of their final 15 games while Jacksonville claimed 15 of their final 18 games to win the second half title. The team's record (83-56) was the best in M-Braves history, and it was the fourth-best record in Double-A Braves franchise history (best since 1992).
May 6-10, 2015: M-Braves Host Biloxi Series
The M-Braves and Biloxi Shuckers squared off against each other for the first time May 6-10 at Trustmark Park. The series was originally scheduled at Biloxi but was moved to Pearl due to MGM Park's construction delays. The Shuckers won the inaugural game 8-7 but the Braves took the series 3-games-to-2.