Memorable moments in the history of Turner Field
On Sunday, the Braves will play their last game at Turner Field and the stadium will move on to its next chapter, likely as a college football field. Since it opened for the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, it’s been the site of many memorable moments:
July 19, 1996 — Muhammad Ali, stricken by Parkinson’s disease and hands trembling, lights the cauldron to open the Summer Games at what was then known as Centennial Olympic Stadium.
July 29, 1996 — Carl Lewis wins the last of his nine gold medals with a dramatic victory in the long jump. He remains one of just three athletes to capture the same event at four straight Olympics, along with Al Oerter and Michael Phelps.
Aug. 1, 1996 — Wearing golden shoes, Michael Johnson crushes the world record with a time of 19.32 seconds in the 200 meters. He completes an unprecedented men’s 200-400 double at the Olympics, and his mark will stand until Usain Bolt eclipses it 12 years later in Beijing.
April 4, 1997 — Following the Olympics, the stadium is downsized from the 85,000 to 50,000 and renamed Turner Field in time for the next baseball season. Opening night features a ceremony with Hank Aaron, stadium namesake Ted Turner throws out the first pitch, and the Braves rally to beat the Chicago Cubs 5-4. Chipper Jones has the first hit in the new park, and also drives in the winning run. Michael Tucker hits the first homer.
Sept. 30, 1997 — The Braves open the NL division series with a 2-1 victory over the Astros, the first of 38 postseason games that would be played at Turner Field. After a three-game sweep of Houston, Atlanta goes on to lose to the Florida Marlins in the NL championship series.
Oct. 19, 1999 — The Braves win the NL pennant with a memorable 10-9 victory over the New York Mets in Game 6. Atlanta squanders an early 5-0 lead, rallies from one-run deficits in the eighth and 10th innings, and finally prevails in the 11th on Andruw Jones’ bases-loaded walk off Kenny Rogers. The Braves are then swept by the New York Yankees in the only World Series played at Turner Field.
July 10-11, 2000 — The All-Star Game comes to Atlanta for the first time since 1972. Sammy Sosa wins the home-run derby with a dominating performance and hometown favorite Chipper Jones hits the game’s only home run. The AL beats the NL 6-3.
Oct. 5, 2003 — The Chicago Cubs win their first postseason series since 1908, knocking off the Braves 5-1 in Game 5 of the NL division series.
May 18, 2004 — Arizona’s Randy Johnson’s throws a perfect game, the first of three no-hitters that will be pitched at Turner Field — all by visiting teams.
Sept. 12, 2006 — The Braves are officially eliminated from the NL East race, ending an unprecedented streak of 14 straight division titles. They also miss the wild card, marking the first time since 1990 that Atlanta sits out baseball’s postseason.
July 17, 2009 — Greg Maddux becomes the first Braves player to have his number retired at Turner Field with a ceremony unveiling No. 31 on the facade in left field. Over the next four seasons, the team also honors Tom Glavine (47), Bobby Cox (6), John Smoltz (29) and Chipper Jones (10).
Oct. 11, 2010 — Cox manages the Braves for the final time, losing 3-2 to the San Francisco Giants in the NL division series. He finishes his Hall of Fame career as the fourth winningest manager in baseball history (2,504 regular-season victories).
Oct. 5, 2012 — The first wild-card playoff game in baseball history is a wild affair, as a disputed infield fly call leads fans to litter the field with trash. The Braves lose to the Cardinals 6-3 in the final game of Jones’ nearly two-decade-long career, which was spent entirely in Atlanta.
Nov. 11, 2013 — After negotiations with the city break down, the Braves announce they will move to a new stadium in suburban Cobb County after the 2016 season.
Oct. 2, 2016 — The Braves are scheduled to play their final game at Turner Field, hosting the Detroit Tigers.