As I’m writing this in late 2021, Atlanta can claim only one championship team this year. My Georgia Bulldogs haven’t played yet.

So, the champion team I’m talking about, of course, is our Atlanta Braves. In all honesty, I haven’t really been a serious Braves fan for decades, but I watched the entire 2021 World Series.

Back in the ’70s and ’80s, Atlanta Fulton County Stadium was home to not only the Braves and Falcons, but a multitude of events that included everything from motocross to major concerts with world-famous artists. One of the most famous WQXI Radio disc jockeys, Tony Taylor, even got to introduce the Beatles there! I don’t think that one can be topped.

I’ll touch briefly on my Braves days, and other things I did at the old stadium. Let’s go back to the days of Dale Murphy and Bob Horner. I was dating a young lady at the time whose father had season tickets. The seats were directly behind the dugout. We’d literally place our beverages on top of the dugout.

As luck would have it, I heard Dale Murphy was going to be at “Quixie” cutting a commercial. I thought, here’s my chance. Everyone in the place was excited he was there, and he could not have been any nicer.

After telling him we attended games on a regular basis with the dugout-level seats, I coerced him to join me on the air for a few minutes.

Once we were in the studio, this big baseball star was like a nervous little kid. I told him he’d be fine; I would make it really easy. We weren’t on the air any longer than 15 or 20 minutes. I jokingly asked how a player of his stature — who crushed home run balls in front of thousands of people — could be anxious about talking to people who he couldn’t see.

Not too long after our meeting, I met Nancy, his wife, who was pregnant with their first child. Just like her husband, she was as nice as humanly possible. That first child is now the oldest of eight children! Quite a few times after that I’d shout, “Murph” when I’d see him on the field, and we’d get a genuine smile and friendly wave. He came and sat with us for a few minutes one pregame.

Later during that same season, we sponsored an event with a company who had created a flying-disc-type toy. They were trying to get a little of the Frisbee market, I guess. I was the emcee for the event, so that put me on the field.

The contest would award some huge prize to anyone who could throw this disc out of the stadium like a home-run ball. I think we had second- and third-tier prizes for hitting upper-level centerfield seats and even to the homerun fence. No one won anything. I can’t even remember the brand.

That same evening, Bob Horner had an amazing night. I do remember two home runs, but not his other hits.

After the game, my date and I were at TGI Fridays on Roswell Road. (By the way, it was the only Fridays in small-town Atlanta.) All of a sudden, there were cheers, and applause filled the room. It was Bob Horner, and his wife! After they had been there for a while, I introduced myself and told him about the flying disc promotion earlier…he said he remembered seeing me.

After asking the server what they were drinking, we sent a congratulatory round of four beers. He nodded thank you. A few minutes later, our server came to our table with four beers. She said, “these are from the baseball player.”

We nodded a thank you and cheers to them. I swore I’d never lose that American Express receipt, but I did.

A couple of other cool events at the stadium included the Quixie Quackers Softball Team playing the Atlanta Rhythm Section in a charity match. Pictures on the Matrix, running those bases, and just being there was another cool thing we all experienced.

I also had the pleasure of introducing the 60s music groups Gary Puckett and the Union Gap, The Association, and Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels at another concert event the station sponsored.

In the bowels of the stadium, I saw Ted Turner’s parking place with the sign, “Don’t Even Think About Parking Here.”

The Braves and Falcons shared the stadium for 26 years. The Falcons moved out to the Georgia Dome in 1992. Five years later, the Braves moved to Turner Field.

The old stadium was demolished in 1997. All that remains of it is a piece of outfield wall, preserved to memorialize Hank Aaron’s record-setting 715th home run. I saw Dale one more time at a charity event a few years later. Shortly after that, he left town for another team. He’ll always be a Hall of Famer in my world.

Kelly McCoy

Kelly McCoy is a veteran broadcaster who worked for more than four decades at radio stations in the metro Atlanta market.