It was an unusual home run to say the least

Atlanta’s major league baseball team, the Braves, began their Atlanta baseball history in 1966 but baseball’s history in Georgia predates the Atlanta Braves by nearly 100 years. Before the Braves, there were the Atlanta Crackers, a member of the Southern League and the Atlanta Black Crackers, charter members of the Negro Southern League.

Though they began in 1901, the Crackers planted their Atlanta home field roots in 1907 at Ponce de leon Ball Park, a stadium that seated about 9,000 people but, unfortunately, that park burned to the ground in 1923 destroying the team’s records, uniforms and all of their trophies.

It was a donation of $250,000 from wealthy Atlantan R. J. Spiller that enabled the park to be rebuilt bigger and better than ever. And the Crackers franchise went on to become one of the most successful professional franchises in baseball history, winning 17 league championships. In fact, during their 64 year history they won more titles than any team other than the New York Yankees.

A large part of the Crackers success was due, in part, to outfielder Bob Montag who hit 113 home runs in his career with the Crackers but it was one home run in particular that set Bob Montage apart for every other baseball player in the history of the game and it is that shot that is the subject of this week’s Stories of Atlanta.

Lance Russell is an Atlanta-based filmmaker and media communicator who, for over three decades, has been entrusted by clients to tell their stories. A seasoned producer with an innate ability to cut to the heart of the matter, Lance’s instincts are tailor-made for today’s “media bite” culture. Brief, poignant and always entertaining, Lance’s current passion is bringing Atlanta’s colorful and inspiring past to life with his “rest of the story” style video series, Stories of Atlanta. “History’s best communicators,” says Lance, “have always been storytellers. It’s in our DNA. ‘Once upon a time’ is how we got to where we are now.”

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