They remember hearing about it, reading about it, marveling at it. "I remember thinking, 'Gosh, that's the thing to do. Gosh, that'd be nice,' " said Dale Murphy.
"It was happening in the other league and we had our own games to play. But you couldn't help being amazed by it," said Al Hrabosky.
And now, one year after they and the rest of baseball gawked at the record-setting 11-0 start of the Oakland A's, the Atlanta Braves have accomplished the same feat.
The Braves tied Oakland's record today by rallying from a 4-1 deficit with three runs in the sixth inning and two in the eighth, beating the Houston Astros, 6-5, for their 11th victory in as many games. A two-out pinch double by Biff Pocoroba provided the winning margin in the eighth.
The win broke the National League record of 10 consecutive victories to open the season, a record previously held by the 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers and 1962 Pittsburgh Pirates. It also put the Braves in position to break the major league record they now share with the 1981 A's when they play Cincinnati in Atlanta Tuesday night.
"Oakland was in the same situation as our club when they did this," said Braves Manager Joe Torre. "They had something to prove, like we do. All of a sudden, Oakland came from nowhere to somewhere like we're doing."
The Braves, for the moment at least, are somewhere. After today's game, Torre received a call from former president Jimmy Carter, who watched the game on TV in Plains. "He told me all of Georgia was watching, that he took time off from writing his book to watch," Torre said. "He said he's proud of us, that he'd be up to Atlanta to see us soon.
"Everybody is watching now, and I like it."
"When you think about it," said pitcher Preston Hanna, "the record isn't that important. The record we want is to win a championship. I know no one has ever won 162 games, but who's to say it can't be done? At least, I'd like for us to win 30 or 40 before we lose."
"When we get this record stuff over with," Hrabosky said with a laugh, "then we can really start winning."
The Braves, with rookie pitcher Joe Cowley starting, fell behind, 4-1, in the second inning today, and their streak appeared tenuous when Houston's Bob Knepper had a three-run lead and a three-hitter in the sixth.
But with two out in the inning, Murphy tripled off the center field wall to score two runs, and Chris Chambliss followed with a double that tied the score. In the eighth, with runners on first and second and two out, Pocoroba doubled to the wall in left center off reliever Dave Smith, the loser.
Cowley worked into the sixth, giving up only the four runs in the second. The Braves used three relievers--Larry McWilliams, Hrabosky, and Rick Camp, who finished--and only Camp was scored on, giving up a run in the ninth. He then retired Mark Howe to win the game with the tying run on third base.
"It's understandable," Pocoroba said afterward, "that we're going to lose some games at some point. But we don't believe these 11 games are anywhere near as far as we are going."