The Braves' home since 1997 now prepares to close its gates
By Mark Bowman
Before being transformed into a Major League ballpark, Atlanta's Turner Field began its life as Centennial Olympic Stadium -- the place where Muhammad Ali helped open the 1996 Summer Olympics and where Carl Lewis won the last of his nine gold medals. But over the last 20 seasons, the Ted has hosted many memorable MLB moments. As the Braves say goodbye to their home since 1997, we look back at the top 10.
10. Baseball begins: April 4, 1997
The Braves' Denny Neagle threw the first official pitch in Turner Field history just three innings before Michael Tucker smacked the first home run. Atlanta defeated the Cubs, 5-4, in the stadium's first regular-season game.
9. Atlanta's All-Star Cast: July 11, 2000
Sammy Sosa put on a show during the Home Run Derby, before local favorite Chipper Jones homered during the All-Star Game. The American League won, 6-3, and Derek Jeter was named the game's MVP.
8. Building His Hall Case: May 24, 2007
John Smoltz made more appearances at Turner Field than any other pitcher. He fittingly recorded his 200th win there, when he tossed seven scoreless innings against fellow Atlanta legend Tom Glavine, then with the Mets.
7. A Wild Ending: Oct. 5, 2012
The Cardinals and Braves played the first Wild Card Game in MLB history, which also happened to be the final game of Chipper Jones' career. Many remember the contest for the controversial call that produced its nickname: "The Infield Fly" game.
6. Pitch Perfect: May 18, 2004
This wasn't a particularly memorable night for the Braves, but Arizona's Randy Johnson might have authored the greatest individual performance in Turner Field history when, at age 40, he became the oldest pitcher in Major League history to throw a perfect game.
5. A Brave Frenchman: July 7, 2005
Atlanta native Jeff Francoeur, the club's first-round draft pick in 2002, capped his highly anticipated Big League debut with a three-run homer to help his team vanquish the Cubs.
4. Say Hey to the Kid: April 5, 2010
A 20-year-old Jason Heyward earned an Opening Day roster spot and validated the hype surrounding him when he hit a three-run blast off the Cubs' Carlos Zambrano with the first swing he took for his hometown club.
3. Big Cat's Return: April 3, 2000
After missing the entire 1999 season while undergoing treatment for lymphatic cancer, Andres Galarraga began the 2000 campaign with a solo homer on Opening Day.
2. Chip, Chip, Hooray: Sept. 2, 2012
Given his tendency to deliver in the clutch, it was only fitting that Chipper Jones' final career home run was a three-run, walk-off shot against the Phillies.
1. NL Champions: Oct. 19, 1999
After the Braves and Mets traded runs all night, Game 6 of the NLCS went to extras. Both teams scored in the 10th before Andruw Jones drew a bases-loaded walk in the 11th to end the series and send the Braves to their only Fall Classic of the Turner Field era.
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Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.