Braves photographer, World War II veteran Victor dead at 97

ATLANTA -- Even as he approached his ninth decade on this Earth, Walter Victor took advantage of every opportunity he had to visit the Braves at Turner Field or during Spring Training. Victor was there the day Major League Baseball was born in Atlanta and he was there to take some of the most familiar pictures of the 1993 press-box fire at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.

But Victor's heroic and memorable journey through life ended Tuesday when he passed away at the age of 97. The World War II veteran served as the Braves official photographer for more than 40 years. One of his proudest days was when the Braves named the first-base camera well after him in 2006.

"We are deeply saddened to hear of Walter's passing," the Braves said in a statement. "He was a part of our organization and Braves Country for 40 years and he will be sadly missed. He was a proud veteran who served his country with great honor. Our thoughts and prayers are with his beloved wife Ruth and his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren."

Victor routinely seemed to take joy whenever he lugged his heavy silver camera case up the ramps to Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium or up the stairs to the home dugout at Turner Field, a place where he often elicited a laugh from Bobby Cox. The highly respected photographer was present to snap shots of Hank Aaron as he chased Babe Ruth and he gathered many more as the Braves won 14 consecutive division titles.

Though the Baseball Hall of Fame requested and displayed many of his pictures, Victor was most proud of the day he was part of the D-Day landing in Normandy. The decorated World War II veteran received a Silver Star Medal for the heroism he showed during combat and while helping liberate concentration camps.

Mark Bowman is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.