The rebuilding project began in June, when the Braves drafted Steve Avery, Jimmy Kremers (traded in ’91 for Otis), Turk Wendell (sent to Chicago for Damon Berryhill and Mike Bielecki, who had a 3.09 ERA in 242 IP as a Brave), Mark Wohlers and Tony Tarasco (part of the package that brought Marquis Grissom to Atlanta).
A few months later I jumped — literally — when I heard that Ken Oberkfell had been traded to Pittsburgh. It didn’t matter who they got in return (Tommy Gregg); Obie, more than anyone, represented the malaise of the mid-80s and he had to go. Soon after the Bravos cut bait with Ozzie Virgil, Rick Mahler and Jerry Royster.
Unfortunately, their replacements, in some cases, were worse.
Yes, Ozzie Virgil sucked, but Jody Davis, acquired for Kevin Coffman (terrible in his own right) and Kevin Blankenship, was Dan Uggla without power, batting .161 in 267 AB’s as a Brave. Otherwise, Bobby’s biggest acquisitions that winter were 41-year-old Darrell Evans, Mark Eichhorn, Dwayne Henry and Jeff Treadway.
The team’s 63-97 finish in ’89 was no surprise.