10 November 2014

1991 braves memorial for gm john mullen

a couple of weeks ago, i shared some cards that showed the braves' black armband worn following the death of their de facto general manager roy lucas.  today, i'll show some cards featuring their memorial for the man who took over the gm role following lucas' death.  john w. mullen began his career with the braves' organization in the late 1940's when the team was still in boston.  he moved with them to milwaukee and was the head of their farm system from 1960 through 1966 before he was lured away by the astros to serve in their front office. mullen returned to atlanta to succeed lucas as the braves' gm in 1979.  using players drafted by lucas, as well as some acquisitions of his own (including brett butler who was drafted by the braves just a month or so after mullen took over), mullen was in charge when the braves won the 1982 nl west crown and qualified for the postseason for the first time since 1969.

mullen held the gm position until he was replaced by bobby cox prior to the 1986 season, largely due to the (then) monster 6-year/$10 million contract mullen gave to bruce sutter in 1985 that was considered to be a bust after just one year.

mullen remained with the team in an advisory capacity, a role which he maintained until his death on april 3, 1991.  later that year, with mullen's initials on their sleeves, the braves returned to the postseason for the first time since 1982.  in fact, this 1992 topps stadium club lonnie smith card captures a memorable play from the '91 fall classic with the initials memorial quite visible.
the memorial is seen on this 1992 leaf steve avery card, too
but i use this 1992 donruss card of neon deion sanders to represent the memorial in my collection
it's got the initials front and center.

mullen was 66 years old when he died in his hotel room at the braves' spring training home, about a week before the regular season was to begin.

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