Though the Braves' 88-74 record in 1964 put them just 5 games behind the pennant-winning Cardinals, they finished fifth in the top-heavy National League. In his second season at the helm, manager Bobby Bragan oversaw a four-win improvement. Attendance was lukewarm at County Stadium, with a total of 910,911 fans putting the club sixth out of ten N.L. clubs in their penultimate season in Milwaukee.
The Bravos carried some big sticks, finishing first in the Senior Circuit with 803 runs scored, 274 doubles, and an overall batting line of .272 AVG, .333 OBP, and .418 SLG. The club also hit 159 home runs, trailing only the Giants' 165. Five Braves hit 20 home runs, though none topped 24. A star-studded outfield featured Rico Carty (.330/.388/.554, 22 HR, 88 RBI), Lee Maye (.304, 44 2B, 74 RBI), and Hank Aaron (.328/.393/.514, 24 HR, 95 RBI). The Hammer was an All-Star reserve, while catcher Joe Torre (.321/.365/.498, 20 HR, 109 RBI) was the lone Milwaukee starter in the Midsummer Classic.
It was pitching that stunted the Braves' progress in 1964. They were next-to-last with a 4.12 ERA, and they allowed a league-worst 160 home runs as a staff. The only regular with an ERA+ better than league average was reliever Bobby Tiefenauer (13 SV, 3.21 ERA, 111 ERA+, 73 IP). 23-year-old Tony Cloninger was the de facto ace (19-14, 15 CG, 3.56 ERA). Denny Lemaster (17-11, 4.15 ERA) led the team with 185 strikeouts. 43-year-old Warren Spahn (6-13, 5.29 ERA) showed his age in his Braves swan song.
As alluded to earlier, the Braves relocated to Atlanta prior to the 1966 season. They captured the first-ever N.L. West title in 1969 but were swept out of the playoffs by the Amazin' Mets. The team then plunged into laughingstock status in the mid-1970s under the ownership of the brash Ted Turner before Bobby Cox and John Schuerholz built a club that captured 14 straight division titles and made 5 World Series from 1991 through 2005. Even still, the Braves have had their share of disappointment with only one World Championship (1995) to show for that string of postseason appearances.