"He brought Atlanta from a little city to a big city in every dimension." - John Aderhold
Ivan Allen Jr. felt that in order to be considered a major league city, Atlanta needed a major league team. The enthusiasm for sports shared by Atlanta's citizens and business leaders prompted the building of the Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. After wooing the Braves baseball team from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Allen was given the honor of throwing out the first pitch at the inaugural game on April 12, 1966. Allen was also instrumental in bringing to Atlanta a National Football League team, the Falcons (1966), and a professional basketball team, the Hawks (1968). Years later, Allen reflected on his decision to embrace sports: "I am convinced that the progress and skyline in Atlanta can be traced, to a large degree, to the arrival of major league sports in the city." Professional athletics, in the form of the stadium, also helped revive downtown. To honor his contributions, Allen was elected to the Braves Hall of Fame.
- (top center) Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. Atlanta History Center
- (top left) The Braves at Fulton-County Stadium, 1967. Atlanta History Center
- (top right) The Atlanta Falcons vs. the Los Angeles Rams, 1966. Atlanta History Center
- (background) The Atlanta Braves vs. the St. Louis Cardinals, 1967. Atlanta History Center