The Gwinnett Braves of Lawrenceville, Georgia played nine seasons in the International League, serving as Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves.
The G-Braves came into being when their parent club/ownership group moved the International League’s Richmond Braves to the Atlanta suburbs following the 2008 season. Until recent years, Atlanta would always give their team-owned affiliates a COTOB identity, and this new team was no exception. The place name “Gwinnett” referred to Gwinnett County, Georgia. The G-Braves were possibly the starkest example of an MLB-controlled team at the Triple-A level, and outward impressions indicate an emphasis and top priority for the club to serve the interests of the major league Braves. Other factors, from attendance to brand identity, were secondary.
That brand identity was Atlanta Braves-based, with logos featuring the team’s initials cradling tomahawks being perhaps the most creative elements. Though the team didn’t crackle with identity in the same way that other Triple-A teams usually do, token promotional efforts were made, including a beaver mascot named Chopper. In the end, Chopper wasn’t enough to carry the day. Despite playing in the home market of their parent club, the G-Braves perennially ranked in the bottom attendance quartile of the International League and throughout all of Triple-A baseball.
The G-Braves fared better between the lines. Gwinnett’s location made it convenient for Atlanta to send well-known major leaguers (including Hall of Famer Tom Glavine) to Lawrenceville for rehab assignments and last-gasps. Additionally, many prospects passed through en route to successful major league careers, including Jason Heyward, Charlie Morton, Craig Kimbrel, Freddie Freeman, Mike Minor, Julio Teheran, Evan Gattis, Tommy La Stella, Mike Foltynewicz, Dansby Swanson, Ozzie Albies, and Ronald Acuña Jr.
Following the 2017 season, the team rebranded as the Gwinnett Stripers. This shift, when considered alongside the inception of the Florida Fire Frogs, seems to mark a change in the way the Atlanta Braves handle and manage their stable of affiliates, and reflects the larger trend of minor league teams (MLB-owned and otherwise) moving away from the COTOB and toward the unique identity. The Stripers play in the International League to this day.