1991 World Series – Twins and Braves


By Ron Griffitts - Contributing Columnist



The Braves 94-68 returned to the WorldSeries for the first time since the days of Spahn and Burdette in 1958 when the franchise was in Milwaukee.

They were managed by Bobby Cox and had a strong pitching staff which would make thempennant contenders in the National League for years, led by future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine 20-11/2.55ERA and featured Charlie Liebrandt 15-13, future Hal of Famer John Smoltz 14-13 and Steve Avery 18-8.

Atlanta had a good bullpen with Juan Berenguer 17SV/2.24ERA, Mike Stanton 2.88ERA and Kent Mercker 2.58ERA.

Offensively they were led by Ron Gant 32HR/105RBI/101RS/34SB, Dave Justice 21HR/87RBI, Otis Nixon .297BA/72SB and Terry Pendleton 22HR/86RBI/.319BA/94RS.

The Twins 95-67 were still managed by Tom Kelly and had mostly the same team which won the 1987 World Series except they addedJack Morris 18-12 and had Kevin Tapani 16-9/2.99ERA, Scott Erickson 20-8 and in the bullpen had Rick Aguilera 42SV/2.35ERA and Carl Willis 8-3/2.63ERA.

They had a balanced offensive team with Kirby Puckett .319BA/89RBI/92RS, Chili Davis 29HR/93RBI, Kent Hrbek 20HR/89RBI, Brian Harper .311BA and Shane Mack .310 BA.

Game one was in Minneapolis in the Metrodome with Charlie Leibrandt facing Jack Morris. Morris together with relievers Rick Aguilera and Mark Guthrie held the Braves to five hits for a 5-2 win with home runs by Greg Gagne and Kent Hrbek providing all the cushion Morris needed. And the Twins go up 1-0.

Game two was closer as both starters, Tom Glavine and Kevin Tapani pitched well with Glavine going all the way for Atlanta and giving up only four hits but two werehome runs-by Chili Davis and Scott Leius-with the Davis homerun coming after a dropped fly ball and the Twins win 3-2 to go up in the series 2-0.

Game three was the first ever WorldSeries game played in Atlanta in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium and was the first of three extra-inning games in the series.

The Braves took a 4-1 lead behind home runs by Dave Justice and Lonnie Smith but the Twins tied it up 4-4 with home runs by Chili Davis and Kirby Puckett and the game went to the twelfth inning with Mark Lemke becoming the hero of the day as he singled in Dave Justice with the winning run and the Braves get a win 5-4 and the series goes to 2-1.

Game four was a pitching duel between Jack Morris and John Smoltz but neither would figure in the decision. Tied 2-2 the Braves got a second straight walk off win as again Mark Lemke came through-this time with a triple in the bottom of the ninth-and scored the winning run on Jerry Willard’s sacrifice fly and the Braves tie up the series at 2 each with a 3-2 win.

Seizing the momentum the Braves, still in Atlanta, erupted for four runs in the fourth and six runs in the sixth and coasted to a 14-5 win helped by home runs by Dave Justice, Lonnie Smith and Brian Hunter and as the teams head back to Minneapolis Atlanta is up three games to two.

Game six was a close game with the Braves trying to close out the Twins. Starters Steve Avery and Scott Erickson pitched well as the game was tied 3-3 and went intothe eleventh inning.

After using two relievers Atlanta manager Bobby Cox brought starter Charlie Leibrandtin to pitch the bottom of the eleventh but Kirby Puckett lofted a home run into the seats and the Twins win the game and tie the series at 3-3.

Game seven was a classic as it was another pitching duel with only one run being scored in the third extra inning game of the series. Neither of the starters Jack Morris nor John Smoltz, who would both later be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, game up a run and the game was scoreless after nine innings.

Morris had one of those games where he kept getting stronger as the game went on and retired the Braves in the tenth inning. The Twins came to bat against Alejandro’s Pena and loaded the bases before Gene Larkin singled in Dan Gladden with the winning run and the Twins win the game 1-0 and the series.

Morris got the MVP Award and the Braves would be back in the series the next year while the Twins have not returned to the Fall Classic since 1991.

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By Ron Griffitts

Contributing Columnist

Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for the Daily Advocate

Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for the Daily Advocate