1991 World Series Game 7, It Didn’t Get Any Better Than This

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1991 World Series Game 7

The 2017 World Series is no doubt knocking on the door of a potential Game 7.  This epic series has been Dominated by the homerun.  When you have a head to head match up of 2 former Cy Young Award winners, and neither can make it through 5 innings, as a pitching person it is befuddling.  So let’s reflect on one particular Game 7 which was a timeless performance for the ages.   A high end pitchers duel if there ever was one.  The 1991 World Series Game 7, Minnesota Twins vs Atlanta Braves.  

1991 World Series Game 7

The Twins won it all in 1987 and were back at it again in 91 after finishing dead last the previous season.  They had a likeable team with a cast of characters.   Quite a few were rockin’ business like mullets.  Yes, it took a few years to dissipate from the 80s.  The ‘Twinkies had the homefield advantage with the Metrodome which recorded 125 db in the ’87 series.  Let’s not forget the ‘Baggy’ wall in right field and the Homer Hanky.  

On the other hand, the Braves came out of nowhere also with their Worst to First season and their equatable, deafening ‘Tomahawk Chop’ at old Fulton County Stadium.  This began the Braves’ unprecedented run of 14 straight Division Titles, 5 NL Pennants and winning it all in 1995.  The entirety of their run was deep rooted in their foundation of pitching.

1991 World Series Game 7
The Backstory

This series entailed the home team winning every game.  As the series returned to the Twin Cities, the Braves came into Game 6 with a 3 games to 2 lead.  The series has already had three 1-run games and a 12 inning battle in Atlanta.  

For my backstory, as an 11 year old, earlier in the day before Game 6, I broke my wrist at basketball practice. Crashing into the wall at the hands of doing a passing drill with a the slow kid on the team.  This was back when kids played a different sport each season.  I know, it sounds odd nowadays.  I had to miss the rest of football season and the first month of basketball.  So it happens.

This was the first time I ever broke a bone, let alone wearing a cast.  So a long day at the emergency room and an active kid having his sports life come to a temporary stoppage, made the mood rather bleak.  Then the world series came on that night, and suddenly all the gloom disappeared.  

The tie game remained deadlocked until the 11th inning, until Kirby Puckett made his mark on the fall classic.  The future Hall of Famer made an incredible leaping catch at the wall earlier in the game, lead off the bottom of the 11th with a walk off homer to left center.  The legendary call from Jack Buck “…and we’ll see you tomorrow night!” was all the baseball world needed to set the tone for Game 7.  Which did not disappoint… 

…and we’ll see you, tomorrow night!

 

1991 World Series Game 7
October 27

The Venue – Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. Minneapolis, MN.
Attendance – 55,118
Decibel Level – 105 db

The Pitching Matchup – Morris vs Smoltz

1991 World Series Game 7 

The young future Hall of Famer, John Smoltz in his just his 4th MLB season, was 14-13 that year with a 3.80 ERA in 36 starts.  His electric Slider was on that night, as he blanked the Twins into the 8th inning.

 

 

His opponent was the 15 year veteran and Minnesota native, Jack Morris.  The fiery, mustached right hander was 18-12 in the campaign with a 3.43 ERA and 10 CGs.  Coming into this game, Morris was 6-1 career in the postseason, winning it all with the Tigers in 1984.  Both men were undefeated through the postseason at this point.  

 

 

Words can’t describe the tenacity that both pitchers displayed while pitching out of jams with runners on base, keeping the game scoreless.  Smoltz carried the Braves into the 8th, allowing 6 hits (5 of them singles) striking out 4 in 7.1 scoreless.  The grizzled veteran in Morris kept on going.  Going the distance and then some, completing the 10 inning shutout on 126 pitches.  The hometown hero allowed 7 hits and struck out 8.  

 


As an 11 year old watching this dual masterpiece, and then next day again on VHS from the VCR recording.  Yes, that was the Hi Tech norm at the time.  I learned a valuable facet to pitching.  Minimizing the Damage.  It’s not about how many you strikeout, it’s about Getting Outs, in every situation in front of you.  Now despite Morris’ five 1-2-3 innings, especially in the 9th, & 10th innings, he stranded 8 runners.  In three separate innings, Morris finished the frame with multiple runners on base.  Atlanta had runners in scoring position half the game.  As a result, the Braves batted 1-10 with RISP.  This speaks volumes to his ability to slow the game down and focus on making pitches.  You can rely on hope to win a Game 7.  It is all about execution.

 

1991 World Series Game 7
Mental Toughness at its Best

One loss of focus, one mislocated pitch or falling victim to the adrenaline overload changes the outcome of the game, and I am writing about something else this week.   Most notably, this poise from Jack Morris was on full display in the 8th inning, as a bases loaded, 1 out jam, resulted in a 3-2-3 double play to end the inning.  Just like how you work on it in Spring Training.

 


To pitch around that without allowing a run in the late innings, and then retiring the last 6 hitters your face in order as the game extended into Free Baseball, Morris no doubt earned legendary status.  As Gene Larkin‘s flyball landed past the drawn in outfielders, Jack Morris was immortalized in World Series lore.

Want to watch this epic game in it’s entirety?  Look no further.  Feel the intensity in this matchup from 26 years later.  You won’t be let down.  Oh you kids and the availability through technology.  Don’t let the mullets distract you. 

Keep Dominating!!!

1991 World Series Game 7

About the Author

Brad Kirsch Slider DominationBrad Kirsch is the Owner/Creator of Slider Domination. He is a former professional pitcher who blogs about all things Pitching. Brad has also authored the AudioBook, 7 Reasons Why YOU Should Throw a Slider. If you haven’t done so already, you can Download the AudioBook Here

 

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