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The (Un)official 1991 World Series Re-Watch: Game 4

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Two Hall-of-Famers square off

Richard Mackson/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images

After narrowly missing gaining a 3-0 series lead, the Twins run out their ace, Jack Morris, to try and take down the Braves in Game 4. The Braves counter with another of their young pitching stars, righty John Smoltz. Game 4 would prove to once again provide many twists and turns, as this World Series continued to establish itself as an all-time classic. If you are looking for the links to watch the game on YouTube, or the links to my previous recaps, they are hyperlinked below.

(GAME LINK)

(GAME 1 RECAP)

(GAME 2 RECAP)

(GAME 3 RECAP)

  • What would the “Tomahawk Chop” be without some drums?
  • Jack Morris shows up with a mustard-yellow jacket, and John Smoltz shows up with a horizontal-striped polo. Hall-of-Fame attire to say the least.
  • Smoltz was a 22nd-round pick by the Tigers out of high school in Michigan. He would eventually be traded by the Tigers to the Braves for pitcher Doyle Alexander in 1987, as the Tigers looked to bolster their playoff rotation. Alexander would dominate for the Tigers after the trade, but the Tigers would ironically get knocked out by the Twins in the ALCS.
  • Morris, of course, was also on that 1987 Tigers team, and Smoltz grew up idolizing Morris.
  • Smoltz would have a unique career among Hall of Famers, as he spent a large section of the middle of career as the Braves’ closer.
  • Smoltz is the only pitcher in MLB history with 3,000+ strikeouts and 150+ saves. Only one other player has 2,000+ strikeouts with 150+ saves (Dennis Eckersley).
  • Travis Tritt, in all of his mullet-clad glory, sang the National Anthem. It was a great day to be alive for Georgia natives.
  • Kent Hrbek once again receives a resounding chorus of boos, which clearly has to make Mr. Hrbek happy.
  • Right after Jack Buck notes that the Braves’ outfielders are not exactly known for their throwing arm, Mike Pagliarulo hits a flare to left field, which scores Brian Harper after Lonnie Smith airmails his cutoff guy. The Twins take a 1-0 lead in the 2nd.
  • Tim McCarver has an awfully tough time identifying John Smoltz’s slider, even on the replay.
  • Smoltz strikes out his boyhood idol, Jack Morris, which has to be a great little bit of nostalgia for him during a game with this kind of stakes.
  • David Justice comes to the plate, and he continues to be a BUFFOON.
  • Not only is Greg Olson a cake eater, he went to the University of Minnesota, and actually made his MLB debut in 1989 with the Twins. Olson’s career was derailed in 1992 when he had a nasty home-plate collision with Ken Caminiti that broke his leg.
  • Kirby’s hands at the plate were just plain special.
  • Morris returns the favor, striking out Smoltz. Smoltz had a career OPS+ of 16, but did manage to hit 5 career taters.
  • Morris looked to be on total cruise control, but the slumping Terry Pendleton busted out, hitting a laser over the wall to tie the game in the 3rd.
  • As if the “Tomahawk Chop” with the drums behind it weren’t enough, a Braves fan sports a “Skin The Twins” sign on national television, surely making his/her family proud.
  • After a beautiful hit-and-run leads to a Mike Pagliarulo single and Shane Mack ending up on third base, TK rolls the dice on a suicide squeeze play with one out. Greg Gagne can’t get the bat on a nasty slider from Smoltz, and Mack is a sitting duck running down the third baseline. Gagne eventually strikes out to finish the top of the 4th.
  • Mark Lemke, who was a terror at the plate throughout the series, also rocked the baseball cap under the batting helmet, like a Little League kid whose head was too small for the batting helmet.
  • Chuck Knoblauch was the original antithesis to the pitch clock, as he adjusted his batting gloves between every pitch. He is only rivaled in the between-pitch rituals by Nomar Garciaparra.
  • Random thought: I wonder if Batting Stance Guy has ever imitated Lonnie Smith, he seems like he has a stance that would be right up his alley.
  • THE BRIAN HARPER PLAY: With Lonnie Smith on second, Pendleton hits a missile off of the center field wall, but Smith misjudges the ball, heading back to second base before heading home. Because of his hesitation, the Twins are able to convert a Puckett-to-Knoblauch-to-Harper relay to get Smith at the plate.
  • While the line score says “Smith is retired at the plate,” he absolutely plowed Brian Harper at the plate, with Harper hanging onto the ball despite Smith running him over at full speed.
  • If that play happens in 2020, Lonnie Smith might get a Pete Rose/Shoeless Joe Jackson suspension.
  • On another boneheaded play on the basepaths, the Braves make their second out of the 5th inning. A ball in the dirt deflects in the air, Harper tracks it down right next to him, and is able to hurry back to tag out Terry Pendleton, who was sprinting home on the play. Morris would then retire Justice to escape the 5th inning.
  • The Smoltz/Morris pitching duel was as good as advertised, with the game locked at 1-1 through 6 innings.
  • Mike Pagliarulo... DINGER. His third hit of the night off of Smoltz. It’s 2-1 good guys in the 7th inning. It was an interesting pitch sequence, as Pags completely fanned on two sliders, but Smoltz left a 1-2 heater right down the middle of the plate.
  • Morris gets pulled for a well-known pinch hitter, Gene Larkin. Morris was in line for his second win of the series, after 6 strong innings.
  • Carl Willis enters the game, and Tim McCarver implies that Willis went to the Eddie Harris School of Baseball Doctoring.
  • Lonnie Smith hits a fastball well over the center field fence, tying the game at 2 in the 7th inning.
  • Both bullpens hold in the 8th inning, and the game goes into the 9th inning tied.
  • The Braves’ bullpen held the Twins in the top of the 9th, and with one out in the bottom of the 9th, a perpetual thorn in the Twins’ side, Mark Lemke, cracks a triple to the fence in left-center off of Mark Guthrie.
  • After a walk and a series of substitutions, Steve Bedrosian comes in to face a guy who looks like the mobster from Dumb and Dumber, Jerry Willard, with one out.
  • Willard hits a fly ball to medium-deep right field, Mack throws a strike to home, but Harper just misses getting the tag on Lemke at home, and the Braves with the game to tie the series at 2-2.
  • Bedrosian and Harper were in disbelief that Lemke was called safe, but upon a look at the replay, the call was correct.

This was another thrilling game in a series full of them. The Twins remain perfect in terms of venue in their World Series history, never losing at home, but never winning on the road. In Game 5, the Twins will run out Kevin Tapani in hopes of changing their road woes in the World Series. If you have any comments or memories about this game or the series in general, leave them below! Stay safe out there!