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The (Un)official 1991 World Series Re-Watch: Game 6

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Kirby puts his stamp on World Series history

AP Photo/Doug Mills

Things began to look bleak for the mighty Twins going into Game 6, as the upstart Braves rattled off three consecutive wins in Atlanta to give them a 3-2 lead in the World Series. In addition to the momentum gained by the Braves, the Twins seemed to be in dire straits, as their main stars were not producing, and their bullpen received heavy usage in the three games in Atlanta. On top of that, their starter going into Game 6, Scott Erickson, was much-maligned due to his mediocre second half of the regular season and a shaky playoff run. It was time for somebody to put the team on his back, and Kirby Puckett decided to put his Hall-of-Fame stamp on his career.

(GAME LINK)

(GAME 1 RECAP)

(GAME 2 RECAP)

(GAME 3 RECAP)

(GAME 4 RECAP)

(GAME 5 RECAP)

  • The pregame coverage starts with a sad Barry Bonds, which is always invited.
  • Atlanta rolls out lefty phenom Steve Avery, who has to speak to Pat O’Brien while he’s fresh off of the bus, and the mullet-clad Avery couldn’t look less interested to speak to Mr. O’Brien.
  • Jack Buck and Tim McCarver do a quick pregame, and you can hear the Dome is ROCKIN’!
  • Bob Casey, the voice of the Dome, introduces singer Melissa Manchester to sing the National Anthem, who apparently won a Grammy in 1982 for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “You Should Hear How She Talks About You.”
  • Tony O throws out the first pitch. You’ve gotta love Tony O.
  • David Justice makes his way to the plate in the first inning, and receives a chorus of much-warranted boos, because he’s a BUFFOON.
  • In the bottom of the first, Knoblauch sprays a base knock into right field, and Kirby follows with a triple down the left-field line to give the Twins a 1-0 lead. There’s only one way to describe how Kirby was running the bases: SCOOTIN’.
  • While Kirby had been struggling leading into Game 6, the Twin who was in the biggest slump was the quiet assassin, Shane Mack. He was 0-for the World Series, but he knocks Kirby in with a shattered-bat single to make it a 2-0 lead for the Twinkies in the first. Some would say “that bat died a hero.”
  • The broadcast shows Mack’s bat almost impaling Kirby at third base, which would’ve made for a much different Game 6.
  • Mark Lemke gets another hit, which is becoming awfully redundant at this point.
  • HEEEEE.... CAUGHT IT! In the top of the third, Ron Gant hits a bullet to left-center, and Kirby rises up off of the Metrodome turf to make his signature catch, one of the best in World Series history. It’s amazing how high Kirby gets on that play.
  • Another thought on the Kirby catch: if there isn’t a random piece of Metrodome Plexi-Glass in left field, does that play ever happen?
  • Junior Ortiz comes up in the bottom of the 4th with runners on the corners and one out. Avery proceeds to mow him down on strikes, and he wiggles out of the inning. With Ortiz being the personal catcher for Erickson, it reminds me of Carl Pavano wanting to throw to a catcher not named Joe Mauer. What is the point of diminshing returns on your “personal catcher” vs. a much superior offensive catcher?
  • In the top of the 5th inning, Lonnie Smith hits what should be a double-play ball, but Knoblauch has the ball get stuck in his glove like Hrbie on a Coors Light, and Smith reaches. Terry Pendleton proceeds to hit a bullet over the center-field fence, and the game is tied 2-2.
  • Justice comes up later in the inning, and hits a ball that is about 6 inches from being a home run down the right-field line. It must’ve been disappointing to miss that closely, couldn’t happen to a better guy.
  • Dazzle leads off the bottom of the 5th with a walk, and promptly steals second. Knoblauch hits a sac fly to right to advance him to third, and Kirby hits a sac fly to center to make it 3-2. Won’t be the most important run Dazzle scores in the Series.
  • The sound crew at the Dome puts some Jock Jams 1 on the speakers, an album that still holds up to this day. Kids today just don’t understand the genius of Jock Jams.
  • TK pulls Erickson in the top of the 7th inning after ANOTHER hit from Lemke. Erickson gutted out 6+ shaky innings, and he gave the Twins a start they desperately needed.
  • Mark Guthrie comes in, and he’s all over the place. Lemke advances to second on a wild pitch, and Lonnie Smith walks. Pendleton follows up with a cue shot to the right side for a single, and the Braves load the bases with one out.
  • TK motions down to the pen for Carl Willis, who stuffs the Walgreens’ hand ointment aisle into his back pocket on his way to the mound in order to properly season the baseball.
  • Ron Gant fights off a petroleum-jelly sinker to shortstop in what looks to be a double play ball, but he beats it out at first to tie the game at 3-3.
  • Justice strikes out on a Carmex changeup from Willis, and the Twins get out of a bases-loaded jam in the 7th.
  • Jim Kaat predicts that “somebody will hit a long one” to decide this game. Kitty nailed that one.
  • Carl Willis and Mike Stanton both get through the 8th inning, and the game moves to the 9th at 3-3. Stanton had to work around a single and stolen base from Kirby, but he limited the damage otherwise.
  • Bob Casey looks like he hasn’t budged behind the plate, he was a true pro. He will forever be synonymous with the Dome.
  • Willis gives up a single to Jeff Blauser with one out, but he’s able to glide through the top of the 9th due to a beautiful double play turned by Greg Gagne.
  • The Braves call on closer Alejandro Pena in the 9th, and TK counters with pinch hitter Mike Pagliarulo.
  • The slowly-zooming-behind-the-catcher camera angle really needs to become prevalent again when baseball comes back.
  • Pena mows down the Twins in the 9th, and the World Series again has some bonus baseball.
  • TK brings on Rick Aguilera in the 10th. Pendleton singles, but Gant promptly lines out to Gagne for an unassisted double play on a hit-and-run called by Bobby Cox and the Braves. Justice flies out to third base, and on to the bottom of the 10th we go. The plot thickens.
  • Alejandro Pena sounds like the name of the pepper that’s used in pepper spray, and the Twins hit accordingly, as the Braves’ closer cuts through Gagne/Gladden/Knoblauch to send the game into the 11th inning.
  • TK sticks with Aguilera in the top of the 11th. Sid Bream greets him with a line drive off of the baggie in right field, which would be a double for most able-legged players. Because it was the less-than-fleet-footed Bream running, he is held to a single.
  • Cox replaces Bream with pinch-runner Brian Mitchell. The Braves elect to run on the first pitch against Brian Harper and his much-maligned throwing arm, but Harper throws a strike to second to get the first out of the inning. It makes one wonder whose idea it was to risk the go-ahead run on the base paths.
  • Aggie retires the next two batters, and the game moves to the bottom of the 11th.
  • The Braves send in their Game 1 starter, Charlie Leibrandt, to face the resurgent Kirby Puckett in a 3-3 game.
  • ANNNNNND... WE’LL SEE YOU, TOMORROW NIGHT!
  • Jack Buck makes the legendary call on Kirby’s legendary dinger, and the Twins are on to the 7th game!
  • The Dome sounds absolutely deafening, I’m sure some hearing was damaged that night.
  • Bobby Cox’s decision to go with Leibrandt is an interesting one, as Pena had cruised through the previous innings with limited pitches, and Kirby had been mashing lefties all game.

Game 6 of the 1991 World Series adds to what was already a legendary series, and the series has more in store for baseball fans. Kirby’s homer will still give you goosebumps, and the next game will only be more nerve-wracking. Buckle up, the Twins and Braves move on to a one-game, winner-take-all slugfest to decide which team will reach the pinnacle of America’s past-time.