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The (Un)official 1991 World Series Re-Watch: Game 7

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Jack Morris delivers a classic performance

Focus On Sport/Focus On Sport/Getty Images

We’ve made it, Twins fans, to the pinnacle of the sport: Game 7. Our mighty Twins head in to battle behind their hometown-hero ace, Jack Morris, while the pesky Braves counter with a premier pitcher of their own, John Smoltz. This game turns out to be the crown jewel of what is considered by many to be the greatest World Series in the sport’s history. Describing this game with simple words is not an easy task, so with no further ado... here we go!

(GAME LINK)

(GAME 1 RECAP)

(GAME 2 RECAP)

(GAME 3 RECAP)

(GAME 4 RECAP)

(GAME 5 RECAP)

(GAME 6 RECAP)

  • The broadcast leads off with Kirby hitting his dinger in Game 6, starting the goosebumps off early.
  • Jack Morris rolls in with what appears to be a multi-colored leather jacket, a jacket that I’m sure now carries special meaning for the future Hall of Famer.
  • John Smoltz, on the other hand, rolls in with with a blazer over an argyle-patterned shirt, one that I’m sure he potentially has started a bonfire with since this game.
  • Pat O’Brien tracks down Kirby for an interview in his driveway on the morning after his historic homer. Kirby gives him a couple of minutes, but he seems more concerned about this historic game about to happen.
  • Mark Lemke, the potential MVP of the series, does an interview before the game in his dugout while rocking a pair of David Koresh-like glasses.
  • The coverage shows Morris approaching the bullpen with Rick Stelmaszek, the last coaching that Stelly will likely have to do in this particular contest.
  • After an uncomfortable interview with Ted Turner, the broadcast pans to Carl Pohlad, who has a vice grip on his checkbook.
  • For the intros, there is more Jock Jams 1 blasting, and lots of Bob Casey. Inject it into my veins.
  • Before the first pitch, Lonnie Smith and Brian Harper shake hands. This is a hand shake saying either “wow, what a series,” or “sorry for the CTE in Game 4.”
  • Don Denkinger, of previous World Series infamy, is the home plate umpire.
  • Morris comes out with his pitches looking like bowling balls, a good sign for things to come for a sinker/splitter specialist.
  • Smoltz also comes out throwing darts, as his fastball is jumping, and his patented slider is really biting.
  • David Justice comes up in the 2nd inning and breaks the ice with a dying quail to center for a hit. That’s cool and all, but that guy is a BUFFOON.
  • Morris works around the lead-off hit from Justice and strands him at second base. He looks like he has everything working (turns out he does).
  • Brian Harper keeps his legs bowed at the plate like Tim Duncan at the free throw line, and it works out for him, as he delivers the first hit for the Twins with two outs in the second.
  • Smoltz retires Mike Pagliarulo on a grounder to keep it scoreless through two innings.
  • The ball boy on the left-field line bricks an easy catch with millions of people watching, something that I’m sure torments him to this day.
  • In the third inning, pesky shortstop Rafael Belliard reaches on a slap single, and advances to second on a passed ball by Harper. Lonnie Smith follows up with a walk, and the Braves have a rally going with one out.
  • Terry Pendleton flies out, and Ron Gant grounds into fielder’s choice to squash the Braves’ threat.
  • There’s a pretty good chance Terry Pendleton poured gasoline on the Metrodome long before it was destructed.
  • Dazzle bangs a double down the left-field line with one out the bottom of the third. That won’t be his most important double of this game.
  • Knoblauch flies out to right to send Dazzle to third on a sac fly, but Kirby strikes out on a nasty 3-2 slider from Smoltz, and the game rolls along to the fourth inning.
  • Morris works around a two-out double in the top half of the fourth, and Smoltz works around a questionable bean ball to Hrbek to cut through the fourth inning.
  • An ironic sidebar to this game is that the Braves beat Jack Morris twice in the 1992 World Series when he was a member of the Blue Jays, including a 7-2 win in Game 5, a game that was started by John Smoltz. Morris was on the losing end of the only two losses for the Blue Jays in the series.
  • Leading off the top of the fifth inning, Mark Lemke continues his best Pete Rose impression, getting a base hit. Belliard sacrifice bunts him to second, and Lonnie Smith reaches on a drag bunt to make it first-and-third with one out.
  • Morris is able to squash the rally again, however, as Pendleton pops out to shortstop Greg Gagne, and Morris hammers a fastball on the outside corner to strike out Ron Gant.
  • Smoltz works around another knock from Dazzle and gets through the bottom of the fifth inning.
  • Among players with 25+ plate appearances, the player with the highest career OPS against Smoltz was former Reds superstar Eric Davis (1.412).
  • Using the same criteria, the highest career OPS against Morris belongs to Greg Luzinski (1.253), just ahead of fellow luminaries Ken Griffey, Jr., Frank Thomas, and Carl Yastrzemski.
  • Luzinski played 15 seasons in the big leagues for the Phillies and White Sox, and hit 307 dingers on his way to 4 All-Star appearances.
  • Both pitchers cruise through the sixth inning, and Jack Buck astutely states, “folks, this one is going to be decided late.”
  • The player with the most career (regular season) strikeouts against John Smoltz? Hall-of-Famer Craig Biggio with 29. Who did Jack Morris strike out the most? Former Twins great Gary Gaetti, 24 times.
  • Like a broken record, Morris and Smoltz cut through the seventh inning on the back of some fine defensive plays, and the Metrodome crowd really starts to bite down on their collective Homer Hankies.
  • Just realized TK is rocking a Starter pullover, maybe the most 90’s move possible.
  • Lonnie Smith leads off the top of the eighth inning with a base knock. Pendleton rips a ball to the fence that should EASILY score Smith. Lonnie, however, falls for a decoy by the Twins’ middle infield at second base, which holds him up enough to make him stop at third base instead.
  • Gant grounds out to first on a tag play, and is unable to score Smith from third.
  • TK walks to the mound to visit with Morris with the bullpen cranked up, and Jack looks like he will go full Brock Lesnar on TK if he thinks of taking him out.
  • The Twins opt to walk Justice to load the bases for the less-than-spry-footed Sid Bream.
  • Bream hits a grounder to Hrbek, Hrbek comes home for one out, and Harper returns to Hrbek for the second out to end the inning! The Twins get out of a HUGE jam!!!
  • “OUT THERE, OUT THERE!!!”— another brilliant call from Jack Buck as Hrbie hits a big fist pump.
  • Randy Bush pinch-hits for Gagne to lead off the bottom of the eighth, hits a single up the middle, and is replaced by Twins’ stalwart Al Newman.
  • Dazzle can’t get a bunt down and flies out to center. I’m sure the color-commentator version of Dazzle would not be happy with Dazzle.
  • Newman takes off on a hit-and-run, and Knoblauch delivers it perfectly, hitting a liner to right to make it runners at first and third with one out for Kirby.
  • Bobby Cox comes out to the mound to take out Smoltz, who delivered a brilliant performance. The Braves will walk Kirby to have lefty Mike Stanton face Hrbek with the bases loaded and one out.
  • Hrbek faced Stanton seven times in his regular-season career, going 0-6 with a walk.
  • He hits a sinking line drive to Lemke, which turns into an double play to end the eighth inning.
  • Morris cruises through the top of the ninth inning, including striking out Lemke, who had been playing like he was on MLB The Show on rookie difficulty.
  • Chili leads off the bottom of the ninth with a knock to right-center, and he’s quickly replaced by pinch-runner Jarvis Brown. Brian Harper follows up with a perfectly laid bunt to put runners on first and second with no outs. On the play, Stanton appears to disintegrate his calf muscle, and has to be removed from the game for closer Alejandro Pena.
  • There’s a great shot of Skinny Gardy on the broadcast.
  • Shane Mack proceeds to hit into a 4-6-3 double play to make it two outs with Brown on third. The Braves walk Pagliarulo, and Pena retires pinch-hitter Paul Sorrento to send the game (AGAIN!) to extra innings.
  • Jack Morris, with a pitch count over 120, returns for the top of the 10th. Jeff Blauser hits for Belliard and pops out to the catcher Harper. Morris gasses Lonnie Smith for his 8th strikeout. Pendleton grounds out to the new shortstop, Scott Leius, and Morris is scoreless through 10(!!!) innings.
  • Jack’s Game Score of 84 is the second-best in the history of the World Series in Game 7, topped only by Sandy Koufax against the Twins in 1965.
  • Dazzle leads off the 10th, and on the first pitch, his bat explodes as the ball drops in left-center field. Dazzle sprints out of the box, and he manages to leg out a double. That bat should be next to the Twins’ retired numbers at Target Field.
  • Also, Dazzle’s decision to head for second is not only an incredibly gutsy play, it sometimes gets lost in the wash of all of the major plays in the series.
  • Knoblauch gets down a perfect bunt, advancing Dazzle to third. Cox elects to walk Puckett and Hrbek to face Jarvis Brown, who occupies the spot previously occupied by Chili Davis.
  • TK turns to longtime Twin Gene Larkin to pinch-hit for Brown, and Larkin will face Pena with the bases loaded and one out.
  • “THE TWINS ARE GONNA WIN THE WORLD SERIES, THE TWINS HAVE WON IT!”
  • Larkin hits a deep fly ball that lands in left field, Dazzle comes home, and THE TWINS ARE THE WORLD CHAMPIONS!

This will often be referenced as one of the best World Series of all time, and for good reason. I hope you, as the reader, have enjoyed the trek back through the “glory days” during these odd times. Any personal memories of the series? Comment below. Any other games you’d like me to cover? Comment below. Stay safe, and hopefully we’ll talk about some real games soon.