Sabermetricians, journalists, fans — anyone who follows baseball likes knowing and digging into the game's history to enjoy and improve their experience. But players and teams have a special relationship with baseball history. They know there are great moments and events and disastrous ones that can define a career or alter the course of a franchise.
Recently, author Tim Wendel spoke at New York City's famous baseball hangout Bergino Baseball Clubhouse to talk about one of those big-time moments in the sport's history. His book Down to the Last Pitch is about the 1991 World Series between the Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves. It was a really dramatic series, with huge plays and colorful characters.
It was also really close. The Series went seven games, with three games going extra innings, five games decided by one run, and four games decided on the last at-bat. And in Game 7, the teams went into extra innings tied 0-0. Minnesota won the game, 1-0, int he 10th thanks to pitcher Jack Morris, who pitched the whole game.
One player that was brought up several times during Wendel's talk was perhaps the most important player in the series: Twins slugger Kirby Puckett. Puckett was especially important in Game 6, when he saved the game and then won it for Minnesota in extra innings. First, in the top of the 11th inning, he scaled the wall to rob Atlanta of a go-ahead home run and possibly the series. Then, in the bottom half of that same inning, Puckett homered to win the game for the Twins. (To learn more about Puckett, check out his bio as part of SABR's growing digital library of pro player biographies.)
At the very end of the talk, the floor was opened to attendees for questions. I asked Wendel what the first thought that comes through his mind is when someone brings up the ’91 Fall Classic. His answer involved Puckett and Morris' incredible Game 7:
Baseball has some of sports' best history, and it was a lot of fun being part of this event and interacting with other fans who love the sport as much as I do.
Max Mannis is an 11-year-old special correspondent for sikids.com and a member of SABR. Catch his posts on advanced baseball statistics. To learn more about SABR and to join, visit www.sabr.org.
Photo and video courtesy Max Mannis