Tuesday, August 17, 2010

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This week's Topic: 1991 World Series Program

You may be wondering how in the world something that occurred in 1991 can possibly be topical. Well, there is a simple explanation -- yesterday, I found an old 1991 World Series souvenir program (first picture below) obtained by my father, who apparently went to a World Series game that year at old Fulton County Stadium, when the Braves played the Twins...or maybe it was the National League Championship Series against the Pirates...

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You see, there is one strange oddity about the contents of the program...it was obviously printed before the World Series teams were set. How do I know this? Because the program features both teams that played in the NCLS (Braves and Pirates) AND both teams from the ALCS (Twins and Blue Jays). And as you can see by the photo above, no teams are featured on the cover. The next obvious question you might ask -- "Why don't you just ask your dad whether it was the actual World Series or just the NLCS." Oh, I did, and guess what...he didn't remember.

But there are even more interesting pieces of information as well; for one, my father sat in a box-seat next to Peter Gammons, Chris Berman, and former Reds third-baseman Ray Knight (who, according to Wikipedia, was working for ESPN at the time) and got them all to sign the inside cover of this program (pictured below)

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But, I also found another important piece of the puzzle: an actual ticket stub from game 4 of the 1991 NLCS. This evidence leads me to believe this was my also my father's, and that he actually attended the NLCS game, not the World Series game....BUT the ticket was for row 15 of the field level, NOT a box suite. This led me to contrive three possible conclusions:
  1. My father attended the NLCS game (not the World Series game), sat in a box seat (where he got the autographs), and used the ticket stub to get through the gate which did not necessarily reflect his actual seating position. (Or the info on the ticket stub DID reflect the box seats and I misread the seating chart of old Fulton Co. Stadium)
  2. My father attended BOTH the World Series game AND game 4 of the NLCS. This would solve the ticket stub quandary.
  3. Someone else attended game 4 of the NLCS and gave the ticket stub to us.
This led to several burning questions I just can't figure out:
  1. If conclusion #1 is correct, why did the Braves/MLB think it was a good idea to print and sell "World Series Programs" at the National League Championship Series? I mean, talk about jinxing your team. This is probably why the Braves ended up losing the World Series in such a painful way (more on that later).
  2. Would Chris Berman AND Peter Gammons be at game 4 of the NLCS and not necessarily the World Series...uh, yeah, probably.
  3. How many mustaches were involved between the four teams featured in the program? (Actually, I can figure this out because they are all pictured!) -- 43! And this is not counting beards and only includes the players, not coaches.
But alas, I guess I might never know for sure which game(s) my father attended. What I do know however is that the '91 World Series was one for the ages. Here are some fast facts:
  • Five out of the seven games were decided by one run
  • Three games were decided in extra innings
  • The home team won every game
  • Four of the seven games were decided on walk off hits
  • Mark Lemke batted .417 and hit three triples in the Series which tied an MLB record
  • Sid Bream was so slow he somehow hit into a 3-2-3 double play with the bases loaded in game 7.
  • Jack Morris pitched a complete game, 10 inning shutout in game 7, which undoubtedly earned him the "Iron-Clad Testicles Moment" of 1991. (In a related story, hitters hadn't quite discovered steroids yet)
  • Terry Pendleton had 11 hits in the series.
  • The Braves actually outscored the Twins by a combined 29 runs to 24.
Luckily, I was too young to remember this, plus I was able to attend game 6 of the '95 World Series with my dad (when the Braves closed it out). So, although baseball will become largely irrelevant in 18 days (first Dawgs' game of course), it is nice to reminisce on a time when baseball was largely more popular...and hopefully the Braves can give us something to cheer for as we enter fall (well, during the week at least)

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