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Ranking the Top 10 Moments from the 1991 World Series

Commonly referred to as the greatest Series ever played, the 1991 World Series was full of great moments. From extra inning games, to walk-off hits, to controversial calls, to complete game shutouts, the ‘91 Series was no short on drama. There were ten moments, though, that stood above the rest.
Image courtesy of © David Berding-USA TODAY Sports
Here are the top 10 moments from the 1991 World Series, ranked in descending order of drama and excitement:

10. Game 3 - Chili’s pinch hit home run ties the game

Even though it was in a losing effort, Chili Davis’s home run in Game 3 was monumental at the time. The home run for Davis came in the eighth inning when the Twins were down 4-2. Pitching for the Braves was closer Alejandro Peña who was 13-for-13 in save opportunities since being acquired by the Braves earlier that season. Chili was called upon to pinch hit for the pitcher spot (universal DH please) and blasted a two-run shot to tie the game and eventually force extra innings.

9. Game 2 - Chili homers off Glavine

Chili Davis hit two home runs in the 1991 World Series and both of them proved to be big ones. His first home run of the Series came in the second inning of Game 2 where he hit a homer off of Cy Young Award winner, Tom Glavine. While the Davis home run didn’t come late in the game or win the game, it was huge given the opposing pitcher and the opportunity to set the tone in Game 2.



8. Game 1 - Gagne’s three-run Shot

The 1991 World Series started off as a nail biter in Game 1. Through 4 1/2 innings, the Twins were just up 1-0, however that all changed in the bottom of the fifth inning when Greg Gagne stepped up to the plate with two-runners on and knocked a three-run shot. This put the Twins up 4-0 and the Twins never looked back in taking a 1-0 series lead.

7. Game 2 - Leius’s eighth innning bomb secures win

After Chili Davis’s first inning home run off of Glavine, the Twins only managed one more hit off of Tom Glavine up to the eighth innning. In a 2-2 tie game, Scott Leius took the first pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning and hit it over the left field fence to give the Twins a 3-2 lead and secure a 2-0 series lead for the Twins.



6. Game 2 - Hrbek “pulls Gant off the bag”

In “the tag heard ‘round the world”, Kent Hrbek fielded a Kevin Tapani throw and placed a tag on Gant’s leg, getting tangled with him in the process. Gant and Braves’ first base coach pleaded with the first base umpire that he was pulled off the bag. For the rest of this series and to this day, Hrbek remains hated by Braves fans. Did he pull Gant off the bag, though? Let’s ask the man himself:



5. Game 7 - Morris escapes jam in eighth with 3-2-3 double play

Before the Larkin walk-off in the 10th, the Twins found themselves in a tough position in the top of the 8th inning in Game 7 as the Braves had the bases loaded with just one out in a 0-0 game. Tom Kelly decided to keep Jack Morris in the game and allow him to pitch to Braves batter, Sid Bream, who proceeded to hit into a 3-2-3 double play and keep the game at 0-0. This moment probably induced the second loudest roar from the Metrodome crowd in what was an all-timer Game 7.



4. Game 6 - Puckett scales the plexiglass

Puckett had another incredible moment in Game 6 that will come up later, but that moment may not have been possible if it wasn’t for his catch in the top of the third inning off of the bat of Ron Gant. Puckett scaled the plexiglass wall in center field to secure the fly ball. With a runner on first base, Puckett saved a run and made the most iconic catch in Twins history.

3. Game 7 - Morris throws 10 shutout innings

While not a single play, Jack Morris’s 10 shutout innings remains the best pitching performance in World Series history. Morris threw a total of 126 pitches in the 10 inning outing and provided Larkin with the opportunity to win the baseball game for the Twins. When Tom Kelly was thinking about whether he should’ve continued with Morris in the game or taken it out, Kelly iconically was quoted by saying, “Oh hell. It’s only a game.”

2. Game 6 - Puckett’s walk off

Bottom of the 11th inning, no outs, nobody on, tie game. Puckett launched a 2-1 pitch over the left-center fence and won the game for the Minnesota Twins, forcing a Game 7. This was the moment that spurred the legendary Jack Buck call, “We’ll see you tomorrow night” and still stands as the lasting Kirby Puckett memory for Twins fans everywhere. While the Puckett walk-off isn’t number one since it didn’t win a World Series, our number one moment would’ve been possible without it, and it’s a moment that will never be forgotten.

1. Game 7 - Larkin’s single wins it

The number one moment from the 1991 World Series was, of course, the moment that won the series. Larkin hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning to score Dan Gladden and win the Twins their second World Series in team history. Up to the point of the hit, Larkin had only hit .167 in the postseason but came through when it mattered most. Larkin remains a Minnesota legend and will never buy a meal again in Minnesota after delivering the deciding hit of Game 7.



What was your favorite moment from the 1991 World Series? Did I leave any off? Leave a comment below and start the conversation.

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18 Comments

I had forgotten about Chilli Davis’ game 3 home run. When I am feeling down and need cheering up I pull up Puckett’s game 6 home run. Therefore I would have that as number 1. It should noted that before game 6, facing elimination, Kirby asked teammates to “jump on his back” as he would carry the load. I am not sure correct quote. What I remember is “hop on the bus, I will carry the load.”

https://www.google.c...102616?amp=true

On Gene Larkin’s heroics. Larkin battled a knee injury most of the season and by the WS could barely run and therefore was limited to mostly pinch hitting duties for the WS. My memory is foggy but he may have actually reinjuried the knee in one of the early rounds of the playoffs. Not quite Kurt Gibson heroics but very close.
One glaring omission is Dan Gladden’s broken bat seeing eye hustle double in the top of the 10th in Game 7 that started the winning rally. That was a gutsy play perfectly executed and forced all the following action. My wife was pregnant with our oldest child and we watched the series. We joked we’d name our kid after the two heroes. For awhile, we feared it would be Kirby Herbie but Gladden Morris was the winner. We made a trip to Minnesota in 2019 to see the Twins and walking around the stadium before the game, I saw Dan Gladden and Jack Morris walking to the booth.
    • ashbury, #1ShaneMackFan, drbob524 and 2 others like this
Another omission that I see is The Knoblauch/Gagne decoy in the 8th immediately before that 3-2-3 double play. Lonnie Smith would have easily scored without the confusion.
    • #1ShaneMackFan, drbob524, spanman2 and 2 others like this
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SgtSchmidt11
Apr 13 2020 07:15 AM

 

Another omission that I see is The Knoblauch/Gagne decoy in the 8th immediately before that 3-2-3 double play. Lonnie Smith would have easily scored without the confusion.

Believe what you will, but Lonnie Smith claims that the decoy didn't fool him, he just had no idea where the ball went and couldn't find it.As to why he wasn't looking at the third base coach, I couldn't answer that either.

    • Diesel likes this

Honorable mention to Tapani pitching out of the jam in the top of the 8th in game 2. Just watched the game again on FSN the other night, what a gutty performance by Tap!

 

I would also put the Gagne-Knoblauch decoy on the list. I don't care what Lonnie Smith says, he got fooled and it was brilliant.

    • Nine of twelve and Diesel like this

Ok, Morris pitched a really great game but a lot of things had to go our way for that great game to be a 10 inning shutout. If ever a pitch looked like a hanger it was the one to Bream. 2nd place was the one from Liebrandt to Puckett.One hit a game winner and one hit into a double play. Such is baseball.  

 

 

I wouldn't put Larkin's at bat over Puckett's home run or catch. I would say above all else those two plays put Puckett in the HOF.

    • Clare and #1ShaneMackFan like this
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#1ShaneMackFan
Apr 13 2020 08:11 AM

The Chili home run in game three was one of my favorites, even in a losing effort. That was heart pumping.

 

I think my "favorite" play of all was the 3-2-3 DP in game 7. Herbie's fist/arm pump give me goosebumps every single time. So mush drama and intensity.

 

What does it say about this series that the decoy play and Galdden's double aren't even on the list? Then there are the great Braves plays like the end of games 3-4, Mark Lemke, etc... 

 

Simply amazing.

    • Dantes929, IndianaTwin and Matthew Taylor like this

 

 

 

What does it say about this series that the decoy play and Galdden's double aren't even on the list? Then there are the great Braves plays like the end of games 3-4, Mark Lemke, etc... 

 

Simply amazing.

Right??Smotz, Glavine Lemke and Pendleton were fantastic.Puckett's catch, Hrbek/Gant, Bream double play on a hanger/ As much joy as we take in the way things turned out that Series, Braves fans must agonize over that one.14 playoffs over the next 15 years where they were one of the favorites every time and they only had one WS to show for it.In an alternate universe they could have ended up with half dozen or more but for them I am thinking the 91 Series set the tone.

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Matthew Taylor
Apr 13 2020 08:36 AM

 

I wouldn't put Larkin's at bat over Puckett's home run or catch. I would say above all else those two plays put Puckett in the HOF.

 

It's definitely a strong argument, and your point is very well taken. For me it was hard to not put a Game 7 walk-off as #1, though. It's only happened four times in the modern era.

 

Another omission that I see is The Knoblauch/Gagne decoy in the 8th immediately before that 3-2-3 double play. Lonnie Smith would have easily scored without the confusion.

No doubt about this...that Knobby decoy saved the game at that point.  

What struck me after reading this article, is that the Twins played the game like a bunch of kids who drew up plays on the sandlot.Decoys, helping people overrun bases, bragging about carrying the team, home to first double plays, hustling to second on a big bounce, Kelly's comment about why he didn't take Morris out, etc.   

Made it a lot of fun!It's just a game 

 

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#1ShaneMackFan
Apr 13 2020 04:34 PM

Just watched Game 2. It's like a whole different universe.

 

8th inning and the game is tied. Tapani is still in with runners on 1st and 3rd and 1 out with Gant and Justice up. HE'S STILL IN???!! Today, not only is he no way allowed to pitch in that situation, he was probably pulled 2 innings prior. And he got out of it. What a joy to watch.

 

Leius's home run clears the fence by a couple inches. The crown goes nuts for about 5 minutes. No words spoken by McCarver or Buck the whole time. It is pandemonium and they shut up like they should. 

 

It was also great to see every home run led to a curtain call. Leius, Chili, Herbie in game 1 (I missed checking to see if Gagne did it, but he had to considering the rest did. Chili's was a first inning curtain call!)

 

I love that series. I was thinking today of amazing games 3-4 were too, and how excruciating it was to lose. But if we win 1 or both of those, we are robbed of the ultimate drama in games 6-7. In hindsight, it was all worth it. The series was basically perfection.

I didn't look up the exact circumstances but what about Lonnie Smith drilling Brian Harper at the plate? That, at least, was as good a collision you'd see in baseball.

 

I get the Larkin walk off as #1 but when one thinks of the 91 Series the first two things that come to mind is Kirby's shot (still get tears and am now) and Morris going 10.  

One glaring omission is Dan Gladden’s broken bat seeing eye hustle double in the top of the 10th in Game 7 that started the winning rally. That was a gutsy play perfectly executed and forced all the following action. My wife was pregnant with our oldest child and we watched the series. We joked we’d name our kid after the two heroes. For awhile, we feared it would be Kirby Herbie but Gladden Morris was the winner. We made a trip to Minnesota in 2019 to see the Twins and walking around the stadium before the game, I saw Dan Gladden and Jack Morris walking to the booth.

Concur. It would seem strange not to put Larkin's walk-off in the #1 spot for "drama and excitement", even though it amounted to a glorified sac-fly (outfield drawn in with fewer than two outs). But I can't put Gladden's contribution to that game-winner any lower than #5 in this ranking.

 

For the several moments while Gladden motored from home to second, Twins fans' emotions were whipsawed - "it could fall... yes! no, you fool, no no no... YES!"

 

It was said that Jack Morris prepared his entire life for his moment, and was ready. But Dan Gladden, probably, could be described this way even more so.

 

It is a testament to what an exciting World Series 1991 was, that four other "moments" outrank it.

 

PS. The Lonnie "Skates" Smith baserunning mistake also needed to be on this list of "Wow!" moments.
 

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IndianaTwin
May 22 2020 08:50 AM

 

The Chili home run in game three was one of my favorites, even in a losing effort. That was heart pumping.

 

I think my "favorite" play of all was the 3-2-3 DP in game 7. Herbie's fist/arm pump give me goosebumps every single time. So mush drama and intensity.

 

What does it say about this series that the decoy play and Galdden's double aren't even on the list? Then there are the great Braves plays like the end of games 3-4, Mark Lemke, etc... 

 

Simply amazing.

 

Herbie's fist pump puts goose bumps on the goose bumps that come from hearing Jack Buck's "...out there! (pause, and then louder) Out there!" 

 

    • #1ShaneMackFan likes this
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#1ShaneMackFan
May 23 2020 09:18 AM

 

Herbie's fist pump puts goose bumps on the goose bumps that come from hearing Jack Buck's "...out there! (pause, and then louder) Out there!" 

And those are on top of the goose bumps from the end of the 5th inning where Morris got a huge K and showed the first big emotional response of the night with his own fist pump/arm swing.

    • IndianaTwin likes this