Looking back at game six of the Braves 1995 World Series

Right now, there are no pitches to analyze. No at-bats to scrutinize over, no umpire to yell at and no managerial decisions to question. But just because there are no new memories to be made from baseball right now, doesn’t mean there aren’t ones to relive from the past. And there are a lot of things from baseball’s past you probably don’t remember. There are little nuggets and tidbits from every game that escape your mind as the years go by, even from the most iconic games ever. Game 6 of the 1995 Braves World Series.

For example, a lot of things happened in game six of the 1995 World Series before Marquis Grissom caught the final out that put the Atlanta Braves on top of the baseball world. In the spirit of a lineup card, here are nine things from October 28, 1995 you may not remember.

Braves 1995 World Series: Jim Poole had a very strange night

Poole’s most famous contribution to this game was of course giving up the solo home run to David Justice in the bottom of the sixth that ultimately decided it, but it may not have been entirely his fault.

Right from the start, Cleveland starter Dennis Martinez wasn’t feeling it. Martinez, a 41-year-old veteran by now, got off to a really rocky start. He allowed two hits in the bottom of the first, and Cleveland’s bullpen went to work. Poole was up and throwing until Martinez escaped the jam.

When Martinez walked the first two batters of the second inning, Poole was up again. Martinez got out of that one with a pop fly and a double play, and Poole took a seat once again. Martinez was in and out of trouble all night, and as a result Poole warmed up four separate times before finally entering the game in the bottom of the fifth.

And when he finally came in, he struck out Fred McGriff on three pitches in a big spot, before vacating the mound again.

Then in the top of the sixth after Tony Pena led off the inning with Cleveland’s only hit of the game—and try to imagine something like this ever happening in today’s era of baseball—Poole was asked to bunt. It was his first career plate appearance, and it came in game six of the World Series.

Unsurprisingly, he was unsuccessful. Turns out hitting Tom Glavine is hard! He popped out into foul territory, and Cleveland’s threat ended after two more at-bats.

So to recap, Poole had to start and stop warming up three separate times, warmed up a fourth time, got into the game just to throw three pitches, sat down again, stepped up to bat for the first time in his career and sat for a little longer after that before finally getting to face Justice leading off the bottom of the sixth.

“He’s going to wear himself out just getting and down in the ‘pen,” said Bob Costas on the broadcast during the 5th inning.

And Justice took full advantage. 

Braves 1995 World Series: The umpires had a brutal night

Some things never change, right? First of all, I have to start with this atrocious call in the bottom of the first. This play is almost the platonic ideal of why instant replay exists in 2020. Mark Lemke tries to steal second base and… he beats the throw. He straight up beats it. 

At worst it’s a tie. “There’s no doubt in my mind that he was safe,” Joe Morgan said on the broadcast. 

On the next pitch, Chipper Jones slapped a single into left field. This would’ve either put the Braves up 1-0 early, or put runners on the corners for Fred McGriff with one out. 

Do the Braves score? Maybe. But they probably run Martinez’s pitch count up a little more, and maybe Poole gets in the game earlier. We’ll never know. And then there’s the strike zone. 

Brutal. Just beyond terrible. It wasn’t unfair because it worked both ways, but home plate umpire Joe Brinkman was—dare I say—Greggian.

But somehow, that wasn’t even the biggest complaint of the night about him.

Braves 1995 World Series: Brinkman also had a ridiculously slow strike call.

Not only did Brinkman spend all night missing balls and strikes, he took forever to do it. In some cases a full second between the pitch being caught and the call. It was a constant theme on the broadcast all night. Costas, Morgan and Uecker were all very clear early on that this was a normal thing for Brinkman, and that slight delays should be expected after pitches. But two Costas quotes stuck out as he was getting increasingly frustrated. First, from the third inning:

“He likes to keep it his own little secret for a while.”

And then, in the sixth inning:

“I’m just going to ask him to fax the call up to the booth, it would arrive at about the same time.”

Braves fans spent the entire first half of the 1990s waiting to celebrate a championship, and Brinkman seemed desperate to prolong it even further just with his calls.

Braves 1995 World Series: Bobby Cox made a very controversial decision early in the game.

The Braves had a lot of chances to score before they finally broke through, but the best one came in the fourth. A double and a pair of walks loaded the bases with two outs for the struggling Rafael Belliard. He was 0-for-13 in the series and probably the exact guy Martinez wanted to see at the plate, maybe even more than Glavine.

Infielder Mike Mordecai was on the bench as a potential pinch hitter. He only had eight at-bats in the postseason, but he did have three hits and two RBIs. This was the opportunity to get Glavine enough run support to win the game with one swing. In today’s era of baseball with more bullpen arms this wouldn’t even be a decision. You make the change.

But Bobby Cox stuck with Belliard for defensive purposes. Predictably, Belliard popped out to shallow center field to let Cleveland off the hook. If the Indians had won the game and the series, this becomes another piece of painful Atlanta sports lore. As things turned out, Belliard made two great defensive plays later in the ballgame and vindicated Cox.

Sometimes it all works out.

The Braves missed a ton of chances to make this game less stressful

Tom Glavine put together one of the greatest pitching performances in World Series history, and man did the Braves need every bit of it. For a team who had lost its last nine World Series games all by one run, the first few innings of this game had to feel very ominous.

Two hits stranded in the first inning (admittedly one erased by a bad call.) Two walks stranded in the second inning. The aforementioned bases loaded miss in the fourth. Another two left on in the fifth. Even after taking the lead, the Braves missed a golden opportunity to put it out of reach by leaving the bases loaded in the seventh.

The “Oh no, here we go again,” energy out of all of Braves Country had to be so strong at that point. Nine World Series losses by one run in the space of five years, and you’re going to tempt fate by stranding 11 runners and going 0-for-6 with RISP?

Luckily, Glavine stared down the baseball gods and laughed with his eight innings of dominance.

Joe Morgan foreshadowed the infield fly arguments 17 years early

Yeah, this really happened. Javy Lopez popped out to shallow left field with runners on second and first and nobody out in the second. It was well out into the outfield, but the umpire called for an infield fly anyway. Sound familiar?

There was controversy because Omar Vizquel did what Pete Kozma couldn’t by actually catching the baseball, but Morgan did offer a line that became all too real in 2012.

“There’s no such thing as too far out (in the outfield) if he’s under control, which he is.”

TIme is a flat circle, and apparently infield flies to left field in Atlanta Braves postseason games are as well.

The Indians were as loaded as any team ever

I put this one in the seven-hole intentionally, because a young Jim Thome was batting seventh for the Indians that night. Yes, that Thome. The man who ended up hitting 612 home runs and knocking in 1,699 runs was batting in the bottom third of the order.

To truly appreciate what Glavine did, you have to understand how good this lineup was. The eight members of Cleveland’s lineup (American League pitcher Martinez excluded) combined for 18,458 hits, 9,900 RBIs, 2,503 home runs, 47 All-Star Game appearances, 20 Silver Slugger awards and 409.3 WAR.

This was one of the greatest offenses ever assembled. Every single guy 1-8 had at least 1,000 career hits and at least 700 RBIs. There were no easy outs, there were no soft places to land in a tough spot.

And Glavine mowed right through them for eight innings.

Cleveland’s hardest hit ball of the night was also its first one

It’s really easy to forget this one because literally everything happened after it, but Kenny Lofton gave the second pitch of the game a serious ride. He pushed Justice all the way to the edge of the warning track with a line drive before the right fielder glided over to make a catch in the gap.

It’s worth noting that Thome hit a flyball that actually did reach the warning track in the eighth, but it looked a little bit softer off the bat than Lofton’s to open the night.

And in an era without exit velocity stats, it’s fair to suggest Glavine got his one “mistake” of the night out of the way as early as possible. 

David Justice was having a terrible postseason before game six

Everyone remembers the comments he made in game six and the iconic “Dave Justice, all is forgiven in Atlanta!” line Bob Costas dropped as he was crossing home plate, but his serious struggles during the 1995 postseason are often forgotten.

When Justice entered play in game six, he was still looking for his first extra base hit of the postseason. He was hitting just .214 in the postseason before game six and mired in a 1-for-14 slump in the World Series itself.

But like Costas said, all was forgiven with one swing. And that’s something nobody will ever forget.

Thanks for reading about the Braves 1995 World Series. If you enjoyed this piece, take a look at our piece on one of our favorite Braves Minor League Teams.

Long Live Braves Journal!

36 thoughts on “Looking back at game six of the Braves 1995 World Series”

  1. I’ll say the quiet part out loud:

    Tom Glavine was, probably, my favorite Brave growing up. I adored his steely calm, his absolute unflappability, his unhittable changeup.

    But what would his career have been like with a robo-ump strike zone, which could be coming along with the DH in 2022? Could he still have gotten hitters to expand the zone purely psychologically? Could he have induced weak contact if he had to paint the corners of the plate, not just the corners of the box?

  2. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball.

    America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It’s been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt, and erased again. But baseball has marked the time.

    Until COVID-19, at which point baseball stopped, because Americans were simply no longer allowed to have nice things.

  3. How long do you think the world will be shut down, in terms of not being around people in anything more than very small groups?

    How long do you think we will feel ripple effects of this economic correction, and how long do you think until we have an economic recovery (markets stop falling)?

  4. I’ve said it other places, but not sure I’ve said it here…I’m going with the expectation that we won’t have baseball as we know it in 2020.

    Here’s an idea to cram in some fun for all 30 teams.

    A 2-month tournament.

    •Seeds ranked by last year’s W/L. Bracket’s split up into AL and NL.
    •1st round: Best of 5: 14 matchups, 2 top seed byes. (1 week, 3 days)
    •2nd round: Best of 5: 8 matchups (1 week, 3 days)
    •3rd Round: Best of 7: 4 matchups (2 weeks)
    •4th Round: Best of 7: 2 matchups (2 weeks)
    •5th Round: World Series (2 weeks)

    I want a full season, but how fun would it be?

  5. 8—If the panic stops relatively soon, the market fundamentals are still in good shape. I’d expect a quick recovery. Think ’87 & ’98, not post-9/11 & ’08/’09.

    Who knows when the panic stops, though? Humans aren’t exactly rational actors all the time.

    I expect “things” to get worse before they get better here in the US (e.g., a two-week lockdown is on the horizon, IMO); dunno whether that sort of expectation is already fully baked into the market.

  6. I agree with all that, Stu. A V-shaped recovery, a two-week lockdown, and panic will continue for the foreseeable future.

    I’d love to hear from JonathanF on this.

  7. I’m curious what you’re seeing in the housing market, Rob. How is it looking from there?

  8. I’ve talked to just about every Realtor that I care to listen to, and I think we are all expecting a temporary slowdown of the market. There will be so much fear that your sale will not perform well, and buying activity has already decreased, so that’s justified. So inventory will decrease and the buyer pool will shrink. I don’t think I’m going to be outside with a cup in my hand, but I think the housing market will definitely slow for 2-3 months.

    At this point, I’m wondering what industries will not slow down.

  9. Could a new schedule be even drawn up when the season starts? For instance, someone said that if we lost the first 48 games and picked up the schedule from there, the Braves would lose 23 home games, so that would be a disproportionate loss of home games. If they made the decision sooner rather than later to schedule the season start, say, 2 months after that date, is that even feasible? I would think no.

    And if so, there will be a lack of statistical integrity to some extent this year. With that said, I look forward to the craziness, if you will, of a shortened season due to something not related to a work stoppage. I think this will be one of the most-watched first months of a season in a long time.

  10. Well, I guess that answers my question.

  11. Baseball is most assuredly going to be played this year. They’re not going to shut down July, August, September, — most importantly — October and (potentially November) because April, May, June got wiped out. There are so many ways they can figure out how to have an exciting season with the time that is left.

    I know this is controversial, but I always felt like 162 games is too long. My wife is beyond tired of baseball right around college football season. I am often forced to acquiesce.

    It’ll be interesting to see what the NBA does. They’re shut down right now, obviously, and they’ve been talking about starting their season later in the year. If baseball lengthens its season, there is going to be A LOT of sports competition in November.

  12. I just drove down 30A by Seaside and flocks of people from all over are galavanting around with no care in the world. While I want to have faith in humanity, social distancing is remarkably important if we want to have normalcy in our lives back sooner, rather than later. Most people smarter than me thinks USA will be under crowd control for 6 months (March-August).

  13. I guess the UK will show us soon enough if isolation is necessary. Their whole “herd immunity” thing is getting a lot of criticism, but they may be able to prove that total isolation is not necessary. Lord willing, in a few weeks, both the isolated counties and the non-isolating countries will have illness counts that suggest that we can all come out from our homes. I just don’t know how multi-month prognostications can be taken as gospel until we have a larger body of data (and competing bodies of data).

    This is what I do know: if we wake up 3 weeks from now, the illness counts and mortality rates are extremely low, and the large percentage of our country that is living paycheck-to-paycheck is beyond broke, there is going to be a hard time convincing everyone that this is worth completely shutting down our economy over. This is obviously a bet towards the mortality and infection rates significantly declining, but if it does, I just can’t see the world continuing to be shut down.

  14. I don’t believe this is a panic, given that the federal government just announced more stringent guidelines than were already being observed just about anywhere in the country. Whatever people were doing, looks like it hasn’t gone far enough for the pandemic experts. Stay safe, everyone — you might be needed by those who fall ill.

  15. Depends on which parts you define as “panic”. I’d say no toilet at your local grocery store is a panic. My wife’s friend walked into Walmart yesterday wearing scrubs and a customer berated a Walmart manager saying that my wife’s friend is “infecting” everyone. I’d say that’s a panic.

    Sounds reasonable. I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t make up a single game, though.

  16. OK yes, the individual responses run the gamut. Apologies if that’s what was meant. But a collective rational decision can result in supply chain disruption, and many people are out buying for large or multiple households (others are hoarding). Regardless, the toilet paper supplies will soon be replenished!

  17. I think that the closest analogy in semi-recent baseball history is the 1981 strike season, where the first half and second half were essentially both played as mini-seasons. I think we’ll have a mini-season, and it’ll probably have to be treated like the 1981 halves in the record books.

  18. I don’t think we’re short on TP because people were buying for their aunts and uncles. And I think when people at Walmart think that CV is dripping from people in scrubs, that’s panic.

    But overall, I agree. The increased severity of guidelines and the way people are taking this seriously is the right call, and it’s what will get us back to baseball and entertainment and life as we know it sooner. If it got baseball here even a couple weeks faster than it otherwise would — regardless of all the other inherent benefits to this virus being gone — I’d go under light martial law. I think we are, myself included, slowly understanding that the more we shut down, the faster things like baseball come back, and that’s a good thing.

    A short baseball season has so many cool storylines. Could pitchers pitch on shorter rest if they’re not saving themselves for a potential 250 IP season (with postseason)? Could they pitch deeper into games? Will there be more complete games in a short season? Will the 26th-man, let alone the 24th- and 25-th, be completely unnecessary when you’re not saving players for the long season? Will players that otherwise wore out have truly dominant rate stats? Will managers manage for the individual game moreso than otherwise? There are so many interesting questions.

  19. So fun.

  20. Shopping Tip

    don’t buy toilet paper

    buy a bidet attachment to your loo

    $200 at Amazon

    never use TP again

    The French, you know. They know, clever fellas.

  21. My God. The Jadeite Jewel. What an incomparable player.

    Public service announcement: go listen to Emma Ruth Rundle. She’s in a bunch of cool bands (Marriages and Red Sparowes, plus she’s collaborated with Evan Patterson’s great band Jaye Jayle) and her solo stuff is great. Just go listen to her.

  22. You might want to hear from me, Rob, but the short answer is “I got no idea, and neither does anybody else who knows anything.” It sort of depends on how long everything goes on, and on how long it takes to bring everything back. I’m still optimistic, but I recognize I could be wrong.

  23. #29

    Yup, nobody knows, really… and until we get a clearer picture of the “curve,” I’ll just follow “the rules,” work from home & hope for the best.

    Yeah, MLB seems a distant thing at the moment, but I’d guess they’ll just do a short season & however it turns out, it turns out. We’ll probably have a Seattle/Cincinnati World Series or something weirder.

  24. A couple thoughts on the ’95 WS…

    Maybe I’m weird, but I still love to watch Tony Pena’s reaction to the Justice home run.

    I work with a guy in his 20s who’s a huge Indians fan. He’s from Long Island, but he hates the Yanks & was really never fond of the Mets, so he got hitched on the Tribe during the Sizemore/Hafner/Sabathia Era — 2007, another team that coughed up a great chance at the title. But that’s another story…

    And I always tell him, “These Indians teams that you’ve watched aren’t in the same universe as those ’90s teams. Better pitching, OK… but that lineup was as good as I ever saw.” And it really was.

    I mean, Albert Belle from 1991 to 2000… yikes.

  25. Funny how Atlanta’s ’90s team eerily paralleled its ’50s team (led by an HOF 3rd baseman and southpaw), right down to losing in the World Series, and Cleveland’s ’90s team eerily paralleled its ’50’s team (led by a murderous offense but not quite enough pitching), right down to losing in the World Series.

    JonathanF, I’m really glad to hear you’re optimistic, even with the caveat that nobody knows anything. I’ve been figuring we’re headed for a global recession. Even a small chance of avoiding that would give me some really nice hope to hang onto.

  26. Europe is almost under complete lockdown. To have this fully under control the European health institutes reckon it would take 18-24 months. “Fully under control” doesn’t necessarily mean that we all stay under lockdown that long but it could be.
    The European Football Championships have been postponed to summer 2021. I like your optimism, Rob, and I hope you’re right but I don’t think we’ll see any baseball or sports events for that matter this summer.

  27. I think Timo is right. Not living in fear does not mean being stupid. Be safe, but celebrate each day.

    Questions: does service time calculation stop if no games are played? Do pending free agents get pushed back until play resumes? Do players get paid if there is no season?

  28. Albert Belle was scary. So was Richie Allen. I’ve not looked at either’s stats but plan to now, thanks to ububba’s memory jog.

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