1991, 1973 and 2019

We don’t play the Twins very often. We are now 12-8 against Minnesota in the games played after the greatest World Series game ever: October 27th 1991. Unless you were born too late to understand what was going on, I think it’s hard to call yourself a Braves fan if you don’t remember where you were in October 1991 in general and on that date in particular. I’m not going to write about it – the memories are still a bit too raw, and the linked recap is quite good. But it says a lot to me that the Braves won a World Series on a 1-0 game and lost one on a 1-0 game, and the loss will stick with me far longer than the win. I have been thinking a little about the play a week earlier and wondering what replay today would have made of it. I suspect the call would not have been overturned, but Kent Hrbek can still rot in hell next to Jim Leyritz when they reach the end of their stay in this plane.

Tfloyd this week got me thinking about 1973. The offensive prowess of this team will naturally send one to thinking about the 1973 team that led MLB with 799 runs scored, a full 41 runs better than the eventual world series winners that year, the A’s. An 800 run season is not that great any more, of course, but it would still be pretty good. The defense, however? Well, they gave up 774 runs and finished 5th in a 6 team division, 22.5 games out of first.

The story that year was Hank Aaron, Darrell Evans and Davey Johnson all hitting over 40 homers. That record still stands, though it has been equalled twice in Colorado: in 1996 (Burks, Castilla, Galarraga) and 1997 (Castilla, Galarraga and Walker). The outlier in the Braves troika was Johnson, who hit 43 but never again managed to hit even 20. He is the only player in baseball history to have hit 40 in a season without another season hitting 20. Even Brady Anderson, who hit 50 in 1996, managed two seasons of 24 and 21 homers.

So where do the Braves stand now? Well, baseball seasons are long, but the Braves currently have 7 players on a 20+ homer pace, 4 on a 30+ homer pace, and one on a 50+ homer pace. But these would not be records, because the 2019 Twins (101-61) had 8 players hit 20 and 5 hit 30+ (including Eddie Rosario, who is on a 27 homer pace this year). But, because the playoffs are a crapshoot, they were swept by the Yankees in the first round, though they did hit 4 homers in those 3 games.


I’ve been writing recaps here for several years, and this is the obligatory time of year that I point out that I don’t want anyone from my team playing in the All Star Game; to be honest, I’d greatly prefer it if there was no All Star Game. But if there has to be one, I don’t want my players in it. I say it every year, and a few of you agree with me and a few disagree. Don’t care anymore, really, but I provide this paragraph for our new readers.


“I’ll tell you why we came to Minnesota. It was when we found out you only had 15,000 blacks here. Black people don’t go to ballgames, but they’ll fill up a rassling ring and put up such a chant it’ll scare you to death. We came here because you’ve got good, hardworking white people here.”

Calvin Griffith, 1978

“Our review showed that MPD disproportionately stops Black and Native American people and employs different enforcement strategies in neighborhoods with different racial compositions. During stops involving Black and Native American people, MPD
conducts searches and uses force more often than it does during stops involving white people engaged in similar behavior.”

DOJ Investigation, June 23, 2023

If Kent Hrbek had behaved like a gentleman in 1991, I wouldn’t have had to write these two paragraphs. This is on him. But I also think the Randy Newman song Rednecks is a national treasure.

The Game

Tonight’s contest saw Clemson Tiger Spencer Strider versus Vanderbilt Commodore Sonny Gray whose given name, to my astonishment, is Sonny. He was named after his grandfather’s nickname. It’s a good thing, I guess, that his grandfather wasn’t known as Stinky. Or Petunia.

The Twins struck first when Only-Two-Outcomes Gallo blasted one to dead center. The Braves tied it up on a groundout by d’Arnaud scoring Riley in the 4th. At that point both pitchers dug in. Our boys really needed an extended start from Strider after the weekend’s XBox version of baseball. He gave them 7 strong innings with only the homer and two scratch singles.

The bottom of the seventh saw the tie broken on a Marcell Ozuna homer. A subsequent Michael Harris II infield single led to Emilio Pagan facing Ronald Acuna Jr. There’s nothing Gray could have thrown RAJ that could have had a worse result for him: 4-1.

At that point, you need two innings of semi-competent bullpen performance (ERA less than 13.5) to bank a win. Collin McHugh did his best to make it dicey, facing four batters and leaving men on second and third for Ben Heller to face. Heller got a lazy fly from Carlos Correa in what was probably the crucial at-bat of the game.

It was Kirby Yates for the save. It was good to see us beat the Twins with a guy named Kirby. It doesn’t erase this moment from 1991, not even close. But I’ll take it.

Frenchy Math

Gaudin: “Strider is throwing his changeup 7% of the time.”

Frenchy: “I’d like to see that almost double to 15%”

Well, if he’d actually gone to Clemson, they might have fixed that. Nah….