Down to the Last Pitch: How the 1991 Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves Gave Us the Best World Series of All Time
Never before in baseball history had a team finished last and rallied to take the pennant the following season. Yet in 1991, lightning struck twice as the Minnesota Twins and the Atlanta Braves both reached the World Series. The remarkable turnarounds resulted in arguably the greatest Fall Classic of all time.
Four of the games between the Twins and Braves were settled by "walk-off" runs. Three of them, including the climactic Game Seven, went into extra innings. And all seven games had memorable moments—from close plays at the plate to base-running blunders to pitching gems to dramatic late-inning home runs. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution cautioned fans about sleep deprivation as the nation was riveted watching Jack Morris, Kent Hrbek, Dan Gladden, and Kirby Puckett go against Tom Glavine, Lonnie Smith, John Smoltz, and David Justice on primetime television.
In Down to the Last Pitch, award-winning writer Tim Wendel brings to life these seven memorable games, weaving contemporary interviews with discussions decades later about this classic World Series, and teasing out fact from legend.
When the final out was recorded in 1991, the cover headline in Baseball Weekly read, "BEST WORLD SERIES EVER?" While that can always be debated, what happened inside and outside the lines in 1991 continues to resonate today.
“DOWN TO THE LAST PITCH is a lovely, loving ode to baseball’s immutable law of possibility. Just when you think you’ve seen everything, read everything, along comes a book and an author in whose gifted hands the past comes alive and makes you believe in miracles all over again.”— Jane Leavy, author of The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America”s Childhood
"...the star of DOWN TO THE LAST PITCH is Wendel, one of our game’s must-read writers.” — John Thorn, Official Historian of Major League Baseball
Minnesota Twins Baseball: Hardball History on the Prairie
For more than half a century, Minnesotans have been treated to the memorable players and teams of the Minnesota Twins. From the Ruthian blasts of Harmon Killebrew and Kirby Puckett to a successful brand of "small ball," the Twins have fielded competitive teams at Metropolitan Stadium, the Metrodome and Target Field. But prior to its arrival in 1961, the team also had a storied past in Washington that included Walter Johnson, the greatest pitcher of the Deadball Era, if not all time. Sports historian Stew Thornley highlights the lesser-known events in the club's history, from the area's attempts to lure a major-league team to town in the 1950s to then-owner Calvin Griffith's campaign to regionally rename the team. He also pays tribute to the rich heritage of baseball before the Twins, marked by minor-league teams such as the St. Paul Saints and Minneapolis Millers, which produced future Hall of Famers Willie Mays, Duke Snider, Ted Williams and Roy Campanella.