Counting down the 25 most influential figures in Atlanta Braves history.
No offense to Sid Bream, but anyone can slide. But how many can do what Francisco Cabrera did 22 years ago?
Soon after Big Frank was called up in 1992, I turned to my roommate at UGA and predicted, “He’s going to drive in the winning run in Game 7 of the NLCS.” I know that’s unbelievable (why not Game 7 of the World Series?) but he’ll vouch for me.
CD and I were there on Oct. 14, 1992 sitting in the OF seats, between center and right. After Jeff Blauser struck out to end the 8th, I retreated to the concourse for a cigarette. A Pirates fan, wearing an oversized hook on his hand, passed by, mocking the chop. I said nothing. No one did. We were defeated.
We of little faith.
I didn’t recall my fateful forecast when Big Frank strode to the plate, but I had confidence he’d deliver. There was something about Francisco Cabrera. …
Since I’ve never married or had a kid I can easily say Sid’s slide was the most euphoric moment of my life. Hands down. When I finally got back to Athens the party had spilled out into the streets. I drove through downtown, windows down, screaming, “I was there, I was there,” high-fiving all the drunks. Imagine that happening today.
When I got home my roommate greeted me enthusiastically, “You predicted this!” Even I was incredulous.
Some 15 years later, I interviewed Big Frank in the Dominican Republic. He was going to be my guide in a quest to find Pascual Perez but I could tell he wasn’t excited about it. Apparently the late Braves hurler owned a lot of guns and was suspicious of visitors.
We ended up hanging around the Braves complex in San Francisco de Macoris, chatting about his career and, of course, Oct 14, 1992. I told him about my prediction. Naturally, he was skeptical but indulged me when I asked for a personalized autograph.
It reads: “To Christian, You were right, Francisco Cabrera, #19.”