The great Pete Van Wieren died one year ago today. Skip and Ernie also died in August.
Enjoy what used to be, as Skip and Pete take you back to the last great pennant race.
(On this day in 1993, the Braves were still 7.5 games behind the Giants. Five days later, they’d drop to 9.5 games out after losing their third in a row by a combined score of 23-8.)
Before Bud neutered the regular season, before corporate ownership sucked the soul from the Braves, baseball nirvana was commonplace on Capitol Avenue.
Rooting for the Braves in September 1993 meant meaningful games every night, almost every one of them beautifully pitched. The guy your team’s GM just stole from the Padres proves to be even better than you hoped. Skip and Pete were behind the mic. Recent call-ups Chipper, Klesko (who figures prominently in this clip) and Javy were on the bench. It doesn’t get much better than that.
It was so good even Atlanta’s fickle fans appreciated it. Nearly 50,000 people attended this game vs. the Reds. On a school night. The Braves drew 3.88 million that year — 1.5 million more than this year’s team.
There’s almost a casual nature to this comeback. The Braves entered the 9th, down 6-2. Less than 10 minutes later, it was over. Do I even need to tell you Rob Dibble gave up the game-winning homer?
Before the series came south, and went south, the Braves would rebound from a Game 1 defeat, clubbing the Phils 14-3. McGriff and TP had three hits and one homer apiece as the Bravos chased ex-farmhand Tommy Greene, who gave up 7 runs in 2-2/3 IP. They seemed on their way to advancing to the World Series after defeating the Phils 9-4 in Game 3, but then the bats went cold, managing just 7 runs in the remaining three games.
The 9th inning of one of the best games of the last great pennant race, in which the Braves rallied from four down in the 9th before 48,825 at Fulco. On a school night.
Featuring Chipper’s 2nd career AB, Klesko’s second career HR and a blown save by Rob Dibble, compliments of Ronnie Gant.
On May 6, 1993, the Braves staggered into old Mile HIgh Stadium 13-15, having been held to one run the night before by Bob Walk, who sucked.
The Braves went on to sweep the four-game series, outscoring the Rockies 46-22. Jeff Blauser and David Justice homered three times; Sid Bream and Mark Lemke, twice. The Bravos never flirted with .500 again.
The 2013 Braves topped that run differential by three runs, destroying the Rox 40-13. I won’t compare this Braves team to that one — I’m not dumb.
But sometimes it’s fun when history repeats.
The following night, the Crime Dog homered in his Braves debut, helping the local nine battle back from a 5-0 deficit to improve their record to 54-41. They ended play 9 games behind the Giants in the NL West.
Watch before Bud’s stooges pull it.
I miss David Justice.