1991 October

1st Lee Smith of the Cardinals sets an NL record with his 46th save of the year in a 3-1 victory over the Expos. He’ll finish the year with 47.

At Fenway, the Tigers outhit the Red Sox to win, 8–5. Frank Tanana (12–12) evens his record. Wade Boggs has a pair of doubles to top the 40 mark for the 7th straight year. Only Joe Medwick has done this in ML history.

Joe Oliver hits a grand slam as the Reds score 6 runs in the 1st inning against the Braves.  But Atlanta claws back to win, 7-6. Terry Pendleton is 4-for-5 with a homer, and David Justice provides the margin of victory with a 2-run homer in the 9th. The Braves trail the Dodgers by a game.

2nd  The Padres score 6 runs in the 8th and belt the Dodgers, 9-4, sending LA into a tie for first place with the Braves.

3rd In the 2nd game of a doubleheader against the Minnesota Twins, Chicago C Carlton Fisk smashes 2 HRs and a double to lead the White Sox to a 13-12 12-inning victory. In doing so, just 9 months shy of his 44th birthday, Fisk becomes the oldest 20th century player to hit a pair of 4-baggers in the same game. His 7th inning grand slam off Steve Bedrosian also makes him the oldest major leaguer ever to hit a bases loaded homer. Cap Anson, at 45, clubbed two homers on this date in 1897: he’s the oldest to hit a pair. The two teams combine to collect 40 hits and bang 8 homers. Game 1 goes 10 innings as the Sox win, 3-2, with 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th and another in the 10th.

At Fenway, Rob Deer hits a 3-run homer and Cecil Fielder clubs his 44th, an 8th-inning grand slam, as the Tigers down the Red Sox, 10-5. Fielder and Canseco are tied for the AL lead in HRs.

4th  Trailing 3–2 in the 9th, Cleveland’s Jim Thome hits a two-out, two-run homer, his first in the majors, to give the Tribe the lead over the Yankees. Steve Olin pitches the 9th to save the win for reliever Eric Bell. With four wins over the past month, Bell (4-0) ends the year with the most wins for an undefeated pitcher on a team losing a hundred games (as noted by Greg Crouse).

5th  The Cubs sweep a pair from the Cards, winning 3–2 and 7–5. Bob Scanlon wins game 1 and recently acquired Yorkis Perez takes game 2.

At Arlington Stadium, Rickey Henderson is 4-for-4, including a double and homer, scores 3, knocks in 3, and steals 4 bases to pace the A’s to a 12-5 win over Texas.

The Braves win their 8th in a row, defeating the Astros, 5-2 behind the pitching of John Smoltz.

6th  Greg Maddux and the Cubs beat the Cards, 7-3, with Omar Olivares the loser.  The Cards are thwarted in their attempt to become the first team since the 1912 Washington Senators to have 10 players with 10 or more stolen bases. In the 9th inning, Joe Torre inserts Tom Pagnozzi, with 9 steals, into the game as a pinch runner, but Hector Villanueva throws him out. Yesterday, Pagnozzi reached base twice and both times the burly Villanueva gunned him down.

It’s Fan Appreciation Day as David Cone of the Mets ties an NL record by striking out 19 Phillies in a 7–0 Mets win. The total gives Cone 241 for the year, as he leads the league for the 2nd straight season. Teammate Howard Johnson ends the season with 117 RBIs to lead the NL, the first Mets player to do so. He’s also the first NL switch-hitter to lead in ribbies.

7th Manager Stump Merrill is fired by the Yankees.

8th The Twins defeat the Blue Jays, 5–4, in Game 1 of the ALCS behind Jack Morris.

Manager Joe Morgan is fired by the Red Sox and replaced by Butch Hobson.

9th The Blue Jays even the ALCS at 1 game apiece with a 5-2 triumph, snapping Minnesota’s post season home winning streak at 7 games.

The Pirates defeat the Braves in Game 1 of the NLCS, 5–1. 1990 Cy Young Award winner Doug Drabek gets the victory for the Bucs and Andy Van Slyke homers.

Manager Tom Trebelhorn is fired by the Brewers.

10th Steve Avery’s brilliant pitching helps the Braves even the NLCS at a game apiece. Avery holds the Pirates scoreless for 8 1/3 innings, allowing just 6 hits. Atlanta scores the game’s only run on a double by Mark Lemke in the 6th inning.  In attendance are Bill Craib and Sue Easler, who visited ever major and minor-league ball park—all 178 of them—during the year. They began their tour on April 9th at Oakland and ended it October 6th at Yankee Stadium.

Manager Jim Lefebvre is fired by the Mariners and replaced by 3B coach Bill Plummer.

11th Mike Pagliarulo strokes a pinch 2-run  homer in the 10th inning to power the Twins to a 3-2 victory over the Blue Jays in Game 3 of the ALCS.

The Mets hire Jeff Torborg as manager. Torborg resigned as manager of the White Sox to take the position with New York.

12th The Twins take a 3 games to 1 lead in the ALCS with a 9-3 win behind Jack Morris. OF Dan Gladden drives in 3 runs for the victors, and Kirby Puckett homers.

Catcher Greg Olson’s 2-run homer caps a 4-run Brave 1st as Atlanta goes on to a 10-3 victory over Pittsburgh in Game 3 of the NLCS. Ron Gant and Sid Bream homer for the Braves, who take a 2 games to 1 lead.

13th Minnesota advances to the World Series for the 2nd time in 3 years with a come-from-behind 8-5 win over Toronto. ALCS MVP Kirby Puckett leads the way with a homer in the 1st and a single to break a 5-5 tie in the 8th. Rick Aguilera gains his 3rd save of the series as reliever David West notches the win.

Mike LaValliere’s 2-out pinch single in the 10th inning drives home the go-ahead run as the Pirates even the NLCS. Steve Buechele’s 3 hits give him 5 straight over 2 games to tie an NLCS record.

14th OF David Justice of the Braves fails to touch 3B while running home, costing Atlanta a run in an eventual 1-0 loss to Pittsburgh in Game 5 of the NLCS. Jose Lind’s single in the 5th accounts for the only run of the game.

16th Greg Olson’s 9th inning double scores the only run of the game as the Braves, behind another magnificent performance by Steve Avery, shut out the Pirates, 1-0, to force a 7th game. Atlanta’s Ron Gant steals his 6th base of the series in the 9th for a new playoff record.

17th The Braves advance to the World Series with John Smoltz leading the way as he hurls a 6-hit, 4-0 shutout. The Pirates fail to score in the last 22 innings of the series. Steve Avery is named the MVP of the NLCS.

18th The managerial merry-go-round continues as Jim Essian is fired as manager of the Chicago Cubs. Managers axed to leave this year include Nick Leyva, Frank Robinson, John Wathan, Buck Rodgers, John McNamara, Don Zimmer, Doug Rader, Bud Harrelson, Jim Essian, Tom Trebelhorn, Joe Morgan (from Massachusetts), Stump Merrill, and Jim Lefebvre.

19th The Twins defeat the Braves 5-2 in Game 1 of the World Series. SS Greg Gagne’s 3-run HR off Charlie Leibrandt in the 5th inning helps support the strong effort of winning pitcher Jack Morris.

20th The Twins take a 2-0 lead in the Series with a 3-2 victory over the Braves. The deciding blow is a leadoff HR in the 8th inning by rookie Scott Leius. Chili Davis also homers for Minnesota.

22nd 2B Mark Lemke’s 2-out single in the 12th inning gives the Braves a 5-4 win in Game 3 of the Series. Lemke had made a potentially crucial error in the top half of the inning. The contest is the longest night game in Series history at 4 hours and 4 minutes, and the second longest by innings. The Twins use a WS-record 23 players in the game.

23rd The Braves even the Series at 2 games apiece with a 3-2 win in Game 4. Journeyman catcher Jerry Willard’s sac fly in the bottom of the 9th is the deciding blow. Terry Pendleton and Lonnie Smith stroke solo homers for the NLers, while Mike Pagliarulo does the same for the Twins.

24th  The Braves win their 3rd game in a row, 14-5, to take the Series lead. Lonnie Smith, David Justice, and Brian Hunter pound out HRs, with Smith becoming the first player to homer in 3 consecutive Series games since Reggie Jackson in 1977. Smith, who became Atlanta’s starting LF when Otis Nixon was suspended for failing a drug test in September, is playing for his fourth team in a World Series.

26th Minnesota evens the Series at 3 games each with a 4-3 win on Kirby Puckett’s dramatic HR in the bottom half of the 11th inning.

27th In one of the great World Series finales, the Twins become World Champions with a 1-0 victory in 10 innings behind Jack Morris’s masterful pitching. Gene Larkin’s single off Alejandro Pena scores Dan Gladden with the game’s only run. The game is the first Game 7 to go into extra innings since the Senators-Giants Series in 1924. Morris is named the Series MVP for the Twins, who win all 4 games in the Metrodome while losing all 3 in Atlanta. Four of the 7 games are decided on the final pitch, while 5 are decided by a single run, and 3 in extra innings. All are Series records. Morris’s 10-inning masterpiece is the last extra-inning complete game of the century.