Braves defeat Pirates
4 games to 3
|Game||Date||Winning Team||Losing Team|
|1||Oct. 9||PIT 5||ATL 1|
|2||Oct. 10||ATL 1||PIT 0|
|3||Oct. 12||ATL 10||PIT 3|
|4||Oct. 13||PIT 3||ATL 2|
|5||Oct. 14||PIT 1||ATL 0|
|6||Oct. 16||ATL 1||PIT 0|
|7||Oct. 17||ATL 4||PIT 0|
Managers: Cox, Bobby, ATL; Leyland, Jim, PIT
MVP: Avery, Steve
A new era in the NL playoffs began in 1991, complete with the theme-music chant of the Tomahawk Chop at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta. The new trend in MLB power couples were Ted Turner and Jane Fonda, along with former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and wife Rosalynn, as annual fixtures in box seats for Braves postseason action. Starting with this series, Bobby Cox's Braves would appear in the playoffs every year through 2005, the only exception being 1994, when there was no such opportunity due to a labor dispute.
It started a postseason run like no other.
The Braves went from worst to first in '91, clinching the West on the second-to-last day of the regular season when they won and the Dodgers lost. Meanwhile, the Pirates were back in this series for a second year in a row, boasting the best record in the Majors, ostensibly ready to get over the hump and into their first World Series since the "We Are Family" days of '79.
All the Pirates needed was a better offensive showing this time by their All-Star outfield of Barry Bonds, Andy Van Slyke and Bobby Bonilla than they had produced against Cincinnati in 1990, right? Alas, that trio was a combined 15-for-75 (.200) in this seven-game series, one considered a pitching tour de force, with three 1-0 games and another shutout. The Pirates went the final 22 1/3 innings without scoring, basically mirroring what had happened to San Francisco in its seven-game NLCS loss to St. Louis in 1997. This particular NLCS offensive letdown felt like strike two for the Pirates, and remarkably they would wind up getting a chance for a third strike the next year.
While 1991 NL Cy Young Award winner Tom Glavine took the loss in both of his starts, fellow aces Steve Avery and John Smoltz were each 2-0 in their NLCS starts for Atlanta. Avery was named series MVP, but it was Smoltz who pitched a classic Game 7 shutout to clinch Atlanta's first-ever pennant -- and the first in franchise history since the 1958 Milwaukee Braves. Atlanta would face Minnesota in the Fall Classic, the first matchup of its kind; one of those two cities would earn its first World Series title.