NOTES - Down to the Last Pitch: How the 1991 Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves Gave Us the Best World Series of All Time - Tim Wendel

Down to the Last Pitch: How the 1991 Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves Gave Us the Best World Series of All Time - Tim Wendel (2014)



ixthe ballpark looks as if: “Warts, Love and Dreams in Buffalo,” Sports Illustrated, Jan 20, 1969.

ix“last fine time: Verlyn Klinekenborg, The Last Fine Time, 3–7.


1as loud as they had been in 1987: Greg Gagne, author’s interview, Feb 21, 2013.

1despite a bad knee: Gene Larkin, author’s interview, May 7, 2013.

2“What people target is that both of them”: Ibid.

2thinking nearly the same thing: Brian Harper, author’s interview, Feb 14, 2013.

3Such postseason classics can be counted: Discussions with the researchers at the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.

4“Every pitch, every strike”: Terry Pendleton, author’s interview, May 21, 2013.

4“My father told me”: “Jack Morris and Tom Kelly Relive Game Seven,” (St. Paul) Pioneer Press, Aug 5, 2011. Kelly said something similar in the victorious clubhouse after the final game in 1991.

4“great for our industry”: “Last-to-1st Duel Would be Sweet,” Chicago Tribune, Oct 14, 1991.

4marked only the third time in last sixty-one World Series games: “World Series notes,” USAT Today Baseball Weekly, Oct 18–24, 1991.

5had risen quickly: “Rookie settles in,” USAT Today Baseball Weekly, Oct 18–24.

6“Chuck’s development”: Andy MacPhail, author’s interview, Sept 19, 1991.

6“He’s stepped in”: Terry Crowley, author’s interview, Sept 19, 1991.

7“It was a glamour team”: “At last, Atlanta,” Sporting News, Oct 14, 1991.

8“Just kidding”: author’s observation.

8“It’s the feel”: Frank Robinson, author’s interview, July 9, 1995.

10“be ready for the fastball”: Gagne interview.

10“that’s what he got”: Tom Kelly, press conference, Oct 19, 1991.

11“I wasn’t close to any of them”: Gagne interview.

12“He struck out Kirby Puckett twice”: Greg Olson, author’s interview, Oct 19, 1991.

12In short order: Paul White, author’s interview, June 9, 2013.

14“Damn right I was worried”: Tom Kelly, press conference, Oct 14, 1991.

14“Sure, you wonder”: Joe Carter, author’s interview, August 1, 1993.

15“we knew he could play”: Kirby Puckett, postgame, Oct 19, 1991.

15“We had a very patient ownership group”: Pat Gillick interview, Hall of Fame, accessed at

16“Thanks for that phone call”: author’s observation.

17“it wasn’t a popular thing to say”: MacPhail interview.

17“She was more embarrassed than anything”: Fay Vincent, postgame comments, Oct 19, 1991.

18“the most human baseball player”: “The Crazy & The Wacky,” ESPN The Magazine, May 2004.

18“if he wasn’t in baseball”: Joe Kelly, author’s interview, Aug 16, 1991.

18“If I wasn’t managing baseball”: Tom Kelly, author’s interview, Aug 17, 1991.

19“It gave me an understanding”: “The Twins’ Silent Partner,” New York Times, July 13, 1992.

19“You ain’t doing diddly”: Ibid.

21“such a competitor”: Harper interview.

21“We didn’t invent the rally caps”: Mark Grant, author’s interview, April 13, 2013.

22“doing deep-breathing exercises”: Footage of the Braves after the National League Championship Series,

23“They got us to the seventh game of the World Series”: “Pitching Potential,” USA Today Sports Weekly, June 18, 2003.

23“the best pitching in baseball”: Andy Van Slyke, author’s interview, June 11, 2013.


27The Metrodome opened for business: Gary Gillette and Eric Enders, Big League Ballparks: The Complete Illustrated History, 364–367.

28“nuke this place”: “Pave paradise, put up a Metrodome,” Baltimore Sun, Oct 19, 1991.

28“good uses for nuclear weapons”: “Jim Caple’s Worst Ballparks,”,

28“the rain pelting”: “The Metrodome has its moments,” ESPN. com, page 2.

28“problem with the roof”: “NL champ to enter house of horror,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Oct 19–25, 1991.

28“You cannot do that in the Metrodome”: Harper interview.

29“Lemke has much better range”: Pregame press conference, Oct 20, 1991.

29Team payrolls: USA Today, accessed at It’s amazing to change the year from 1991 toward future dates on this Web site. You literally see the separation between the haves and the have-nots in baseball. The Oakland Athletics go from being the team with the biggest payroll in the game to the team of Moneyball before your eyes.

30“I’m not stupid”: Chili Davis, author’s interview, May 18, 2013.

30“He helped everybody”: “Words flow easily—but infrequently—from Chili Davis,” (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, Oct 6, 1991.

30“the guys won about 75 percent”: Davis, Pregame comments, Oct 20, 1991.

31“it’s synonymous with my name”: “Ex-umpire Don Denkinger feels for umpire Jim Joyce,” Associated Press, June 4, 2010.

31“Had I got that play right”: “Study shows 1 in 5 close calls wrong,”, Aug 16, 2010.

31“My back and my arm were killing me”: Harper interview.

31“We try to stay away from circuses”: Tom Kelly and Ted Robinson, Season of Dreams: The Minnesota Twins’ Drive to the 1991 World Championship, 255.

32“double my size”: Ron Gant, postgame comments, Oct 20, 1991.

32tale of the tape: The Baseball Encyclopedia: The Complete and Definitive Record of Major League Baseball, Macmillan, 1993.

32“The officiating has got to be better”: Gant, postgame comments, Oct 20, 1991.

32“He came into the base”: Kent Hrbek, postgame comments, Oct 20, 1991.

32“His momentum”: Drew Coble, postgame comments, pool reporter, Oct 20, 1991.

33“There is no appeal”: Don Denkinger, postgame comments, pool reporter, Oct 20, 1991.

33“You don’t like to cry”: Bobby Cox, postgame comments, Oct 20, 1991.

33“Ron Gant forgot to slide”: Dan Gladden, author’s interview, May 28, 2013.

33“Andy was asking me the usual questions”: Harper interview.

33“Umpires don’t like to be embarrassed”: Cox, postgame comments, Oct 20, 1991.

34“gave our approval”: “Twins bobblehead on Aug. 5 to immortalize Hrbek/Gant tango,” (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, March 7, 2011.

34“still cursed”: Gladden interview. This is another reason why I’ll tune in the Twins’ broadcasts. Gladden will do the goofiest stunts.

34reminded pitching coach Leo Mazzone of Whitey Ford: “Glavine is the Whitey Ford of his era,” USA Today, July 22, 2002.

34“stoic figure”: Ibid.

35signature pitch: “A Gripping Tale,” Sports Illustrated, July 13, 1992.

35“dial up on that heater”: Major League Baseball Network, July 20, 2009.

35“made all the difference to me:” Sports Illustrated, “A Gripping Tale, July 13, 1992.

35“changeup after changeup”: John Schuerholz with Larry Guest, Build to Win: Inside Stories and Leadership Strategies From Baseball’s Winningest GM, 50.

36Montana, for example pitched no-hitters: “When smiles leave the game,” USA Today, Aug 22, 2005.

36McGwire quit baseball temporarily: Ibid.

37“just one black crayon?”: “The Specialists,” USA Weekend, Aug 27, 2000.

37“lottery ticket”: Ibid.

37“old basketball move”: “When smiles leave the game,” USA Today, Aug 22, 2005.

38“Everyone dreams”: “Whoopee for the Kid from U.P.!” Sporting News, Aug 6, 1990.

39“my pitches are hittable”: Kevin Tapani, author’s interview, Sept 9, 1991.

39“always could command his fastball”: Harper interview.

40“But who’s up next?”: Ibid.

40“In looking back:” Kevin Tapani, author’s interview, Aug 2, 2001.

40Back home after 9/11: “Kevin Tapani, in his own words, MLB. com,” Sept 16, 2001.

41“sweet spot in time”: Steve Hirdt, author’s interview, Jan 30, 2013.

42“There’s no question”: “Baseball union observes anniversary,” (Bend) Bulletin, July 2, 1991.

42“to turn back the clock”: Tom Reich, author’s interview, July 16, 1991.

42“hated the feeling”: “The Two Sides of Tom Glavine,” Sporting News, May 1, 1995.

43“Fans were ticked off”: “Glavine has vintage Ford look,” USA Today, July 23, 2002.

43“big fan of Mike’s”: Scott Leius, author’s interview, Feb 22, 2013.

44“I didn’t know if I was really ready or not”: Ibid.

44“were both happy”: “Leius matches hero with dramatic homer,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Oct 25–31, 1991.

44“a great coach”: Leius interview.

45“Glavine had all his pitches going”: Ibid.

45“Every night it’s somebody different”: “Leius matches hero with dramatic homer,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Oct 25–31, 1991.

45“kind of that team we were”: Ibid.

45“didn’t know what to do”: Leius interview.

46Early save numbers: National Baseball Hall of Fame.

47As Dalkowski soon disappeared: Steve Dalkowski remains one of my favorite characters in baseball. For more about this phenom fireballer who didn’t make it, check out my book High Heat: The Secret History of the Fastball and the Improbable Search for the Fastest Pitcher of All Time.

48This phase was redefined beginning in 1987: The 1986–1987 Oakland Athletics were one of the first teams I ever covered on a daily basis, which I touch on several times here. They were a colorful group, and nobody was more of a showman than Dennis Eckersley, the pitcher that manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan made into the prototypical closer.

48“Eck always threw strikes”: “One Eck of a Guy,” Sports Illustrated, Dec 12, 1988.

50“used like Jeff Reardon”: “Aguilera has last Minny ha-ha,” (New York) Daily News, July 15, 1990.

51“Off the field”: Harper interview.


54“That series”: “Series becomes a classic one run at a time,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Oct 19–24, 1991.

54“so sweet”: Ibid.

55“His concentration level is so great”: “Avery: New Steve Carlton?” Sporting News, April 30, 1990.

55grew up a Tigers fan: “NL Beat,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Aug 21–28, 1991. It does boggle the mind what could have been for the Detroit Tigers if they had somehow signed Avery and hung on to John Smoltz. The ballclub in the early 1990s had Cecil Fielder and the double-play combination of Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell, but after staff ace Jack Morris left to sign with the Twins the starting rotation was Frank Tanana and not much else.

56“Makes you wonder:” Tom Kelly, pregame comments, Oct 22, 1991.

56Although Avery was expected to get stronger: “At 21, Avery owns October,” (New York) Daily News, Oct 18, 1991.

56“It’s just a style I prefer”: “Who Is This Guy?” Baseball America, Aug 9, 1991.

56“It’s not his stirrups, shoes, or glove”: “Armed and Dangerous,” Los Angeles Times, July 15, 1991.

56“another day of death”: “The Prince of Darkness,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Aug 15–21, 1991.

56“Rockhead”: “Tense and intense,” (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, Aug 4, 1991.

56“snake in the grass”: Ibid.

56Top Gun at least one hundred times: “Night owl, future accountant, movie buff is multifaceted guy,” (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, “July 25, 1991.

57“Ted Ortiz”: Ted Robinson, author’s interview, Feb 25, 2013.

58attendance in Wisconsin dropped: “The Franchise Transfer that Fostered a Broadcasting Revolution,” The National Pastime: Baseball in the Peach State, Aug 2010.

59Georgia-born all-star team: “The All-Time Atlanta Braves All-Star Team,” The National Pastime. While he may have grown up a St. Louis Cardinals fan, Terry Sloope certainly embraced the Braves after moving to the Atlanta area. Not only did he compile this All-Star team, but he’s one of the key members of the Magnolia Chapter of the Society of American Baseball Research in Atlanta. I see now that one of this book’s beginnings came in 2009 when chapter president and author Mil Fisher brought me down to speak to the Magnolia Chapter about my book High Heat, in which I went in search of the fastest pitcher of all time. It was a great evening as Mil, Terry, and other chapter members talked baseball into the night and stayed in touch ever since.

59the Black Crackers: “The Atlanta Crackers,” The National Pastime. Leslie Heaphy wrote this piece and few know more about the game’s beginnings in this part of the country than him.

60“I’ll never forget meeting him”: the Rev. Billy Graham, author’s interview, May 27, 1994.

60Salvation Army gospel group: Mike Sowell, July 2, 1903: The Mysterious Death of Hall-of-Famer Big Ed Delahanty, 55.

60Baseball and girls: Graham interview.

61“He’s from North Carolina”: Bobby Richardson, author’s interview, May 15, 1994.

62“baseball is good as our national pastime”: Graham interview.

621978 San Francisco Giants: “The Gospel and Game: The Growing Number of Born-Again Christians in Baseball Tests Clubhouse Chemistry,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, June 14, 1994.

62“we always have guys hitting extra”: Kirby Puckett, author’s interview, May 1, 1994.

63“completely different breed”: Ibid.

63“That’s where I drew the line”: Kent Hrbek, author’s interview, April 29, 1994.

63“death in the family”: Ibid.

64“It had nothing to do with one’s religion”: Andy MacPhail, author’s interview, May 3, 1994.

64by design: Greg Cylkowski, author’s interview, May 2, 1994.

64Gaetti option: Dennis Bracken and Patrick Reusse, Minnesota Twins: The Complete Illustrated History, 124–125.

65one of baseball’s real innovators: “The Franchise Transfer that Fostered a Broadcasting Revolution,” The National Pastime: Baseball in the Peach State, Aug 2010.

65“You’re looking at a genius”: “Ted Turner, Hank Aaron influenced each other as well as Georgia,” Savannah Morning News, February 14, 2010; Hank Aaron, author’s interview, Oct 4, 1998.

66to call his own: “The Franchise Transfer that Fostered a Broadcasting Revolution,” The National Pastime, Aug 2010.

66“It would be Bobby Cox”: “What a beautiful ride: The Life and Times of Bobby Cox’s MLB managerial career,” Yahoo Sports, Nov 9, 2010.

66“Where’s Dave?” “Ted Turner managed to shake up baseball in ’77,” Washington Times, May 9, 2005.

67“take some credit for this”: Ibid.

67Turner’s flair: Van Slyke interview.

67“very, very marginal”: “Vincent tells Nixon to sit,” USA Today, Sept 17, 1991.

68“We coped”: “Nixon’s Caught,” Philadelphia Inquirer, Sept 17, 1991.

68“pieces that were necessary to compete”: Pendleton interview.

69Wiggins had wheels: National Baseball Hall of Fame research department.

70“became our catalyst”: Jack McKeon, author’s interview, May 3, 2000.

70“one of the best sparkplugs”: “Alan Wiggins, AIDS and the San Diego Padres,” Misc. Baseball, Jan 4, 2011.

70“I wouldn’t be telling the truth”: “Dick Freeman interview,” San Diego Magazine, April 2004.

70“Line of Death”: Tony Attanasio, author’s interview, June 3, 2013.

71shared needles: Attanasio interview; Candice Wiggins, author’s interview, May 7, 2013.

71“It shocks you”: Pendleton interview.

72“The only thing I know”: “Nixon’s Caught,” Philadelphia Inquirer, Sept 17, 1991.

73“Go ahead and do it”: Ibid.

73“spread like wildfire”: Van Slyke interview.

73“Rickey on ’roids?” “Rickey Henderson,” The New Yorker, Sept 12, 2005.

76“We had other superstars”: “Reminiscing with Lemke about 1991World Series,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution blog, Oct 24, 2012.

77“I ain’t missing it”: Davis interview.

77“It’s not a good feeling”: Pendleton interview.

78“We want Ted Turner to meet with us”: “Indian protests are loud, but peaceful,” (Baltimore) Sun, Oct 20, 1991.

79“I feel betrayed”: “Indians’ Protest Began Long Before the Chop,” Los Angeles Times, Oct 20, 1991.

79“only one pitcher embarrassed”: Kelly, postgame comments.

81“I felt pretty comfortable”: Rick Aguilera, author’s interview, April 1, 2013.

81“I surprised a few people”: Aguilera interview.

82“open range”: Pendleton interview.

82“too many balls tailing away”: Mark Lemke, author’s interview, Aug 10, 2013.

83“roller coaster ride”: Greg Olson, postgame comments.

83“storybook ending”: Randy Bush, postgame comments.

83“weirdest thing”: Kevin Tapani, postgame comments.


85“most underpaid pitcher out there”: “Series becoming classic,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Oct 25–31, 1991.

86“the chanting makes it special”: Ibid.

86“That’s the way”: Leius interview.

87“I thought”: “Braves knock homers, heads,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Oct 25–31, 1991.

87“I think back now”: Harper interview.

87“Maybe it’s the adrenaline”: Ibid.

87Buck Martinez breaks ankle: In my opinion, this is one of the wackiest, most courageous plays ever. Several years ago, I was a guest on Sirius/XM Radio morning baseball show and Martinez was one of the cohosts. I told him that this was one of my favorite plays and he replied that sometimes baseball can be a strange game. He had no explanation why this happened to him. Here’s the YouTube footage,

88“Sometimes playing catcher”: Buck Martinez, author’s interview, May 15, 2009.

88“We hit straight on” Harper interview.

89“He lost a lot of his career”: Bill James, The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract, 428.

89nothing on the gridiron: Harper interview.

90“A catcher must want to catch”: Baseball Hall of Fame research department.

90“I was satisfied if I could just be a backup catcher”: Harper interview.

90“I knew that Brian was strong”: “Harper crashes into World Series history,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Oct 25-31, 1991.

90“I knew I was hurt”: “Rose’s hit, claims still hurt Fosse,” Fox Sports, July 5, 2012.

91John Dowd: “Why Rose can’t enter the Hall,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Jan 7, 1998. Much of this section comes from a cover story I did for Baseball Weekly. John Dowd remains one of the most passionate and most honest people I’ve ever met in baseball. You always know where you stay with the guy. He has nothing to hide and no matter how much you may love Pete Rose and how hard he played, it’s difficult to defend the guy after hearing Dowd out.

96“allow him to be on the ballot”: “Pete Rose’s image boosted by PED scandal,” USA Today, Aug 12, 2013.

96Pete Rose baseball card: Mark Lemke, author’s interview, Feb 15, 2000.

96“I wanted to play this game”: Ibid.

97“It was a lot of fun”: “Hot Bat is Lemke’s Reward for Patience,” New York Times, Oct 26, 1991.

98“It doesn’t shock anyone”: “Sacrifice was worth it for Willard, Braves,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Oct 25–31, 1991.

98“waited all season”: “Hard-Hitting Braves Run the Twins Out of Town,” New York Times, Oct 25, 1991.

99Curtis Strong trial: “Outfielder fights back from drug problems,” (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, May 10, 1989; “Royals’ Smith blasts baseball’s drug program,” The Associated Press, July 29, 1987; “Lonnie Smith not shy in discussing his past drug problems,” Kansas City Star, May 19, 1985.

99Wanting to shoot Schuerholz: “Lonnie Smith still battles demons from his playing career,” McClatchy Newspapers, Nov 9, 2006; “Lonnie Smith is safe at home,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 12, 2003; “Lonnie Smith wanted to shoot John Schuerholz,”,

99“was a special player”: “Baseball Renaissance,” Sporting News, Aug 7, 1989.

100Smith-Schuerholz hug: “Lonnie Smith is safe at home,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, July 12, 2003.

100“Mark Lemke”: Gene Larkin, author’s interview, May 17, 2013.

101Jim Lefebvre call: I cannot tell you how rare it is to have a big-league manager call you at the office to air a gripe. That’s how Lefebvre is. He doesn’t believe in letting things fester.

101Gilligan’s Island: “Bat Boy to Batman That’s Jim Lefebvre,” Houston Chronicle, March 19, 1969.

101Lefebvre first glimpsed the beauty: “Frenchy Lefebvre: He Found Romance in Hotel Coffee Shop,” Los Angeles Times, March 21, 1969.

102Lefebvre recalled that his former manager: “Lefebvre reveals his side of story,” (Cleveland) Plain Dealer, March 13, 1980; “After fight, Lasorda black and (Dodger) Blue,” Associated Press, Feb 18, 1980.

103“there’s no guarantee”: “Money Madness Goes Back to ’58,” Baseball America, June 25, 1991.

103“out for my scalp”: “Big Money Takes No Prisoners,” Baseball America, Dec 10, 1991.

103“tire companies”: Ibid.

103Don Zimmer-Ryne Sandberg: “How Do You Really Feel, Zim?” Baseball America, July 25, 1991.

104“end of payroll balance”: Ted Robinson interview.

105“die with your boots on”: “It’s the Young-Boy Network for Baseball Management,” New York Times, Oct 23, 1991.

105“But I got fired”: Ibid.

106“I was in the card game” Tom Kelly, author’s interview, August 15, 1991.

106“I came to Seattle”: “Lefebvre Joins List of Fired,” Los Angeles Times, Oct 11, 1991.

106“been with several clubs”: “Sacrifice was worth it for Willard, Braves,” USA today Baseball Weekly, Oct 25–31, 1991.

107“looked for Mack”: Ibid.

107“Thank God”: Ibid.

108“helluva call”: “Harper crashes into World Series history,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Oct 25–31, 1991.

108“I made contact”: Ibid.

108“you’re out most of the time”: Ibid.

108“TK screwed up”: “The Ultimate Gamer,” Sports Illustrated, March 31, 2003.


109told to put away his glove: Discussions with Chili Davis and Andy MacPhail, then and now, underscored that the onetime outfielder was considered a full-time designated hitter by the 1991 season.

110“I knew the National League parks”: Davis interview.

110“defensive liability”: Tom Kelly comments during the American League Championship Series, author’s notes.

110“You’re talking to Puck, right?” Davis interview.

110“got sick and tired”: “Trip to Atlanta a total washout for Twins,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Nov 1–7, 1991.

110“there’s nothing left:” Davis interview.

110“This guy”: Ibid. Over the years, Twins manager Tom Kelly has justifiably gained the reputation for methodically handling a ballclub. But team announcer Ted Robinson says that putting Davis in the field underscored how desperate the Twins were to win a game in Atlanta. Robinson and Davis agreed that the two close losses in Games Three and Four led to this roll of the dice.

111“I was playing him shallow”: Davis interview.

112The son of a dairy farmer: Love him or hate him, there’s no more intriguing person in baseball than super agent Scott Boras. I’ve had several conversations with him over the years, but a good starting point is BloombergTV, “Risk Takers,” Aug 10, 2013,

113“Ask anyone”: “Boras’ Clients Break the Bank,” Baseball America, Oct 10, 1991.

113“enough is enough”: Ibid.

114“he was the man for us”: “Taylor, Yankees Reach an Impasse,” Baseball America, July 25, 1991. “Acrimony Surrounds Taylor Deal,” Baseball America, Sept 25, 1991.

114“should be shot”: Baseball America, “Steinbrenner Ruins Amateur Draft,” Oct 10, 1991.

115“then pay for it”: Scott Boras, author’s interview, May 20, 1993. This remains a basic principle of Boras’ working philosophy and a statement that he has made many times.

115“Tommy threw the ball great”: “Braves Rout Twins, 14–5, Take World Series Lead,” Washington Post, Oct 25, 1991.

116Mazzone’s fears: Leo Mazzone, author’s interview, July 26, 1998.

116“wish I knew”: “Wildly Out of Control,” New York Times, Aug 23, 1998.

116“mark of a quality pitcher”: Nolan Ryan, author’s interview, June 10, 2009.

117“you ain’t nobody”: “This Day in Sports History,” Total Sports, Aug 22, 2010.

117“there’s no luck”: Bill Rigney, author’s interview, April 21, 1992.

117“No contest”: “Ageless Wonder,” New York Times, May 1, 1991.

118“we’ve only got nine or so guys”: Norm Sherry, author’s interview, June 1, 2009.

118string test: Ibid.

119“Just ask Nolan or Sandy”: Jeff Torborg, author’s interview, June 28, 2009.

119“compatible with warehouse”: Gillette and Enders, 402.

120Metrodome interior: Ibid, 364.

121“By the time”: Ibid, 355.

122“That was it”: Michael Allen, author’s interview, May 15, 1992.

122“retractable fences”: “Raising the Roof,” Sports Illustrated, June 12, 1989.

123“eighth wonder of the world”: Ibid.

123“Stonehenge of America”: Baseball Almanac,

123“stars were aligned”: Janet Marie Smith, author’s interview, April 10, 2013.

124nod to the past: Ibid.

124“It was fitting”: “Camden Yards turns 20,”, April 6, 2012.

125“It was very exciting”: Ibid.

125“downtown setting”: Smith interview.

125Lonnie Smith accomplishments: National Baseball Hall of Fame research department. Smith was an accomplished performer in the postseason. Unfortunately, he will always be remembered for the base-running blunder in Game Seven. But to be with Lou Gehrig, Johnny Mize, Hank Bauer, and Reggie Jackson? That’s fine company.

126“My two favorites”: Larry Taylor, author’s interview, March 6, 2013.

126“you were lucky”: Brian Doyle, author’s interview, Feb 1, 2013.

126“There’s a phenomenon”: Fay Vincent, pregame comments, Oct 24, 1991.

127“a thousand knife marks”: “Justice triumphs in the end,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Nov 1–7, 1991.

127“all about home-field advantage”: “Braves Give Plot a Twist,” Washington Post, Oct 26, 1991.

127“I remember”: Terry Slope, author’s interview, March 1, 2013.

128Bobby Cox backstory: “What About Bob?” Coach and Athletic Director, Nov 2006; “Power Socker Cox Joins Yank Third-Base Tussle,” New York Times, Dec 23, 1967; “Cox of Yankees Called a Dedicated Player,” New York Times, June 9, 1968.

129“It wasn’t only the X’s and O’s”: Grant interview.

129“the patience of grandma”: Pendleton interview.

130“There’s no place like it”: “Hard-Hitting Braves Run the Twins Out of Town,” New York Times, Oct 25, 1991.

133“We’ve hidden all the razor blades”: “Game Five notes,” USA Today Baseball Weekly,” Nov 1–7, 1991.

133“Like what?”: “Braves Give Plot a Twist,” Washington Post, Oct 26, 1991.

133“been in this situation before”: “Trip to Atlanta a total washout for Twins,” USA Today Baseball Weekly,” Nov 1–7, 1991.

133“didn’t create anxiety”: Aguilera interview.

134“We’re off track”: “Trip to Atlanta a total washout for Twins,” USA Today Baseball Weekly,” Nov 1–7, 1991.

134“can’t blame TK”: Ibid.

134“We’ll be fine once we get home”: Ibid.

135“affected his family”: Ibid.

135Hrbek’s mother: “Hrbek’s mother would like to forget the whole thing,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Oct 24, 1991; “For Twins, Powers That Be Aren’t,” New York Times, Oct 23, 1991.

135Deciding on baseball, Hrbek interview.

135“seventeenth-round pick”: Scout says Hrbek his top find,” USA Today, May 5, 1993.

136“a high point and low point for me”: Catching Up With …,” Sports Illustrated, May 17, 1999.

136“hometown guy”: Gagne interview.

136“just tried to enjoy every minute”: Larkin interview.

137“a lot of flashbulbs”: “Trip to Atlanta a total washout for Twins,” USA Today Baseball Weekly,” Nov 1–7, 1991.

137“All I have to do”: Ibid.


139“You listening, Dog?”: Any writer is thankful to anyone who will talk to him when he’s trying to pull together scenes for a book, especially when it concerns events that happened decades ago. But any writer will also tell you that not all interviews are equal. Some can crystallize a project—help one see all the angles and ramifications. When I was writing High Heat, I remember a discussion with Nolan Ryan when he got up from behind his desk at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas, and began to demonstrate pitching mechanics and how a small adjust or two made all the difference in his delivery. With Summer of ’68, one of the first people I spoke with was Jon Warden, who was a rookie pitcher in that season. A guy from nowhere who found himself in downtown Detroit when a curfew had been issued, wondering if the city was about to go up in flames again. With this book, my chat with Chili Davis proved to be crucial. Game Six remains one of the classics, but only the Twins’ DH knew how close it came to be a different game plan and likely a different outcome.

142“If he hadn’t made that catch”: Larkin interview.

142“Jump on board”: Comments were reported by a number of media outlets, including the newspapers in the Twin Cities and USA Today.

142“in a bad way”: Larkin interview.

142“Everybody has a price”: “A few questions, lots of laughs,” (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, Aug3, 2001.

143“The kid looks in the mirror”: Kirby Puckett, I Love This Game!: My Life in Baseball; “Kirby Puckett,” BioProject by Society of American Baseball Research.

144cab to Anaheim: This account has been retold in several publications, but I’m going with the account by longtime Twins reporter Stew Thornley.

144Puckett never looked back: Baseball Encyclopedia.

145“People loved to watch him”: Gagne interview.

145“unbelievable hitter”: Harper interview.

145“you’d have to smile”: Hrbek interview.

148“no cabs or subway”: Robinson interview.

148“always kept up a wall”: “CP Flashback,” City Pages, March 7, 2006.

148“I was standing there”: Aguilera interview.

149“how not to handle fame”: “Little Steven’s Underground Garage,” Sirius/XM radio, July 8, 2013.

149Trip to Fargo: Near the end of the 1998 season, with Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, about to break the single-season home-run record I went to North Dakota. Many people there still maintain that Roger Maris, their hometown hero, is still the true record holder and as the years go by you cannot help by agree with them.

150“I was told”: “Roger Maris: Hometown Fargo Tells Tale of Home Run Record Holder,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Aug 19–25, 1998.

151“God, he loved to hit”: Ibid.

152“The only peace I had”: Ibid.

154“This was the last game of the year for me”: “Erickson game it his all,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Nov 1–7, 1991.

154“didn’t have his good stuff”: Ibid.

154“It went farther than I thought”: Ibid.

156“how much he was bleeding”: “Bloody beanball ends Puckett’s season early,” New York Post, Sept 29, 1995.

156“never took the game for granted”: “Eye Forces Puckett to Retire,” Washington Post, July 13, 1996.

156“Considering what’s happened”: “Twins’ Puckett Sees Signs to Retire,” Los Angeles Times, July 13, 1996.

156“It was a tough day”: Leius interview.

156“It was a very scary time”: Wiggins interview.

157“The good ones you know right away”: “Coast to coast: Baseball is a blast in ’98,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Oct 14–20, 1998. During the 1998 World Series, I briefly jumped off the media bus and visited with several baseball notables, including a trip to the Twin Cities to talk with Kirby Puckett. This was our last conversation.

157Metrodome’s home-field advantage: Big League Ballparks, 366.

158“I was running hard”: “Coast to coast: Baseball is a blast in ’98,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Oct 14–20, 1998.

158“I wasn’t a home-run hitter”: “When the ball meets bat,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Nov 4–11, 1998.

158“I’m happy as an ex-player”: “Coast to coast: Baseball is a blast in ’98,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Oct 14–20, 1998.

159“Do you ever shut up?” Ibid.

160“made a living”: “The secret life of Kirby Puckett,” Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service, Dec 18, 2002.

160“not the person”: “Kirby Puckett’s Tarnished Image,” (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, April 7, 2002; “After the game: The Kirby Puckett we never knew,” (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, Oct 29, 2006; “The Rise and Fall of Kirby Puckett,” Sports Illustrated, March 17, 2003.

161“situation was different”: Harper interview.

161“tough to say”: Davis interview.

161“would have been great”: Gardenhire interview.

162“couldn’t hear us anymore”: Gladden interview.

162“The only thing”: Davis interview.

162“What do they want me to do?” “Hunter says he won’t be able to speak at Puckett service,” (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, March 10, 2006.

162“Over the last week”: “Cheers and tears for Kirby,” (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, March 12, 2006.

163“losing an icon”: Ibid.

163“I figured it was out”: Gardenhire interview.

163“said the right thing”: Ozzie Guillen, author’s interview, May 1, 2006.

164“I will always have a place in my heart for him”: Davis interview.

164“We were about as happy”: Gardenhire interview.

165“I never hit”: “Puckett’s heroics end tense struggle,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Nov 1–7, 1991.

165“Why not Charlie?” Ibid.

165“I don’t believe it”: Ibid.

165“Now it’s my turn”: Larkin interview.

165“we were at ease”: Gladden interview.

165Pat O’Brien anecdote: “Puckett’s heroics end tense struggle,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Nov 1–7, 1991.


167“Might as well play”: “The Best Series Ever,” USA Today Baseball Weekly,” Nov 1–7, 1991.

168be patient: Pendleton interview.

168“Jack had it going”: Gagne interview.

169“newest of the substitute spitters”: “The Pitch of The ’80s,” Sports Illustrated, June 9, 1986.

169league-high twenty-four games: Baseball Encyclopedia.

170first disciples: “The Pitch of The ’80s,” Sports Illustrated, June 9, 1986; Baseball Hall of Fame research department.

170“once you throw it”: Ibid.

170“a lot of pressure”: “Split-Finger Fastball, Once Popular, Is Falling Away,” The Associated Press, Oct 1, 2011.

171“probably the best ever”: Grant interview.

171“Jack was locked in”: Gagne interview.

172“The clubhouse was my family,” Morris interview.

173“I’ve been in many games with him”: “The clutch gene exists, and Morris is proof of it,”, Jan 22, 2013.

173“The pitcher who best fits”: Nolan Ryan, with Mickey Herkowitz, Kings of the Hill: An Irreverent Look at Men on the Mound, 99.

173“siding with his wife”: “Morris reaches the end,” (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, April 19, 1995.

173“first-hand look”: Gardenhire interview.

174“It’s going to sound wrong”: “Interview with Bob Costas,” MLB Network, July 12, 2010.

175“how big a deal it was”: John Smoltz, Don Yeager, Starting and Closing: Perseverance, Faith, and One More Year, 28–29.

176“No one could catch me”: Ibid.

176“The very next game”: Ibid, 238–240.

177“running whole blocks of plays”: Michael Murphy and Rhea A. White, In the Zone: Transcendent Experience in Sports, 155.

177always crossed the finish line: Ibid, 159.

177“never hit a shot”: Ibid, 154.

177“fantasy and reality”: “Jim Fannin: “What I’ve Learned,”, May 2013.

179“I never had so much will”: Morris interview.

179“ruin his day”: “Jack Morris and Tom Kelly relieve Game 7 of the 1991 World Series,”, Aug 5, 2011.

180“The biggest turning point”: Ibid.

181“I have no real clue”: Gagne interview.

182“naturally clumsy”: “Lonnie Smith interview,” Talking Baseball with Ed Randall, May 15, 2007.

182“my mistake”: “After agonizing loss, team has Brave face,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Nov 1–7, 1991.

182“The media’s version”: “Lonnie takes the blame,” Sporting News, March 16, 1992.

183“He just didn’t know”: “Jack Morris and Tom Kelly relieve Game 7 of the 1991 World Series,”, Aug 5, 2011.

183“You actually had two fakes on that play”: Harper interview.

183“We caused enough confusion”: Gagne interview.

183“a pump of the fist”: Pendleton interview.

184“Well, I beg to differ” Ibid.

184“you’re a little more aggressive”: Harper interview.

184“Kelly comes out”: Ibid.

185“a come-backer to Jack”: Ibid.

185“that is so rare”: Ibid.

186ACTION IS CHARACTER: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Last Tycoon, 190.

187“never afraid”: Pendleton interview.

187“I’m still mad”: “The Ultimate Gamer,” Sports Illustrated, March 31, 2003.

188game without a clock: “The Twins’ Silent Partner,” New York Times, July 13, 1992.

188“Jack was such a competitor”: Harper interview.

189“one of the biggest changes”: Ryan interview.

190“talked or even bullied his way”: Jim Kaat, author’s interview, Aug 13, 2013.

190“and not realize at the time”: “Jack Morris and Tom Kelly relieve Game 7 of the 1991 World Series,”, Aug 5, 2011.

191“The bat broke on the handle”: Gladden interview.

191“That was Dan Gladden”: Puckett interview.

191“I knew they would walk Puckett”: Gladden interview.

192“The tendinitis was really bad”: Larkin interview.

192“I knew I was getting the call”: Ibid.

193Denkinger did try to encourage: Ibid; “The Ultimate Gamer,” Sports Illustrated, March 31, 2003.

193“Peña’s history”: Larkin interview.

193“Once I put the bat on the ball”: Ibid.

194“Somebody had to go home a loser”: Morris interview.

194“What was great”: Gladden interview.

194“When I look back”: Larkin interview.


197only twice:

198“most imprudent and unfortunate”: “Owners vote to drop two clubs, but don’t identify them,”, Nov 7, 2001.

198Gladden’s stance: Ibid.

198Braves finished second to Expos in 1994: accessed at The Expos had the best record in baseball—74–40—when the sport closed down due to the labor disagreement, eventually forcing the cancellation of the World Series.

198“fat and happy, soft?”: “Reminiscing with Lemke about 1991 World Series,” Atlanta Journal-Constitution blog, Oct 24, 2012.


203second-youngest person:

203“affection for the game”:

204battle over Puckett’s ashes: “Puckett’s fiancée: He wanted ashes spread on ball field,” (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, May 9, 2006; “Puckett’s ashes awarded to his children,” (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, Oct 25, 2006.

204“The majority of people”: “Home is where the money is for Morris,” USA Today, March 2, 1991.

205“You can be benevolent to a point”: “Indians cut farm owner Morris, look to farmhands to fill void,” USA Today Baseball Weekly, Aug 10, 1994.

205Jayson Stark assessment:

205“great thoroughbred”: “Comin’ at ya,” (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, Feb 6, 1991.

206“warm fuzzies”: Morris interview.

206“everyone’s invited”: “Catching Up With …,” Sports Illustrated, May 17, 1999.

207seven wild throws: “The Knoblauch Numbers: 3 Days, 7 Wild Throws,” New York Times, March 13, 2001.

207broken bat: Gladden interview.

208“I’m obligated”: “Ex-Twin Harper can forgive,” (Minneapolis) Star Tribune, April 29, 1994.

208“loose bunch”: Harper interview.

208watch footage: Larkin interview.

209married Lisa Guerrero:

209“drive him in with a knock”: Davis interview.

210“I always used to kid him”: Van Slyke interview.

211biggest miracle: “Cabrini’s Evan Avery overcomes odds as dad Steve’s miracle,” Detroit Free Press, June 1, 2012.

212Tiger Woods: “Tiger vouches for John Smoltz’s golf game,” Orlando Sentinel, March 23, 2011.

214“I’ve know how it is to struggle”: Smith to Ed Randall.

214“greatest leadoff hitter of all time”:

214“my teammates didn’t”: Henderson interview.

215“He taught me something about fear”:

215Brien Taylor and Steve Chilcott:

215“At the international level”: “Teaching Baseball as Second Lan guage in China,” New York Times, July 5, 2008;

215“Twelve years old”:

216Earvin “Magic” Johnson announcement:;

216bigger impact: Wiggins interview.

217“I made mistakes”: “Pete Rose says he picked wrong vice,” Yahoo Sports, Aug 12, 2013.

217“It’s the first time”: “New light shining on Rose,” USA Today, Aug 13, 2013.