If you look up a list of the greatest World Series' of all time, you'll see a lot of the same series at the top. 2016 Cubs vs. Indians, 1986 Mets vs. Red Sox and 1975 Reds vs. Red Sox are all contenders for the best championship series in MLB history.
But one series is just as consistently ranked at No. 2 on these lists. The 1991 World Series featured the Minnesota Twins vs. the Atlanta Braves in a suspenseful, heart-pounding seven-game series.
First, to set the scene for the competition. Each team had an abysmal 1990 season, with the Braves finishing 26 games behind Cincinnati and the Twins finishing 29 games behind Oakland.
The preseason odds reflected on those performances, with the Braves coming in at 100-1 and the Twins at 120-1. But 1991 was a different story. With both teams led by stellar pitching staffs, they each turned things around. The Twins dominated their division, finishing eight games ahead of the second place team. Meanwhile the Braves provided entertainment in the National League, winning a close NL West division race to earn a postseason bid.
Each team won their respective LCS, setting up a World Series of two teams that were at the bottom of the league just a year ago.
What followed was a seven-game series that consisted of five one-run games and three games that went into extra innings.
The first two games weren't too exciting. The Twins won both games at home to take a 2-0 lead into Atlanta for games 3 through 5. Game three is where the fun begins. Tied at four runs apiece after nine innings, the game went into extras for the first time in the series.
After two-and-a-half scoreless innings, Mark Lemke hit a walk-off single for the Braves that scored David Justice and gave Atlanta its first win of the series. Game 4 saw another walk-off as the teams were tied 2-2 going into the bottom of the ninth. With one out in the inning, Lemke hit a triple to put a runner in scoring position and give the Braves a chance to tie the series.
Two batters later, Jerry Willard hit a sacrifice fly to score Lemke and just like that, the series was even.
The Braves kept riding that momentum in Game 5 as they took the series lead thanks to a 14-5 victory. Everything was going right for Atlanta and they were just one win away from their third World Series championship.
The final two games of the series have to be among the most exciting games of all-time. With the score tied 3-3 in the bottom of the 11th, Twins' centerfielder Kirby Puckett stepped up to the plate in Game 6.
Puckett had already tripled to give the Twins their first run of the night and hit a sacrifice fly to give them the lead in the fifth. But the Braves had come back to tie it, forcing extra innings for the second time in the series.
Puckett led off the 11th inning for Minnesota, and thinking he wouldn't be able to get a hit off Atlanta's Charlie Leibrandt, told Twins' DH Chili Davis he planned to bunt for a base hit. Davis wasn't having it, and told Puckett "You get a change-up, a good hanging change-up, hit it out, let's go home."
That's exactly what Puckett did. On a 2-1 count, he hit a line drive home run to left-centerfield, tying up the series and etching his name into World Series lore.
Puckett's walk-off home run set up the first Game 7 since 1987, a series that also featured the Twins. The final game was the definition of a pitchers' duel, with future Hall of Famers John Smoltz and Jack Morris battling it out for the championship.
Morris won this round, pitching a 10-inning shutout for the victory. Gene Larkin hit a walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning, giving Minnesota its third World Series title.
Morris was named series MVP for his performance, striking out eight batters and giving up no runs in the series finale. It was the first Game 7 since 1962 to end in a 1-0 score.
We've been lucky to see some great World Series in recent years, including the 2011 Cardinals win, the Cubs breaking the curse in 2016 and the Astros winning in 2017 (back before we knew of all their wrongdoings). But I'm not sure any of them have surpassed the intensity and edge-of-your-seat excitement that the 1991 World Series provided.
Matthew Atkins, Journalist and Baseball fan.