2016 Season Edition No. 3 February 19, 2016



As another Midwestern winter lumbers toward spring—with temperatures today expected to be in the high 50s or low 60s—and this lad’s fancy leans toward our beloved National Pastime, what better way to celebrate the Hot Stove League season than to talk about one of the best World Series of all time.  I am of course referring to that celebrated seven-game melodrama between the Minnesota Twins and the Atlanta Braves in 1991. 


It just so happens that I was lucky enough to attend Game Two of the 1991 World Series, my first of now four visits to a Fall Classic contest.  It also just so happens that I just finished reading a fine book devoted to the 1991 Series, authored by recidivist baseball scribe Tim Wendel. 





The subtitle of Wendel’s recap of the ’91 Series is “How the 1991 Minnesota Twins and the Atlanta Braves gave us the best World Series of all time.”  While this titular hype was no doubt designed to help sell copy, it is also a viable opinion of a knowledgeable baseball man, but obviously not an opinion shared by everyone.  I would imagine that there are more than a few Iron City denizens who would put the Pirates’ 1960 World Series triumph over the “Highlanders” ahead of the 1991 Fall Classic, and there are probably a few Kansas Citians who might cast their votes for the 1985 match as an all-timer, but Wendel does make a strong case for the 1991 Series in his book. 


A couple of fun facts about the 1991 World Series: 


1991 was the only time in history that two teams that had finished in last place the year before squared off in the World Series, a feat that is even more impressive because it happened in the pre-Wild Card era. 



Three of the seven contests (Games 3, 6 and 7) were decided in extra innings. 


Black Jack Morris’ ten-inning complete game win in Game 7 was the first time that a World Series pitcher pitched a complete game that went into extra innings since Tom Terrific (Seaver) in 1969.  Refusing to come out of the game, Morris took to the hill for the top of the 10th.  A Twin Cities sports writer wrote that on that night, “Morris could have outlasted Methuselah.”   He successfully rebuffed several attempts by manager Tom Kelly to remove him from the game, and was also supported by pitching coach Dick Such, as he remained on the mound from the first pitch to the last.  This led to one of the most memorable quotes of the ’91 Series and, arguably, of any deciding game in World Series history: 


Confronted with Morris’ insistence on pitching the 10th, Tom Kelly is purported to have said, “Oh, hell.  It’s only a game.”


Four of the games in the Series ended with the winning team scoring the deciding run in the 9th inning or later. 


This Series featured the first time since 1962 that a seventh game of the World Series ended with a 1-0 score.  It was also the first Series since 1924 to end with an extra-inning seventh game, when the home team, the Washington Senators (who would become the Twins franchise in 1961) won it in their last at-bat. 


The TV announcers for this Series were Jack Buck and Tim McCarver.  The radio announcers were Vin Scully and Johnny Bench. 


Three of the longest-tenured and most well-known umpires, Don Denkinger, Harry Wendelstedt, and Ed Montague, worked the Series. 


With 69 innings in total, the 1991 World Series holds the record for the longest 7-game World Series ever. 


The game that I attended in the Series was Game Two, which was won by the Twins over Tom Glavine by the score of 3-2.  I still remember driving up for the game from Omaha with the ex, walking our way through the Native American protesters (apparently they didn’t like the Atlanta team’s nickname nor their vaunted “tomahawk chop”) and purchasing scalper ducats at the then seemingly exorbitant price of $325 apiece.  I also recall vividly the deafening noise inside the BaggyDome, and the massive waving of the homer hankies by the Twin faithful.  A night to remember. 


In any event, if anyone wants to borrow this book for a good read before the end of the Hot Stove League offseason, just let me know. 




Forgot to include in the last issue this wonderful excerpt from This Old Man about advice from Walter Cronkite:


I don’t read Scripture and cling to no life precepts, except perhaps to Walter Cronkite’s rules for old men, which he did not deliver over the air: 


1.  Never trust a fart;

2.  Never pass up a drink; and

3.  Never ignore an erection. 


Sage counsel, to be sure. 




Just a quick story from my medical malpractice jury trial last week in Omaha, in which I was charged with defending an Omaha gynecologist who was being sued for performing a midurethral sling procedure on a 35-year-old Omaha woman (whom I dubbed the Ice Princess) in an attempt to prop up her bladder and stem her annoying stress urinary incontinence. 


After their first proffered expert (an OB-GYN from Georgia) fizzled out, the Plaintiff’s redoubtable legal team got the bright idea to name as a replacement expert a pompous urologist from Houston by the name of Dr. Zvi Schiffman, a thoroughly unlikeable Israeli native who received his medical and arrogancy training in New York City before landing in the home of the Astrodome for his urology practice.  Suffice it to say that Zvi and I did not see eye-to-eye on much in this case, as established preliminarily during his discovery deposition. 


Long story endless, during my cross-examination of Zvi, he became increasingly irritated with opposing counsel as the competency of his review of this case was meticulously explored.  What began as a slow boil eventually culminated in a tempest in a teapot as Zvi eventually spewed out through his ever-more crimson pie-hole that,


“You need to understand, Mr. Ernst, that my whole life does not revolve around this case!” 


Clearly, doctor.  And who would expect you to know the facts of this case, since you have only been paid $21,000 for your services?


That, my friends, is why I sometimes marvel that I actually am remunerated for what I should actually have to pay to get to do.  It reminds me of the old Steve Martin song, accompanied by his own banjo playing, in which he gleefully sings, “But the most amazing thing of all, is I get paid for doing this!”


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That’s all for this issue, brothers.  The next report will come to you from the sunny climes of Scottsdale, circa a fortnight from now.