Welcome to Sports Throwback Thursday! Today’s edition belongs to the 1991 National League Championship Series Game 7 between the Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates. Pirates twenty-game winner John Smiley went against Braves’ John Smoltz.
The 1991 Pittsburgh Pirates were the most talented team compared to 1990 and 1992. I believe Jim Leyland said this in an interview. Pirates had talented players like the Killer Bees (Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla) and centerfielder Andy Van Slyke.
Unfortunately for the Pirates, there would be no celebration in Pittsburgh that night. John Smoltz shut out the Pirates offense and got some run support from Brian Hunter.
After Atlanta had gone 26+2⁄3 innings without scoring, the Pirates themselves went the final 22+1⁄3 innings without scoring. That streak would reach 30 innings before José Lind snapped it with a home run in the eighth inning of Game 1 in the 1992 NLCS.
Avery won the Series MVP award. The Braves starter did not allow a run, giving up nine hits and walking four while striking out 17.
The Atlanta Braves were in last place the year before. Braves made their first World Series appearance since 1958 and first since moving to Atlanta in 1966. Braves would go on to lose to the Minnesota Twins in the World Series in 7 games.
Pittsburgh Pirates and Atlanta Braves would face each other in an NLCS rematch the following year. Pirates were three outs away from advancing to the World Series but lost in a heartbreaking Game 7 as the Braves rallied to score three runs in the bottom of the 9th inning.
Pirates wouldn’t make the playoffs again until 2013.