In 1990, the Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves had a combined record of 139-185 and both finished last in their divisions.
But in 1991, they both turned things around. The result was arguably the best World Series ever played.
The Twins had won the Series 4 years earlier. Much of the same cast was still with the team in 1991. A major difference was former Tiger ace Jack Morris.
The Braves of Bobby Cox had begun to build what was to become one of the greatest pitching staffs of all time with Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Steve Avery. Their lineup was led by former Cardinal Terry Pendleton and David Justice.
The Series began in Minnesota with Morris facing Charlie Leibrandt. Morris and two others combined for a 6 hitter while Greg Gagne and Kent Hrbek supplied the power with homers in a 5-2 win.
Glavine only gave up 4 hits in game 2 while Kevin Tapani gave up 8. The difference was that two of Minnesota's hits were home runs by Chili Davis and Scott Leius to power a 3-2 Twins win.
After the first two games indoors at the Metrodome, the Series moved to Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. There the Braves' fortunes changed.
The Twins got off to an early lead in game 3 off Avery on a triple and a sac fly. The Braves tied it in the second off Scott Erickson by putting together a walk and two singles. After homers by Justice and Lonnie Smith combined by Erickson walking in a run made it 4-1, Kirby Puckett and Davis homered to tie the score again. The game went into the 12th inning before Mark Lemke singled home Justice with the winning run.
Morris and Smoltz faced off in game 4 and the game was tied at 2 in the ninth. Then with one out Lemke tripled and scored on a sac fly by pinchhitter Jerry Willard.
The close games took a day off in game 5 as the Braves pounded Tapani for 17 hits in a 14-5 rout. Justice drove in 5 runs for the Braves.
The Braves were one win from being World Champions. But the Series was returning indoors to the Metrodome, where Twins fans were loud and raucous and the Twins did not lose often.
The Twins jumped off to an early 2-0 lead in the first. Then Pendleton tied it with a two run shot in the fifth. After each team scored again, the game went into the eleventh. Puckett led off the inning with a shot to deep left center and the Series moved on to a seventh game.
Morris and Smoltz battled in game 7 in a classic pitchers duel. Smoltz gave up 6 hits in 7 1/3 innings before being relieved. Morris went all the way for a 7 hitter. The game was scoreless until the tenth when Gene Larkin hit a bases loaded single to give the Twins the championship.
5 games decided by one run, three in extra innings. It was a classic World Series in every sense of the word.
The Twins would not return to the World Series again even though they would field some good teams in the 2000s. In 2010, they finally closed the Metrodome and returned outdoors to Target Field. Nobody complained.
The Braves were on the verge of a dynasty. They would win 14 consecutive division titles, appear in 5 World Series, winning in 1995.
But in the month of October, 1991 these two teams provided us with classic baseball.