KCJB re-aired this game on Thursday, April 9th @ 6:05 PM. Check out the full Historic Minnesota Twins Broadcast Schedule HERE.
October 19th, 1991 – Game 1 of the 1991 World Series
Atlanta Braves @ Minnesota Twins
Radio Announcers: Herb Carneal and John Gordon
Baseball Reference Page: https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/MIN/MIN199110190.shtml
The Twins started their ace, Minnesota native Jack Morris. In his first season with his hometown team, the future Hall of Famer won eighteen games, recorded a respectable 3.43 ERA, and pitched ten complete games. He was also one of the few starting pitchers in the series on either side with prior experience; seven years earlier, as the ace of the Detroit Tigers, Morris won two games in the 1984 World Series and helped lead Detroit to its most recent world championship.
The Braves countered with Charlie Leibrandt, who was the only Brave with Series exposure. Prior to joining the Braves in 1990, Leibrandt was a member of the Kansas City Royals for six seasons and had won seventeen games for their 1985 World Series champion squad. Thus, he was also the only Braves starter who had previously faced several members of the Twins lineup, including Dan Gladden, Kirby Puckett, and Kent Hrbek. In 1991, Leibrandt was 15-13 with a 3.49 ERA for the Braves.
Minnesota scored first in the bottom of the third. With two out, leadoff hitter Dan Gladden walked and then stole second. Rookie second baseman Chuck Knoblauch then singled to drive him in, but was caught in a rundown in between first and second and tagged out to end the inning. Manager Tom Kelly explained later that he wanted Knoblauch to take the turn around first to draw the throw away from the plate and allow the run to score. The Twins added three more runs in the fifth, as Kent Hrbek and Scott Leius both singled and shortstop Greg Gagne hit a three-run shot. Leibrandt was immediately pulled from the game following the home run, and reliever Jim Clancy promptly allowed Gladden and Knoblauch to reach base on an error and a walk. Gladden reached third on a fly ball by Kirby Puckett for the first out, and after Knoblauch stole second Chili Davis was put on intentionally. Twins catcher Brian Harper then lifted a fly ball to left field that was caught for the second out. Gladden tagged again and tried to score, running over Atlanta catcher Greg Olson in the process, but Olson held onto the ball for the third out even though he was flipped so hard by Gladden that he momentarily stood on his head.
The Braves broke through against Morris in the top of the sixth, as Jeff Treadway and David Justice reached base with two out. Ron Gant then followed with a single that Gladden misplayed, which scored Treadway and left runners at second and third. Morris got out of the jam by striking out Sid Bream to end the inning, and the Twins added an insurance run in the bottom of the inning as Hrbek homered off Clancy.
After walking the first two batters to lead off the eighth, Morris was pulled from the game in favor of Mark Guthrie, who induced a double play off the bat of Terry Pendleton. After Guthrie walked Justice, Twins closer Rick Aguilera came into the game and gave up a hit to Gant. The hit drove in Lonnie Smith from third base, and the run was charged to Morris. It was the last run scored for either team, as the Twins won the game 5–2 with Aguilera picking up the four-out save.
Morris' win was his third World Series win in as many starts, as he won Games 1 and 4 of the 1984 Series. Leibrandt's poor performance resulted in his being removed from the World Series rotation.