Down to the Last Pitch: How the 1991 Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves Gave Us the Best World Series of All Time

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Overview


Never before in baseball history had a team finished last and rallied to take the pennant the following season. Yet in 1991, lightning struck twice as the Minnesota Twins and the Atlanta Braves both reached the World Series. The remarkable turnarounds resulted in arguably the greatest Fall Classic of all time.

Four of the games between the Twins and Braves were settled by "walk-off" runs. Three of them, including the climactic Game Seven, went into extra innings. And all seven ...

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Down to the Last Pitch: How the 1991 Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves Gave Us the Best World Series of All Time

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Overview


Never before in baseball history had a team finished last and rallied to take the pennant the following season. Yet in 1991, lightning struck twice as the Minnesota Twins and the Atlanta Braves both reached the World Series. The remarkable turnarounds resulted in arguably the greatest Fall Classic of all time.

Four of the games between the Twins and Braves were settled by "walk-off" runs. Three of them, including the climactic Game Seven, went into extra innings. And all seven games had memorable moments—from close plays at the plate to base-running blunders to pitching gems to dramatic late-inning home runs. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution cautioned fans about sleep deprivation as the nation was riveted watching Jack Morris, Kent Hrbek, Dan Gladden, and Kirby Puckett go against Tom Glavine, Lonnie Smith, John Smoltz, and David Justice on primetime television.

In Down to the Last Pitch, award-winning writer Tim Wendel brings to life these seven memorable games, weaving contemporary interviews with discussions decades later about this classic World Series, and teasing out fact from legend.

When the final out was recorded in 1991, the cover headline in Baseball Weekly read, "BEST WORLD SERIES EVER?" While that can always be debated, what happened inside and outside the lines in 1991 continues to resonate today.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Praise for Down to the Last Pitch

"Down to the Last Pitch is a lovely, loving ode to baseball's immutable law of possibility. Just when you think you've seen everything, read everything, along comes a book and an author in whose gifted hands the past comes alive and makes you believe in miracles all over again."—Jane Leavy, author of The Last Boy: Mickey Mantle and the End of America's Childhood

"Remember the 1991 World Series? I'll bet you do, but Tim Wendel was there and has a hundred stories from that miracle year that you haven't heard. Kirby Puckett, Lonnie Smith, John Smoltz, Jack Morris—heroes all. But the star of Down to the Last Pitch is Wendel, one of our game's must-read writers."—John Thorn, Official Historian of Major League Baseball

"The most underrated great World Series is finally getting its due. And who better to bring this Series so brilliantly to life than Tim Wendel?"—Claire Smith, award-winning ESPN news editor

Newsday, 3/28/14
“Nifty.”

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 3/28/14
“What Wendel’s really doing with Down to the Last Pitch is celebrating baseball before it changed into what it is today: before the ugly 1994 strike, before the steroid era, before small markets like Pittsburgh and Minnesota (and Milwaukee) decided they couldn’t compete with the big ones, before every city just had to have an expensive new stadium.”

The Hub, 3/27/14
“An in-depth, game-by-game account of the 1991 World Series between the Minnesota Twins and the Atlanta Braves.”

Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 4/6/14
“Tim Wendel, a great baseball writer and historian, relives the only time that two last-place teams rebounded the next year to play for the championship.”

Tampa Tribune, 4/16/14
“The reader is in for a treat. Down to the Last Pitch is Wendel at his best—an engaging storyteller, a writer not afraid to explore different angles, and an author capable of building a dramatic finish (even though we already knew what happened)… Once again, Wendel sheds new light on a memorable baseball event…Down to the Last Pitch is sweet to read.”

Niagara Gazette, 4/14/14
“Wendel manages to work in practically a history of the game between pitches…Last Pitch, exciting and informative, is fun to the final swing.”

San Francisco Book Review, 4/11/14
“How does one write an intriguing book about something for which everyone knows the outcome? Start with a truly great World Series, add two storied teams facing each other at a time when the game was really changing, then have it stirred together by a man with deep experience in baseball writing…The close examination of the series by Wendel is almost like being there with an all-access pass, privy to so much more than a regular fan ever gets. This is a winner.”

BaseballRoundTable.com, 4/14/14
“Good to the last page…If ever a World Series deserved its own book, it was the 1991 match up. Fortunately, for baseball fans, Tim Wendel…(a knowledgeable and passionate baseball fan) has given us that book…Ultimately, Down to the Last Pitch is a great read not just for Twins and Braves fans—although it is a must for followers of those teams—but for any fans who want to get closer to the game.”

Sports Book Review Center, 4/27/14
“Wendel talks to plenty of the participants from that series, and does good research on some of the others…Down to the Last Pitch carries out its mission of reviewing this great matchup quite nicely.”

InfoDad.com, 5/1/14
“The writing is exactly what fans will expect and want.”

TwinkieTown.com, 5/11/14
“Twins fans looking for more curious details about that Series will enjoy it immensely.”

Providence Journal, June 2014
“[Wendel’s] writing moves along crisply, and readers do get a behind-the-scenes taste of what it was like to play in a series marked by three taut extra-inning games and heroics by stars such as Jack Morris and Kirby Puckett.”

Bookviews, June 2014
“The story of two teams that took risks, followed their guts, and play from beginning to end with integrity and heart.”

Charleston Post and Courier, 6/15/14
“Wendel effectively builds personal stories, culture and pitch-to-pitch drama into a fortnight chronology…[A] classic tale of an authentic Fall Classic.”

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306822766
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2014
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 83,735
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author


Tim Wendel was a founding editor of USA Today's Baseball Weekly, which was in its inaugural season when the 1991 Twins-Braves Series played out. He is the award-winning and highly acclaimed author of eleven books, including Summer of ‘68. He has served as exhibit adviser to the Baseball Hall of Fame and is currently writer-in-residence at Johns Hopkins University. He lives near Washington, DC.
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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 10, 2014

    This is a wonderful book! Tim Wendel is a veteran baseball writ

    This is a wonderful book! Tim Wendel is a veteran baseball writer and he brings all of his skills to bear in "Down to the Last Pitch". Wendel makes the reader feel like they have been transported in time back to 1991. He does an excellent job of setting the stage for the 1991 World Series by describing the larger trends at taking place in baseball and in American life in 1991. The interviews with the participants in the 1991 World Series and with other notable baseball figures provide much new, original research. I found myself highly engrossed in the book - once I started reading it, I didn't want to put it down. Enjoy!

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  • Posted April 22, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent .  A great World Series and a great book.

    Excellent .  A great World Series and a great book.

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