ATLANTA – The Atlanta Braves beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 2021 National League Championship Series to advance to the Major League Baseball World Series for the eighth time in its 146-year history.
Starting Tuesday, against the Houston Astros, the Braves will seek the fourth commissioner’s trophy in a long history that has seen pilgrimage across the Northwest, the Great Lakes and the southern United States. The old circuit franchise played in Boston from 1876 to 1952, in Milwaukee for the next 13 seasons and has called Atlanta home since 1966.
The Braves won a championship in Boston (1914), one in Milwaukee (1957) and one in Atlanta (1995). They lost the fall classics of 1948 (in Boston), 1958 (in Milwaukee), and 1991, 1992, 1996, and 1999 in Atlanta.
In their last two World Series appearances, the Braves were defeated by the New York Yankees, 4-2 in 1996 and 4-0 in 1999.
To catch their only title in “A-Town,” the Braves outlasted the mighty Cleveland Indians in six games, thanks to a pitching staff that included right-handers Greg Maddux and John Smoltz and left-hander Tom Glavine, three Hall members. of Fame. Of that team, third baseman Chipper Jones and manager Bobby Cox also have plates in Cooperstown.
Glavine (2-0, 1.29) and Maddux (1-1, 2.25) started twice each and combined to limit to 13 hits and 8 runs in 30.0 innings to a Cleveland lineup that featured Kenny Lofton, Omar Vizquel, Carlos Baerga, Albert Belle, Sandy Alomar Jr., Manny Ramírez and Hall of Famers Eddie Murray and Jim Thome.
The series was an instant classic. Five of the six matches were decided on a race. Atlanta won the first two (3-2 and 4-3), the third (5-2) and the sixth (1-0), while Cleveland prevailed in games 3 and 5, with scores 7-6 in 11 innings and 5-4, respectively.
In a season shortened by the players’ strike that canceled the postseason and the World Series the previous year, Cleveland led the American League with a 100-44 record and Atlanta the National League with 90-54. The Indians were the favorites, despite the Braves pitching.
In the final game, Glavine pitched eight one-hitting innings and closer Mark Wohlers retired all three batters in the ninth in order to end the 38-year drought without a title for the Braves franchise and conquer the first since it broke. They moved from Milwaukee to Atlanta in 1966.
Nicaraguan right-hander Dennis Martinez pitched 4.2 scoreless innings for the tribe, but outfielder David Justice hit a solo home run off reliever Jim Poole in the sixth for the lone run of the game.
Glavine, who came third in the Cy Young Award voting behind Maddux and Pete Shourek of the Cincinnati Reds, was the MVP of the World Series. First baseman Ryan Klesko hit .313 with three home runs, Justice drove in five laps, Dominican outfielder Luis Poland hit .286 with four RBIs and Jones .286 with three runs.
The version of the Braves that defeated the favorite Dodgers, last year’s champions, is led by Puerto Rican outfielder Eddie Rosario, a player who ironically started the season with Cleveland, the rival in Atlanta’s last championship.