Photo credit: HamPhoto.com
A lot of room in right-center … if he hits one there we can dance in the streets. The 2-1. Swung, line drive left field! One run is in! Here comes Bream! Here’s the throw to the plate! He is … safe! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! … Braves win! They may have to hospitalize Sid Bream; he’s down at the bottom of a huge pile at the plate. They help him to his feet. Frank Cabrera got the game winner! The Atlanta Braves are National League champions again! This crowd is going berserk, listen!
Like that immortal call from Skip Caray, there are brief moments in time that define a city’s sports legacy.
Babe Ruth calling his shot. Carlton Fisk waving the home run over the Green Monster. Some images will live forever in sports lore. The city of Atlanta hasn’t seen too many of those images, but on this date 20 years ago, they finally had their moment in the spotlight.
In the bottom of the ninth of Game 7 of the National League Championship Series, the Pittsburgh Pirates seemed ready to steal a series from the Braves in Fulton County Stadium and advance to the World Series. But one swing from Francisco Cabrera turned one of the most unknown players on the team into a legend, forever etched into the city’s history. The Braves came from two runs down to win 3-2, and that ninth inning was the last time Pittsburgh has seen a Pirates team that was anything but awful — 20 consecutive losing seasons have followed.
(WATCH: Click Here to See the Iconic Moment)
Many people thought the young Braves were poised to win multiple championships in the coming years, yet two decades after Sid Bream’s famous slide, the Braves still only have one trophy in their case. 1992 was only the second of 14 consecutive division titles, and while they built one heck of a banner collection in left-center field at Turner Field, moments like Sid’s slide just didn’t seem to come too much, outside of the 1995 title.
I found a fairly extensive video of the celebration that ensued at Fulton County Stadium after the Braves advanced to the 1992 World Series, and I was entranced by the way the fans stuck around to celebrate. Elation like that has rarely been seen in the city with our sports teams in the last 20 years because our teams haven’t been this clutch in a long time. We’ve been taught to expect the worst and that hits like this one aren’t likely, if even possible. The never-say-die attitude our fans used to bring to the ballpark has been expunged from our system after years of choking. Not just on the baseball field, either — the Falcons and Hawks haven’t given the hometown fans much reason to believe in the sports Promised Land over the last two decades, either.
Watch the video below and see what it used to be like (some of the faces you’ll see will be easily recognizable). Hopefully, we will find the magic once again.