1995 World Series
|Dates:||October 21 – 28|
|MVP:||Tom Glavine (Atlanta)|
|Television:|| ABC (Games 1, 4, 5)|
NBC (Games 2, 3, 6)
|TV announcers:|| Al Michaels, Jim Palmer, Tim McCarver (ABC) |
Bob Costas, Joe Morgan, Bob Uecker (NBC)
|Radio announcers:||Vin Scully, Jeff Torborg|
|Umpires:||Harry Wendelstedt (NL, crew chief), Jim McKean (AL), Bruce Froemming (NL), John Hirschbeck (AL), Frank Pulli (NL), Joe Brinkman (AL)|
|Hall of Famers:|| Braves: Bobby Cox (mgr.), Tom Glavine, Greg Maddux, John Smoltz. |
Indians: Eddie Murray.
|ALCS:||Cleveland Indians over Seattle Mariners (4–2)|
|NLCS:||Atlanta Braves over Cincinnati Reds (4–0)|
The 1995 World Series matched the Atlanta Braves against the Cleveland Indians. The Braves won in six games to capture their third World Series championship in franchise history (along with 1914 in Boston and 1957 in Milwaukee), making them the first team to win three crowns in three different cities. This was also Cleveland's first Series appearance in 41 years and marked the resumption of the Fall Classic after the previous year's Series was canceled due to a players' strike.
This World Series, despite being in an odd-numbered year, opened in the NL home because of the omission of the 1994 World Series. Until 2003, the World Series would begin in the AL home in even-numbered (not odd-numbered) years.
The Braves overcame some early inconsistency to win their division by 21 games. In the playoffs, which featured a new first round, the Braves overwhelmed the third-year Colorado Rockies, then swept the Cincinnati Reds in the NLCS (spoiling an all-Ohio World Series in the process; notably, prior to their World Series appearance in 1948, the Indians had spoiled an all-Boston World Series by beating the Red Sox in a one-game playoff). The team relied on clutch hitting and its powerful pitching rotation, which was made up of perennial Cy Young Award winner Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Steve Avery.
After decades of futility, the city of Cleveland finally had a winner in town. The Indians dominated the American League in 1995, winning 100 of their 144 games (their 100–44 record yielded a very high 0.694 winning percentage, which was, at the time, the highest regular season winning percentage in Major League Baseball since 1954, and is, as of 2015, the 12th highest regular season winning percentage in Major League Baseball history since 1900). Furthermore, in just 144 games, they won the AL Central by 30 games, and they performed the difficult feat of leading their league in both team batting average (0.291) and ERA (3.81). Thanks to their hitting and bullpen, this Indians team became known around the league for their ability to come back from many deficits, often in dramatic fashion; of their 100 regular season victories, 48 were come-back victories, 27 came in their last at-bat, 8 came by way of "walk off" home runs, and 13 were extra-inning victories (they were 13–0 in extra-inning games). After this dominance of the AL in the regular season, the Indians, in the playoffs, swept the Boston Red Sox in the opening round, then held off Ken Griffey, Jr. and the red hot Seattle Mariners in the ALCS, before heading into the Series against the Braves.
The 1995 Cleveland Indians featured a very impressive batting line-up; one that hit for high average, good power, and had good speed. In addition to leading the AL in batting average (0.291), the Indians in 1995 also led the American League in runs scored (840; 5.83 runs per game), home runs (207), and stolen bases (132). Led by speedsters Kenny Lofton and Omar Vizquel, along with Carlos Baerga at the top of the order, the Indians offense was powered in the middle of the order by Albert Belle, Eddie Murray, Manny Ramírez, and Jim Thome; at the bottom of the line-up could be found Paul Sorrento (or Herbert Perry) and Sandy Alomar, Jr. (or Tony Peña). Thus, this Indians line-up had six everyday players who finished the season with a batting average of at least 0.300; and, with Herbert Perry and Tony Peña frequently filling in for Paul Sorrento and Sandy Alomar, Jr., respectively, it was not uncommon for the Tribe to field a line-up with as many as eight players who finished the season with a batting average of at least 0.300. In terms of power, though the '95 season was shortened, nevertheless, the Indians' line-up still featured two players with at least 30 HR, five players with at least 20 HR, and seven with at least 10 HR. While this line-up was filled with star players (four, in fact, were named to the 1995 AL All-Star team, namely, Lofton, Baerga, Belle, and Ramirez), Albert Belle stood out among all of them in 1995. Powered by a very strong second half of the season, Belle, the Indians' clean-up hitter in 1995, finished 1995 with a 0.317 batting average, 126 RBI, and 50 HR. Further to be noted is the fact that, in hitting 50 HR and 52 doubles in 1995, Belle became the first Major League player to hit at least 50 home runs and at least 50 doubles in the same season (an accomplishment which, again, is even more remarkable considering that he did this in a shortened, 144-game season).
The Indians also led the 1995 AL in ERA (3.81). While their starting pitching—led by veterans Dennis Martínez and Orel Hershiser—was respectable, it was their bullpen which gave real strength to their pitching staff. Key members of their bullpen staff included veteran right-hander Eric Plunk (6–2, 2.67 ERA), veteran left-hander Paul Assenmacher (6–2, 2.82), the young right-handed set-up man, Julián Tavárez (10–1, 2.44 ERA), and right-handed closer, José Mesa (3–0, 1.12 ERA, 46 SV). Mesa, in his first year as closer, posted a league-leading 46 saves in 1995, and set a then-Major League record of 38 consecutive saves without a blown save. Two of the members of the 1995 Indians' pitching staff—Dennis Martínez (the team's ace) and José Mesa—were named to the 1995 AL All-Star team.
Thus it was that this Series presented an entertaining match-up of baseball's two best teams, each with reasons to be confident going into the Series. The Atlanta Braves were veterans to the post-season in the 1990s, having won both the 1991 and 1992 NL pennants (not to mention the 1993 NL Western Division title, having won 104 games in 1993), and they were the best team in the NL in the 1995 regular season (having posted a very solid 90–54 record). The Cleveland Indians, on the other hand, new-comers to the post-season (having not been in the post-season since 1954), in posting their 100–44 regular season mark, were the team which had posted not only the best regular season record in the AL, but had completed one of the best regular seasons in all of Major League Baseball history. Further, though the Braves' line-up was not very threatening in 1995 (their 0.250 team batting average was the second lowest in the NL), still, the Braves could be confident with their star-studded pitching staff—especially their starting staff—headed by the likes of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, and Steve Avery. On the other hand, though the Indians could not boast of having as nearly a strong starting rotation as the Braves, nevertheless, they could lay claim to a very solid bullpen and one of the greatest batting line-ups that baseball has ever seen.
It might also be noted that, though this was the first time that a team from Cleveland and one from Atlanta faced each other in the World Series, there were years, prior to the Braves being in Atlanta, in which the Braves faced a Cleveland team for baseball's crown. In 1948, the Boston Braves faced the Cleveland Indians (with the Indians winning that Series in 6 games). Even before that, in 1892, the Boston Beaneaters, a forerunner of the Braves, were also National League Champions in 1892, and faced the Cleveland Spiders for the championship. The Beaneaters beat the Spiders that year to win that baseball championship.
NBC was originally scheduled to televise the entire Series; however, due to the cancellation of the 1994 Series (which had been slated for ABC, who last televised a World Series in 1989), coverage ended up being split between the two networks. Game 5 is, to date, the last Major League Baseball game to be telecast by ABC (had there been a Game 7, ABC would have televised it). This was the only World Series to be produced under the "Baseball Network" umbrella (a revenue sharing joint venture between Major League Baseball, ABC and NBC). In July 1995, both networks announced that they would be pulling out of what was supposed to be a six-year-long venture. NBC would next cover the 1997 (NBC's first entirely since 1988) and 1999 World Series over the course of a five-year-long contract, in which Fox would cover the World Series in even numbered years (1996, 1998 and 2000, and all subsequent editions beyond that).
Also during the World Series in 1995, NBC's Hannah Storm not only became the first woman to serve as solo pre-game host of a World Series (CBS' Andrea Joyce co-hosted with Pat O'Brien in 1993) but also became the first woman to preside over a World Series Trophy presentation. Storm was infamously the recipient of a profane outburst from Albert Belle in his team's dugout. Later, Belle was unrepentant: "The Indians wanted me to issue a statement of regret when the fine was announced, but I told them to take it out. I apologize for nothing." John Saunders served as pre-game host for ABC's coverage. Serving as field reporters for the series were Lesley Visser (ABC) and Jim Gray (NBC).
The six games averaged a national Nielsen rating of 19.5 and a share of 33. Through 2016, this remains the highest-rated World Series of the post-strike era.
On the radio side, CBS was the national broadcaster with Vin Scully and Jeff Torborg on the call. Locally, WKNR aired the series in Cleveland with Herb Score and Tom Hamilton announcing, while WSB broadcast the series in Atlanta with Skip Caray, Pete Van Wieren, Don Sutton, and Joe Simpson announcing.
|1||October 21||Cleveland Indians – 2, Atlanta Braves – 3||Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium||2:37||51,876|
|2||October 22||Cleveland Indians – 3, Atlanta Braves – 4||Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium||3:17||51,877|
|3||October 24||Atlanta Braves – 6, Cleveland Indians – 7 (11 innings)||Jacobs Field||4:09||43,584|
|4||October 25||Atlanta Braves – 5, Cleveland Indians – 2||Jacobs Field||3:14||43,578|
|5||October 26||Atlanta Braves – 4, Cleveland Indians – 5||Jacobs Field||2:33||43,595|
|6||October 28||Cleveland Indians – 0, Atlanta Braves – 1||Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium||3:01||51,875|
| WP: Greg Maddux (1–0) LP: Orel Hershiser (0–1)|
ATL: Fred McGriff (1)
Atlanta ace Greg Maddux pitched a two-hit complete game victory in his first World Series appearance (and just the fifteenth two-hitter in Series history).
The Indians scored in the first inning when Kenny Lofton reached on an error, stole second and third, and scored on an RBI groundout by Carlos Baerga. In the bottom of the second, Fred McGriff launched a tape measure home run on his first ever World Series pitch off Cleveland starter Orel Hershiser to even the score at 1–1. Both starters settled down until the seventh, when Hershiser and the Cleveland bullpen walked the first three Braves to open the inning. The Braves would take a 3–1 lead after Luis Polonia hit into a run-scoring force play and Rafael Belliard bunted a perfect suicide squeeze. The Indians scored a run in the ninth to cut the Braves lead to a single run, but Baerga lifted a pop fly that third baseman Chipper Jones grabbed near the visiting dugout to end the game.
| WP: Tom Glavine (1–0) LP: Dennis Martínez (0–1) Sv: Mark Wohlers (1)|
CLE: Eddie Murray (1)
ATL: Javy López (1)
Atlanta No. 2 starter Tom Glavine got the win in Game 2, aided by a big sixth-inning home run by catcher Javy López, who also picked Manny Ramirez off first base at a crucial moment in the eighth inning to erase a potential game-tying baserunner. The Indians had taken an early 2–0 lead on an Eddie Murray home run, but the Braves evened the score in the third with a sac fly by Chipper Jones and an RBI single by David Justice. Lopez launched his home run in the sixth inning from Cleveland starter Dennis Martínez. The Atlanta bullpen held off the Indians in the later innings, with Mark Wohlers earning the save. The Braves thus took a 2–0 series lead, their most encouraging World Series start of the decade.
| WP: José Mesa (1–0) LP: Alejandro Peña (0–1)|
ATL: Fred McGriff (2), Ryan Klesko (1)
With the World Series moving to raucous Jacobs Field in Cleveland, the Indians got their first win. The Indians offense got back on track off Atlanta starter John Smoltz. With the Tribe already down 1–0 in the bottom of the first, Kenny Lofton singled to center and scored on Omar Vizquel's triple into the right field corner. Omar then scored the go-ahead run when Carlos Baerga grounded out. In the third, the Tribe were back at it again when Lofton opened the inning by ripping a double into the right-center field gap. Omar then got a bunt single and Baerga singled to left to drive in Lofton. Albert Belle then rolled a grounder up the middle to score Vizquel to make it 4–1. The Braves got a boost, however, when reliever Brad Clontz induced a double play groundout by Manny Ramírez to escape further damage. Solo home runs by Fred McGriff and Ryan Klesko brought the Braves closer at 4–3. Cleveland added a run in the seventh on another RBI hit by Baerga scoring Lofton (who would reach base in all six of his plate appearances). With a 5–3 lead going into the eighth, trouble brewed for Cleveland when Charles Nagy and the bullpen gave up the lead. Marquis Grissom led off with a double off the wall. Polonia singled through the right side to drive in Grissom, sending Nagy to the showers. Chipper Jones walked, McGriff hit a deep fly moving the runners up a base, and David Justice reached when Baerga booted his groundball, subsequently allowing Polonia to score the tying run. The inning was capped off by Mike Devereaux's RBI single giving the Braves a 6–5 lead. The Braves couldn't hold on to their slim lead either as Sandy Alomar, Jr. laced a game-tying double inside the line at first in the bottom of the eighth. The two closers, Mark Wohlers and José Mesa then matched zeros for the next two innings. In the eleventh, the Braves went to Alejandro Peña. Baerga immediately smashed a double and after an intentional walk to Belle, veteran Eddie Murray singled to center, scoring pinch runner Álvaro Espinoza and cutting Atlanta's World Series lead in half.
A record eighteen pitchers were used between the Braves and Indians in Games 2 and 3.
| WP: Steve Avery (1–0) LP: Ken Hill (0–1) Sv: Pedro Borbón, Jr. (1)|
ATL: Ryan Klesko (2)
CLE: Albert Belle (1), Manny Ramírez (1)
Braves manager Bobby Cox controversially decided to start beleaguered left-hander Steve Avery in the critical Game 4 instead of coming back with Greg Maddux. Young Braves outfielder Ryan Klesko hit a sixth-inning home run to give Atlanta the lead. Avery was able to deliver six effective innings, only giving up a sixth-inning solo home run to Cleveland slugger Albert Belle. A controversial play happened when Eddie Murray hit a pitch over third base, left-field umpire Jim McKean called it foul while third-base umpire Harry Wendelstedt looked at Jim McKean to make the call. Murray eventually walked and reached second on a balk by Avery, but Hurbert struck out to end the inning. The Braves promptly broke the tie with a three-run seventh, with David Justice plating two of the runs with a single. An RBI double by Javy López gave the Braves an insurance run, making it 5–1. Reliever Pedro Borbón, Jr. saved the 5–2 win after Mark Wohlers ran into trouble, and the Braves were one victory away from a title.
| WP: Orel Hershiser (1–1) LP: Greg Maddux (1–1) Sv: José Mesa (1)|
ATL: Luis Polonia (1), Ryan Klesko (3)
CLE: Albert Belle (2), Jim Thome (1)
It seemed the perfect situation for Atlanta with Greg Maddux pitching Game 5 with a chance to clinch the title, but Albert Belle slugged a two-run homer in the first inning, and the Braves lineup was held in check by Cleveland veteran Orel Hershiser who went eight innings, only surrendering two runs. Atlanta actually tied the game at 2–2 with a run-scoring infield single by Marquis Grissom in the fifth, but Cleveland got two more runs from Maddux making it 4–2. Jim Thome hit an insurance home run in the eighth, which proved necessary as Ryan Klesko homered in his third consecutive game, reducing the gap to 5–4. Klesko became the first person ever to homer in three consecutive World Series road games, by belting homers in Games 3, 4, and 5. The win gave Cleveland the hope of perhaps another Braves World Series collapse and sent the Series back to Atlanta.
As previously mentioned, this game is also the most recent baseball game that ABC televised.
| WP: Tom Glavine (2–0) LP: Jim Poole (0–1) Sv: Mark Wohlers (2)|
ATL: David Justice (1)
Controversy struck on the morning of Game 6 when Atlanta newspapers printed stories that right fielder David Justice had ripped the city's fans for not matching their motivation of past seasons. Justice, who had been struggling in the postseason, was vilified before the game, but when his sixth-inning home run broke a 0–0 tie, he became a hero. Tom Glavine pitched eight innings of one-hit ball (just the fifth one-hitter in Series history) to help earn him the Series MVP. The lone hit was a bloop-single by catcher Tony Peña in the sixth. Closer Mark Wohlers pitched the ninth inning, preserving the 1–0 shutout and Atlanta's coveted title when Carlos Baerga's fly ball landed in center fielder Marquis Grissom's glove. Carlos Baerga was responsible for making the last out in three of the four Cleveland losses; Games 1, 2 and 6.
In 1995, the Cleveland Indians batted .291 as a team, led the league in runs scored, hits, and stolen bases, and had eight .300 hitters in their starting lineup. However, the Tribe was held to a .179 batting average in the World Series.
After Game 6, then-Executive Committee Chairman Bud Selig presided over the Commissioner's Trophy presentation for the first time. In the previous two World Series (1992 and 1993), American League president Dr. Bobby Brown presided over the trophy presentation. Selig would become Commissioner of Baseball in 1998.
The Braves' victory marked the only time that the city of Atlanta won a world championship in any of the four major professional sports. The NFL's Atlanta Falcons came close, but lost to the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XXXIII during the 1998 season. (Coincidentally, the NBA's Hawks won the championship in 1958 when the franchise was based in St. Louis, months after the Milwaukee Braves won the 1957 World Series.)
As for Cleveland, the Indians would return to the World Series in 1997, where they lost to the Florida Marlins in seven games. The NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers have been to three NBA Finals, losing to the San Antonio Spurs in a four-game sweep in 2007 and to the Golden State Warriors in a six-game 2015 Finals, and then defeating the same Warriors in the rematch. The NFL's Cleveland Browns, who within a few months after this World Series would make a controversial move to Baltimore (where they currently play as the Ravens, winners of Super Bowls XXXV and XLVII) and be revived in 1999, are one of four franchises to have never been to a Super Bowl. A Cleveland team would not win a major professional sports championship until the Cavaliers defeated the Golden State Warriors in the full seven games in the 2016 NBA Finals.
Composite line score
| Total attendance: 286,385 Average attendance: 47,731|
Winning player's share: $206,635 Losing player's share: $121,946
- Note that this championship was not called the "World Series"; the World Series as we know it today—the championship series between the NL champion and AL champion—was first played in 1903
- "1995 World Series Game 1 - Cleveland Indians vs. Atlanta Braves". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "1995 World Series Game 2 - Cleveland Indians vs. Atlanta Braves". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "1995 World Series Game 3 - Atlanta Braves vs. Cleveland Indians". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "1995 World Series Game 4 - Atlanta Braves vs. Cleveland Indians". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "1995 World Series Game 5 - Atlanta Braves vs. Cleveland Indians". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- "1995 World Series Game 6 - Cleveland Indians vs. Atlanta Braves". Retrosheet. Retrieved September 13, 2009.
- 1995 World Series at WorldSeries.com (MLB.com)
- 1995 World Series at Baseball Almanac
- 1995 World Series at Baseball-Reference.com
- The 1995 Post-Season Games (box scores and play-by-play) at Retrosheet
- History of the World Series - 1995 at The SportingNews. Archived from the original on 2008.
- 1995 Atlanta Braves
- 1995 Cleveland Indians
- Brave Hearts
- Tavarez relishes postseason