Is this World Series as good as Twins-Braves in 1991?

October 31, 2017 GMT

Here’s a question that’s likely to elicit a highly emotional response from a lot of folks around here: Is this crazy World Series between the Astros and Dodgers already better than the 1991 World Series between the Braves and Twins?

My quick answer is “no,” and that comes from someone who rooted HARD for the Braves in 1991 and was devastated when the Twins won. But someone who was a little bit closer to both series has a different point of view.

Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz, who threw seven scoreless innings in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series and has worked the broadcast this year for Fox as an analyst, was asked on the radio Monday by host Dan Patrick if this World Series has surpassed the 1991 World Series already.

Smoltz paused for a moment before saying, “Yeah, in a different way.”

He then went on to describe Sunday night’s bonkers 13-12 Houston victory: “When you think about the pressure of doing something in one particular game ... I’ve never seen a game where the emotions were so incredibly draining and there were so many moments where you could just hang your head. You just sensed each team was hanging on by a thread. There wasn’t anybody who thought this game was well in hand. Managing this game had to be an emotional roller-coaster.”

It seemed that Smoltz was going down one path — comparing the two series — before veering into focusing primarily on Game 5. But he at least opened the door for the possibility that this series is on track to surpass the one that many baseball folks — especially those who live in Minnesota — consider to be the best of all-time.

This World Series has had two pretty routine games, another that took a turn when the Dodgers scored five in the ninth to break open a 1-1 game, and two of the most dramatic games I’ve ever seen. It also has had controversy about the baseballs being used — which either adds to the drama or casts doubt on the legitimacy of what you’re watching, depending on your perspective.

There might be a conversation to be had already about whether Game 2 (with all the extra-inning home runs) or Game 5 (with all the back-and-forth drama plus all the home runs) were better than any individual game in the 1991 World Series.

That said, I don’t think we can declare any series to be the “best ever” until it’s over. Twins/Braves had five very dramatic games — Games 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7.

And there hasn’t even been an elimination game in this World Series yet. Two of the best games in 1991 (Games 6 and 7) were elimination games, with the winner-take-all Game 7 being the best game of the entire series.

Let’s see what happens Tuesday (and possibly Wednesday) before we make any ultimate declarations about just how good this World Series is when it comes to historical context.