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On This Date in Sports: October 28, 1995: Braves World

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The Atlanta Braves win it all, claiming their first World Championship since playing in Milwaukee in 1957. The Braves shut the door on the Cleveland Indians in Game 6 of the World Series as Tom Glavine allows just one hit in eight innings, while Mark Wohlers pitches the ninth. Glavine earns the 1-0 win and is named World Series MVP as David Justice provides all the offense with a home run in the sixth inning. 

Beginning in 1991, the Atlanta Braves became a powerhouse in the National League for manager Bobby Cox, going from last place to first place and advancing to the World Series for the first time since moving to Atlanta. The Braves franchise had previously won a World Series in Boston in 1914 and Milwaukee but had experienced mostly frustration after moving to Atlanta in 1966. The Braves lost consecutive World Series in 1991 and 1992 and were upset in the NLCS by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1993. The 1994 season was difficult as they shifted to the NL East, as they were in second place when the strike hit in August. 

After the strike, the Braves became even stronger as they acquired Marquis Grissom in the Montreal Expos’ fire sale. After his planned rookie season was ended by a torn ACL in spring training, Chipper Jones, the first pick in the 1990 MLB Draft, finally was playing every day and contributing, finishing second in Rookie of the Year voting. Meanwhile, Greg Maddux won an unprecedented fourth consecutive Cy Young award to help Atlanta cruise to the division title at 90-54. In the Division Series, the Braves needed four games to knock off the pesky Colorado Rockies while they swept the Cincinnati Reds in the NLCS as Mike Devereaux, a player acquired in August, was named NLCS MVP.

An entire generation of fans in Northern Ohio had grown up not knowing what it was like to see the Cleveland Indians in a pennant race. From 1960-1993, the Indians never finished less than 11 games out of first. During this time, the Tribe finished better than fourth place once, as they played at the cavernous Municipal Stadium with 50,000 empty seats on a good night. The Indians got a new ballpark in 1994 with the opening of Jacobs Field. They were in a position to battle for the Central Division when the strike ended the season. Fans of the Indians had not seen an important game in September since 1959. There would be no important games in 1995 either though that was not the Tribe’s fault as they posted a record of 100-44 for Mike Hargrove, winning the division by a record 30 games. In Cleveland's first postseason game in 41 years, the Indians beat the Boston Red Sox 5-4 in 13 innings on a walk-off home run by Tony Pena. Cleveland would sweep the series. The Indians needed six games to beat the Seattle Mariners in the ALCS, as Orel Hershiser won the ALCS MVP. 

Orel Hershiser was on the mound in Game 1 at Fulton County Stadium, while the Braves countered with Greg Maddux. Kenny Lofton reached base to lead off the game on an error by Rafael Belliard at short. Lofton stole second and third and scored on a grounder by Carlos Baerga. The Braves tied the game on a home run by Fred McGriff in the second. Both pitchers were dominating. Maddux allowed one hit through seven, while the Braves got three hits off Hershiser. In the seventh, Hershiser lost the plate, walking the first two hitters. The Braves took full advantage scoring two runs without a hit on the Cleveland bullpen. Cleveland got a hit by Lofton in the ninth and scored another unearned run, as Maddux went the distance in a 3-2 win.

Dennis Martinez made the start for Cleveland in Game 2, as Tom Glavine took the mound for Atlanta. The Indians got two runs in the second on a home run by Eddie Murray. While the Braves tied the game on hits by Chipper Jones and David Justice in the third. The Braves would take the lead in the sixth on a two-run home run by Javy Lopez. The Indians got an unearned run in the seventh, but Mark Wohlers slammed the door as the Braves won 4-3.

Trailing 2-0, the Indians had Charles Nagy on the mound for the first World Series game in Cleveland since 1954, while John Smoltz made the start for the Braves. Atlanta got on the board in the first as Chipper Jones laced a double and scored on a single by Fred McGriff. Cleveland answered with two runs as Omar Vizquel ripped a run-scoring triple and scored on a grounder by Carlos Baerga. The Tribe added two more runs in the third on RBI hits by Baerga and Albert Belle. The Braves began crawling their way back in the game as McGriff homered in the sixth, and Ryan Klesko homered in the seventh. Carlos Baerga drove in the third run in the seventh to give Cleveland a 5-3 lead. However, Paul Assenmacher faltered out of the pen, as the Braves took the lead with three runs in the eighth. The Indians managed to tie the game as Sandy Alomar Jr. had an RBI double off Wohlers in the bottom of the eighth. The game would go into extra innings, with Eddie Murray getting a walk-off single as the Indians won 7-6 in 11 innings. 

Steve Avery made the start for Atlanta in Game 4, while Ken Hill looked to even the series for Cleveland. Neither pitcher allowed a run in the first five innings. Ryan Klesko homered for the Braves while Albert Belle answered for the Indians. In the seventh, the Braves erupted for three runs as Luis Polonia chased Hill with an RBI double, while Assenmacher gave up a two-run single to David Justice. Javy Lopez doubled in a fifth run in the ninth. In the bottom of the ninth, Mark Wohlers struggled, giving up a home run to Manny Ramirez. After a double by Paul Sorrento, Pedro Borbon came into the game and recorded the final three games as the Braves won 5-2 and had a 3-1 series lead.

Game 5 was a rematch of the opener as the Braves looked to end the series in Cleveland. Albert Belle gave the Tribe an early lead with a two-run homer in the first. Luis Polonia put the Braves on the board I the fourth. The Braves tied the game on an error in the fifth. With the situation getting dire, the Indians got RBI hits by Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez in the sixth to take a 4-2 lead. Thome extended the lead to 5-2 with a homer in the eighth. That run proved important as Ryan Klesko hit a two-run shot in the ninth. However, Jose Mesa struck out Mark Lemke to end the game, sending the series back to Atlanta.  

David Justice created a mini-controversy when he ripped the fans of Atlanta, earning the ire of the fans. Tom Glavine took the mound looking to close out the series, while Dennis Martinez hoped to force a seventh game. Both pitchers were extraordinary as Glavine did not allow a hit until Kenny Lofton led off the sixth with a single. Martinez meanwhile had a high pitch count and was removed in the fifth. Jim Poole struck out Fred McGriff to snuff a Braves scoring chance. He took the mound to start the sixth, as David Justice, who was booed, came to the plate. Justice turned the boos to cheers with a home run that gave Atlanta a 1-0 lead. Glavine continued to dominate, striking out eight while allowing one hit and three walks in eight innings. Mark Wohlers took the mound in the ninth and got three fly balls, the last being hit by Baerga to Marquis Grissom in centerfield.