OUR BRAVES DELIVER A WORLD SERIES TITLE TO ATLANTA

OUR BRAVES DELIVER A WORLD SERIES TITLE TO ATLANTA
FILE – In this Oct. 28, 1995, file photo, the Atlanta Braves celebrate after Game 6 of the baseball World Series in Atlanta. The Braves defeated the Cleveland Indians 1-0 to win the series. There hasn’t been a big league champion in this city since the Braves’ title. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke, File)

BUCK BELUE
680 THE FAN ATLANTA – We had waited so long for this championship. And it was the Braves who finally cashed in, delivering a MLB World Series Title to Atlanta and Braves Country! Yes sir, 1995 will always be special in this city!
It wasn’t so much that we had come so close, a few years earlier against the Twins and the Blue Jays, or even the fact that we all had survived so many dreadful seasons previously. What seemed to make so many of us Atlanta Braves fans so happy was this: We finally had a world championship we could put our arms around, after 30 years of trying!

The 1995 season started late because of the MLB strike, but Braves fans knew that year could be special. Maddux, Glavine, Smoltz gave us the best rotation in baseball, again. Chipper had taken over for TP at third base. Marquis Grissom was our new centerfielder. We were poised for another run and everyone knew it.

The Braves got out of the gate fast, winning 7 of 8 to start the season. Prior to the All-Star game, we won 20 of 25 and led by five games at the break. We dusted the Phillies and Mets in the second half and won the division by 21 ½ games. That was fun.

The middle of the Braves batting order was so balanced and productive it made us all smile: 3- Chipper, 4- McGriff, 5- Justice, 6- Klesco. They all went for 20+/70+. Jones drove in 86 runs and Fred had 93 RBI. Grissom set the table up top (scoring 80 runs) and Lemke got clutch hits in the 8-spot. Blauser & Belliard split time at shortstop and were the glue, with consistent play defensively.

Greg Maddux delivered a Cy Young season in ’95! He was spectacular, going 19-2 with a 1.63 ERA! Tom won 16, John won 12 and both showed off an ERA barely above 3.00. Basically, The Big 3 was nasty, filthy and dominant! And we loved every minute of it! Avery and Mercker rounded out the rotation. Our team could pitch!

During the season, Mark Wohlers took over the closer role and led the way in that dominant 2nd half of the season. Greg McMichael got a lot of big outs, with that amazing change-up, in the set-up role. Clontz, Borbon and Stanton also contributed out of the bullpen.

Our HOF Manager Bobby Cox was coaching these guys up, too. I felt like we had the top manager in baseball. Our team was awesome. We could play with anyone. Bring’em on! It was our time!

The MLB Postseason arrived and the Atlanta fans were about to see something amazing. We took down the Rockies 3-1. We swept the Reds. And we took down the cocky Indians in six. Our guys gave us 11 wins in fourteen games! An 11-3 Postseason!

For as long as we live, we can treasure Game 6 of the 1995 World Series. We can remember Tom Glavine stepping up with one of the all-time great big-game performances and David Justice delivering the big bomb, when we needed it the most (after calling out the fans)!

And that last out of Game 6, in the 1995 World Series, I’ll never forget. I had a left-center field seat, in the upper deck of Atlanta Fulton County Stadium, next to my brother, Blake. On the final out, when Grissom camped out under that lazy fly ball, I felt the stadium shake with joy. Blake and I “Bro-Hugged” for what seemed like minutes, as the Atlanta crowd roared! It was a feeling like no other.

We had our World Championship! Our Atlanta Braves delivered! Does it seem like 25 years ago? Absolutely not. It seems like yesterday. Thanks, Mr. Schuerholz!

Buck Belue can be heard on 680 The Fan Weekdays from Noon to 3 on “Buck & Kincade.”