Kirt Manwaring – 1991 Score

January 9, 2011

Something Tells Me They’re Not Discussing Road Beef Here…

Back in the good ol’ days, pre-Retrosheet, you’d get a card like this and just wonder what game it came from. Without diving into your Sporting News library or microfiche at the library, you couldn’t really pin it down.

But now, it’s easy…

July 20, 1990. Manwaring was recently called up from the minors. He had played a lot in 1989 but didn’t hit at all and spent most of 1990 in Phoenix as the Giants went with Terry Kennedy and Gary Carter as their catchers. Steve Decker replaced Manwaring as top catching prospect #1, so Manwaring was more apt to yo-yo back and forth to sit on the bench.

This was one of those 3:05 games the Cubs had back before they had lights (or used the lights as much as they do now). Carter must have been on the shelf, so with a lefty in the box for the Cubs (Steve Wilson) Kennedy sat out and Manwaring started.

The play in question came in the bottom of the sixth. John Burkett is on the hill for the Giants. Grace leads off the sixth by lacing a double to right. On a full count, Andre Dawson lofts a ball that falls in front of Kevin Mitchell in left. Mitchell’s not the best left fielder in the world but had played third base and shortstop back when he was young and thin, and still had an arm.

Grace isn’t the speediest guy in the world, and is tempted by Mitchell’s reputation. As you can see, Mitchell fired a strike to Manwaring at the plate, and the Giants catcher held his ground as Grace tried to be…creative…in knocking the ball loose.

Mitchell assisted on another play where a Cubs’ base runner was thrown out at home earlier, but it was a wackier play. In the bottom of the third, after a single and an error on Will Clark put runners on first and second, Wilson attempted a bunt. Burkett fielded it, but threw wildly to third. Joe Girardi was on second and tried to score after the overthrow, but Mitchell retrieved the ball, hit the cutoff man Matt Williams and Williams nailed Giardi at the plate.

Even with two runners out at the plate, the Cubs won the game. And it was in dramatic fashion.

Mike Bielecki pitched 2 1/3 innings of excellent relief to keep the Cubs in the game, and they trailed just 4-3 entering the ninth. Roger Craig entrusted the ball to all-star Jeff Brantley with reliever Atlee Hammaker in line for the win.

Dawson leads off with a grounder, but pinch hitter Gary Varsho reaches on a pop-fly double to left. Varsho, who had some speed (which surprised the heck out of me because I never thought of him as a speedy guy), was ignored by Brantley and stole third. This put the tying run 90 feet away with one out.

Brantley digs deep and gets Luis Salazar to bounce back to him at the mound, and Varsho has to hold. With two down Shawon Dunston adds to the Shawn-O-Meter with a line drive single to left.

Dunston, who could steal a bag, steals second. Then Brantley balks him to third. I’d love to know what happened there. On a 2-2 pitch Girardi laces a single to center, scoring Dunston and making Harry Caray a happy Bud Man.

Brantley allowed two steals and committed a balk, and those all cost him the game. Sometimes the little things do win. But sometimes, big men with large sticks also win. It’s baseball, who really knows day-to-day anyway?



2 Responses to “Kirt Manwaring – 1991 Score”

  1. sacoo Says:

    Awesome card. Also a CMC guy. Cool to see Dawson involved in the play, too.

  2. Play at the Plate Says:

    Nice….very nice.

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