The bullpen phone remained still. Morris was prepared to go back out for the 11th, but Minnesota loaded the bases with one out against Alejandro Pena in the last of the 10th. Kelly sent Gene Larkin to pinch-hit.
"They're pulling their outfield in," home plate umpire Denkinger said to Larkin. "I believe you could hit one over their heads." Larkin said nothing.
Weeks later, at a White House reception, Denkinger asked Larkin, "Didn't you hear what I said?"
Replied Larkin, "Yep. But you know what? My mouth was so dry I couldn't talk."
Larkin hit the first pitch over the leftfielder's head, and Gladden danced home with the game's only run. Never before or since had a run been so difficult to come by in a World Series game. Morris—his warmup jacket on, ready to pitch all night if he had to—was the first player to get to home plate, waving Gladden in.
There is a scene on the videotape in which Kelly first spots Morris in the clubhouse after the game. Kelly seems to be fighting back tears as he rushes toward his pitcher, then embraces him with a long, tight hug.
"Now, that..." Morris says, choking up as he watches the tape. He lowers his head, gathers himself and continues, "...that is worth more than any trophy or ring. To have the respect of your manager, your teammates.... What is greater than that?"
The game has changed. Complete games, Morris's badge of honor, are more than twice as rare now as they were in 1991. Only twice in the 116 World Series starts since Morris's Game 7 has a pitcher thrown a shutout ( Curt Schilling in 1993 and Randy Johnson in 2001). The next Jack Morris, Smoltz, isn't even a starting pitcher anymore. He's a closer. Smith is retired, raising a family in an Atlanta suburb. The Braves asked him last year to attend one of their promotions at Turner Field in which former team members sign autographs for fans. Smith was heckled there by some fans about 1991 and Knoblauch. He vowed he would not return.
"I feel like an outcast," Smith says. "I'm the one they identify with losing that Series."
Says Smoltz, "Many times in sports guys are falsely accused of being the reason a team lost. This is one. We had men on second and third, nobody out, and we did not score...."