The Night Sid Slid

📅 May 16, 2020

Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS between the Pirates and Braves will be forever defined by its final pitch, a two-out fastball from Pittsburgh’s Stan Belinda that Atlanta pinch-hitter Francisco Cabrera lashed into left field to plate two runs and send the Braves to the World Series.

David Justice scored the tying run. Then Sid Bream just beat Barry Bonds’ throw to the plate to score the winning run.

And the beloved Skip Caray called: “Swung, line drive left field. One run is in. Here comes Bream. Here’s the throw to the plate. He is – safe! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win! Braves win!”

This remarkable moment has been described by fans forever after as a memory they will never forget, the most magical moment, and still giving them chills.

The Night Sid Slid.

Its poignant lesson?  Don’t give up.

Don’t give up. The miracle is coming.

Here’s how Sid Bream described it: “It was about the never-say-die attitude of the Atlanta Braves. Down 2-0 in that inning, we could have easily dropped our heads and said, ‘we’re going to miss out this year.’ But our attitude was it didn’t matter what the score was, we knew that we had the opportunity to win ballgames.’

Don’t give up. The miracle you need may be only moments away.

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Don’t give up. You may be the hero needed.

Francisco Cabrera was a 3rd string catcher. Brian Hunter was up to the bat before him and Cabrera said he was  hoping Turner got the hit to drive in the winning run. When he got out, Cabrera knew it was up to him.

He said: “All my life my daddy said I was going to be a hero. Now I’m a hero. I dream about it, but not the way it happened. I dreamed about hitting a home run with two men on base.”

Don’t give up. You may be the crucial person in the story playing out in your life at this very moment.

Esther 4: 14. Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?

Don’t give up. Your opponent is half an inch too short.

Pirates catcher Mike La Vallierie recalled: “I’m 5’8, but this time I was a half-inch too short. If I’m 5’8 ½, he’s out…Bream’s out.”

Don’t give up. Victory has already been won for you at the cross. The “enemy,” whether inner—a besetting sin, a personal weakness or fear—or outer—a conflict with another person, always at odds with you—will have neither the final say, nor the final victory. He’s “half an inch too short.”

Psalm 37:23-24 The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord: and he delights in his way, though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down: for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

Don’t give up. The skeptics are wrong.

Sid Bream was an unlikely hero. He was known as a “slow runner,” and had been plagued with injuries. But he never let criticism define him. It motivated him.

Don’t listen to the skeptics. Don’t compare yourself to someone else. You have only One Person to please.  

II Corinthians 5:9. Wherefore we labor, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of Him.  

This was the defining moment of Sid Bream’s career. Indeed one of baseball’s defining moments.

Even now a poster-sized photo of the slide is what Braves players see as they open the doors of their clubhouse to enter a hallway that leads to the home dugout.

“That play brings hope,” said Bream. “That play brings excitement. We were down 2-0 in the ninth but said ‘we can do this.’ They remember history and maybe they’ll get back up there again.”

Don’t give up.

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Holly Bebernitz

Native Texan Holly Bebernitz moved to Jacksonville, Florida in 1967. After thirty years of teaching speech, English, and history on the secondary and college levels, she retired from classroom teaching to become a full-time grandmother. The change in schedule allowed the time needed to complete the novel she had begun writing in 1998. When Trevorode the Defender was published in March 2013, the author realized the story of the Magnolia Arms was not yet complete.