Twins to commemorate infamous Gant-Hrbek play

It's been 20 years, but diehard Braves fans still vividly recall the night their team was robbed.

Now, two decades after the 1991 World Series, the Minnesota Twins are ready to pour new salt on an old wound. In honor of the 20th anniversary of the Twins' thrilling defeat of the Braves, the team plans to give away bobblehead dolls commemorating the series' most controversial play.

It came during the third inning of  Game 2 in Minnesota's Metrodome. Atlanta's Ron Gant ripped a single to left, advancing teammate Lonnie Smith to third.

Twins pitcher Kevin Tapani cut off Dan Gladden's throw and fired the ball to first, hoping to catch Gant off the base. Gant was safely on the bag, but that didn't stop Twins first baseman Kent Hrbek, a noted wrestling fan, from performing a nifty clean-and-jerk: He pulled Gant off the bag and tagged him out.

The play ended a great scoring chance for Atlanta, and the Braves went on to lose the game by a run. Afterward, the team was livid that umpires missed Hrbek's illegal play.

"He definitely tried to push me off the base, " Gant said afterward. Added then-Braves first base coach Pat Corrales: "He threw him off the bag."

Most neutral observers agreed. Braves fans were incensed, showering Hrbek with boos when the series moved to Atlanta. The Twins eventually won the series, 4 games to 3.

Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Michael Rand wrote Friday "99 percent of you will think this bobblehead of Kent Hrbek and Ron Gant is the best ever." It's a good bet at least 99 percent of Braves fans will disagree.

What's next, a Florida Marlins-sanctioned bobblehead of Eric Gregg's immense strike zone that helped Livan Hernandez ring up 15 strikeouts against the Braves in Game 5 of the 1997 NLCS?