Sid Bream recalls his famous slide

Sid Bream recalls his famous slide

Published Jun. 7, 2012 8:54 a.m. ET

Sid Bream cemented his place in Braves lore and baseball history when he
slid home ahead of Barry Bonds’ throw to score the game-winning run in
Game 7 of the 1992 NLCS, sending the Braves to their second consecutive
World Series.

It was an unlikely end to a game in which Doug
Drabek shut out the Braves for eight innings before they scored three in
the ninth against him and reliever Stan Belinda for a 3-2 victory on
Oct. 14, 1992.

Bream was the third batter of the inning, drawing a
walk from Drabek to load the bases with no outs. He scored on the
winning run on Francisco Cabrera’s pinch-hit single.
Now, nearly 20
years later, the Braves are honoring Bream with a bobblehead of “The
Slide,” also featuring Pirates catcher Mike LaValliere and umpire Randy

Bream, a native of Harrisburg, Pa., who now lives near
Pittsburgh, will be in Atlanta this weekend as the Braves also honor
former teammate John Smoltz by retiring his jersey No. 29 on Friday

“The Slide” bobblehead will be given to the first 20,000 fans attending Saturday’s game against Toronto at Turner Field.

Bream chatted with Braves writer Andy Johnston earlier this week.

Q: What do you think about your bobblehead and having a bobblehead night honoring your slide?

One of my friends, when he saw it on the national wire, he emailed me
and told me, ‘Sid, the only thing is, they should have given you bigger
arms.’ I’m honored. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to be on a
bobblehead for the Braves. I’m thankful a play like that has lasted a
long time here. I’m just honored.

Q: I read in the Pittsburgh paper where you said you might not be remembered if it wasn’t for that play.

There’s no doubt in my mind. There are a lot of players who have played
since the time that I was in baseball, and you don’t remember a whole
lot of them. You’re hoping to have some kind of a remembrance, whether
it’s an all-star performance or a World Series performance, or something
like a Kirk Gibson, a Bobby Thomson or a Bill Mazeroski, or something
to that degree. Fortunately for me, I didn’t do the difficult part. It
was Francisco Cabrera. He did the tough part. All I did was have to run.
I’m grateful. I’m thankful to the Lord that he allowed it to happen.
It’s been a great 20 years.

Q: Thinking back to Game 7 of the
1992 NLCS, can you recall what you were thinking when the Braves trailed
2-0 entering the ninth inning? Did you think y’all could still win?

There was no doubt in my mind that I knew that we could do it because
we had done it so many times throughout the course of that year, coming
back in the later innings. That was one of the neat things about that
team. There was a never-say-die attitude about that team. At the same
time, Doug Drabek had blanked us for eight innings. Obviously, the task
was pretty daunting. Terry Pendleton, who was the leader of our team,
started it all off and gave us hope by hitting that double. It just
snowballed from there.

Q: So when Francisco hit that ball, were you thinking that you could score, given there were two outs?

A lot of people asked me over the years, ‘Why didn’t you stop when
(third base coach) Jimy Williams gave you the stop sign?’ I don’t know,
to this day, if Jimy Williams gave me the stop sign or not. I can’t
believe that he did because you always put pressure on the defense. With
two outs, I was going on contact. Obviously, everything was in my
favor. Now, again, with my speed at that time, anybody who was on the
bench, pitcher or not, probably could have been in the dugout by the
time I got to home plate. Bobby Cox decided to leave me out there. 
There are people who say there was nobody on the bench, but there were
pitchers on the bench. I don’t understand other than the fact that God
had all that worked out. He gave me that opportunity and I’m thankful
for it.

Q: People give you a hard time about your speed, but you
had six steals that year without being caught. Are people wrong about
how fast you were at that time?

A: I had had five knee operations
by then, and my whole way of playing baseball changed once I had my
surgeries in 1989 and going into 1990. I didn’t have the push-off power
to be the aggressive kind of player that I wanted to be. But back in
1986, I had 13 stolen bases. I used to be able to run pretty decent. I
used to take advantage of my base running skills. I used to love to run.
In 1992, if I had six stolen bases, I was using my brain a little bit
and knowing that pitchers weren’t going to throw over there. When they
came set, I was taking off, which gave me a two- or three-step advantage
before the catchers even threw the ball.

Q: When you think about it, can you believe it’s been 20 years since that play? Has time flown for you?

There’s no doubt. Good grief. My wife and I were just talking
(recently) about when it was that something else happened. I thought it
was a couple of years and it had been seven years. This is incredible.
It’s been 20 years already, from the time. My body feels it. My body
says it’s been 20 years, but at the same time, my mind doesn’t feel like
it’s been 20 years.

Q: You retired in 1994. What have you done in the time since you retired?

Obviously, that play, along with my faith, has created a platform for
me to be able to go out and do some public speaking. I’ve done quite a
bit of speaking in that time frame. I’ve tried my hand at several
different businesses, and they’d start fine. I started building some
houses with a friend of mine and about the time we started going good,
that’s when the market went bad. I love the outdoors and doing some
hunting, so one of the things I’m looking at right now is working with a
group called The Outdoor Dream Foundation in Anderson, S.C. They
basically give kids with major illnesses or who have had a major
surgery, or some kind of a handicap, the opportunity to have a dream
outdoor excursion, whatever it might be. Whether it’s fishing, hunting
or something else. They allow them, along with their family, to go
experience that and enjoy that. I’ve been trying to help them raise some
funds so they can see more and more kids do it. I had the opportunity
last September to go down with a boy who had a major brain tumor
removed. He went out and took an alligator, took a real nice whitetail
and he caught some real big fish. The smile on the young man’s face was
just incredible. I look forward to the opportunity to be able to help
them out.

Q: It seems like everyone in that part of Pennsylvania is a huge Steelers fan. Are you a big Steelers fan?

I’m not a Steelers fan. My children are. I certainly would love to see
the Pirates get back to the place where they are competitive again, but
only time will tell on that one.