- 1B, LF, OF
- August 3, 1960
- 6' 4"
- 215 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 9-01-1983 with LAN
- Allstar Selections:
- 1990 HA
He was an athlete with class and integrity, somebody you could cheer for without the fear of seeing his name in the police blotter or reading an article of some egotistical outburst that unfortunately is commonplace in today’s sports pages. With Sid Bream the team always got a top effort and a personality that people could cheer for, that’s why it was the ultimate cruel irony that he would tear apart the hearts of every Pirate fan when he scored the dramatic run in the bottom of the 9th of game 7 in the 1992 NLCS.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Bream came up through the Dodger organization where he was an outstanding minor league player, hitting .329 in his time there including a monster season in 1983 when he led the Pacific Coast League in homers with 32 and RBI’s with 118 while playing for LA’s top farm team in Albuquerque. While he would go on to hit .343 and .370 in his next two season in AAA, Bream had trouble repeating that average for the parent Dodgers hitting only .159 with 3 homers in three abbreviated seasons.
Because of his disappointing performance, GM Joe L Brown, who was trying to reconstruct the ailing franchise, was able to pick Sid up along with RJ Reynolds and Cecil Espy, both of whom contributed to the Bucs, for former batting champion Bill Madlock. Bream took to his surroundings and hit .284 the final month of the year in 1985.
While never living up to his billing as superstar slugger, Sid nevertheless proved to be more than an able first baseman, who had decent power, consistently hit between .264 and .275 while possessing a great glove. He also proved to be a good clutch hitter, with .292 and .287 averages in 1986 and 1988 respectively with runner on base.
It wasn’t a pitcher that would bring the Pennsylvania native down though in the disappointing season of 1989, but his troublesome knee, which he had repaired in the off season of 1987. This time the injury proved more severe causing him to play in only 19 games where he was shelved for the season and endured a reconstructive surgery, which was one of three operations he would go through.
Bravely Bream came back the following year and helped lead the club to their first division title in 11 years with a .270 average and 15 homers, while hitting .500 in 4 NLCS contests.
The Pirates chose not to resign their starting first baseman after the season concluded, and he went to a club that had finished in last place in 1990, but was a young upcoming squad with a very rich future, the Atlanta Braves. So respected was Sid that after he hit a home run at Three Rivers upon his return to the Burgh, the same fans who are famous for how they negatively go after ex-Pittsburgh players in any sport, rose to give him a standing ovation. As the story goes, the Braves rose from the ashes and captured the 1991 NL West crown. They would defeat the Bucs in 7 classic games as Bream hit .300 including a homer in the series.
Both teams repeated their championships the following season and it appeared early on that the Braves would easily win the NL crown again as they built up a 3-1 edge in the series. The Pirates battled back outscoring the Braves 20-5 in games 5 and 6 and took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the ninth of game 7. Atlanta came back and tied the game on Francisco Cabrera’s pinch hit two out single. On the hit, the oft-injured, slow-footed ex-Pirate favorite labored around third and challenged the arm of superstar Gold Glove left fielder Barry Bonds. Bream would slide safely under the tag, giving Atlanta the dramatic 3-2 victory and championship. How ironic that such a city favorite would be the one inevitably to rip their hearts out in what was one of if not the most heartbreaking loss in franchise history.
Noted baseball announcer Sean McDonough uttered arguably the most famous call of his career while he was relaying what came to be known as "The Slide" to North American television viewers on CBS:
“Line drive and a base hit! Justice has scored the tying run, Bream to the plate, and he is... SAFE! Safe at the plate! The Braves go to the World Series!”
McDonough got so caught up in the moment that his voice cracked when Bream arrived safely home ahead of the throw from Bonds.
Braves announcer Skip Caray delivered his defining call on the play as well:
“ 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!...Braves win!"
Houston Astros and retirement
Following the 1993 season, Bream signed with the Houston Astros and served as a backup to Jeff Bagwell, and continued his success as a pinch-hitter. He hit .344 in limited play, and retired during the baseball strike. Bream is currently a motivational speaker and served as the hitting coach for the State College Spikes in 2008.
Nine Other Players Who Debuted in 1983
1990 National League Championship Series
1991 National League Championship Series
1991 World Series
1992 National League Championship Series
1992 World Series
1993 National League Championship Series
Pittsburgh Pirates Encyclopedia
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