The 1992 National League Championship Series was played between the Atlanta Braves (98–64) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (96–66) from October 6 to 14. Atlanta won the series in seven games to advance to their second straight World Series. The 1992 NLCS ended in dramatic fashion, as in the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7, with Atlanta down 2–1 and the bases loaded, the Braves' Francisco Cabrera cracked a two-run single that scored David Justice and Sid Bream. Bream famously slid to score the Series-winning run, beating the throw by Pirates left fielder Barry Bonds.
The Braves were attempting to return to the World Series one year after their dramatic seven-game loss to the Minnesota Twins. Atlanta featured largely the same lineup that had won the 1991 pennant, but they still fell into a tie for last place, seven games behind the Giants, by the end of May. However, Atlanta went 19–6 in June and 16–9 in July and pulled away from the rest of the NL West by winning 15 of their first 18 games in August.
The Pirates were in the NLCS for the third year in a row after losing to the eventual World Series champion Cincinnati Reds in 1990 and the Braves in 1991. It was also the third of four straight NLCS appearances by either the Pirates or their in-state rivals, the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Pirates lost slugging right fielder Bobby Bonilla to free agency after the 1991 season, replacing him with speedster Alex Cole. Ace pitcher John Smiley was traded to the Minnesota Twins. Despite the departure of Smiley and Bonilla, Pittsburgh charged out to a seven-game lead by late June, suffered through an July 11–15 that allowed the Montreal Expos to tie them for the lead by the end of the month, then won eleven straight in early August before pulling away from the Expos in September to earn its third straight NL East title, becoming the first team to win three straight NL East titles since the Phillies from 1976 to 1978. Future home run champion Barry Bonds won his second MVP Award and led the Pirates with 34 home runs and 103 RBI.
Pressure beyond the moment made it imperative for the Pirates to break through and win the pennant in 1992. Financial demands had already resulted in losing Smiley and Bonilla, and the departure of pending free agents Bonds (left fielder) and Doug Drabek (starting pitcher) loomed. 1992 appeared to be the last chance for Pittsburgh to win with its current core of players.