When Toronto Reigned

By HOWARD BERGER

TORONTO (Sep. 16) – An avid sports fan in this city is clearly living through the worst of times. Four of five major professional teams are entrenched near the basement of their respective leagues: Maple Leafs in hockey; Raptors in basketball; Blue Jays in baseball and Toronto FC in soccer. Only the football Argonauts appear respectable. Adding salt to the wound is an owners’ lockout that could imperil the 2012-13 NHL season. By any reasonable measure, it cannot get much gloomier than right now.

Interestingly, a remarkable contrast prevailed 20 years ago.

The Blue Jays were one month removed from finally shedding their tag as bridesmaid: poised to defeat Oakland for the American League championship and then Atlanta in the World Series. Though narrowly missing the playoffs, Leafs were on an up-swing at the end of 1991-92, having acquired Doug Gilmour from Calgary midway through the season. In the spring of ’93, Gilmour, Dave Andreychuk, Wendel Clark, Felix Potvin and Co. would take the club deeper into the playoffs than at any time since the 1967 Stanley Cup triumph: to within one game of the championship round. Leafs haven’t been as far in the interim. And, the Argonauts – while suffering through an unexpectedly dismal season – were the defending Grey Cup champion, having defeated Calgary Stampeders in November 1991 at sub-freezing Winnipeg Stadium.

Neither the Raptors nor Toronto FC had yet been born to lose.

LATE-DAY SUN BATHING UPPER TIER OF ROGERS CENTRE (FORMERLY SKYDOME) DURING BASEBALL GAME IN AUGUST BETWEEN THE BLUE JAYS AND TAMPA BAY RAYS. WITH JAYS MOTORING TOWARD THE WORLD SERIES, THERE WERE NO EMPTY SEATS 20 YEARS AGO.

While all of this happened – on Sep. 4, 1992 – I was a reporter at CJCL AM-1430 when it became The Fan-1430, our country’s first all-sports radio station. We held one of the most lucrative properties in all of sports broadcasting at the time: the Blue Jays’ radio rights. Three years earlier, SkyDome (with its groundbreaking retractable roof) had opened and the Jays played before sell-out audiences of more than 48,000 each game through their consecutive championships of ’92 and ’93. It was the most exciting time ever to be involved in Toronto sports – as a fan or in the media.

 File:ALE-TOR-Insignia-Old02.png

Though it’s unreasonable to anticipate that fans will once again jam every corner of Rogers Centre, the Blue Jays have maintained a respectable average (26,224 spectators per game in 2012) given their 19-season playoff absence. Were the club to host meaningful games in the month of September, that average would likely soar, as “crowds” of 13,000 are watching the Jays play out the string this month.

CANADA’S FIRST ALL-SPORTS RADIO STATION – BORN SEPTEMBER 1992 – OWNED BY TELEMEDIA COMMUNICATIONS AND FURTHER UP THE DIAL IN EARLY DAYS.

For a taste of the enthusiasm and drama that gripped our city two decades ago, I’ve put together this comparative photo-essay of my images from the Blue Jays-Tampa Bay game last month at Rogers Centre and newspaper pages I have kept from the 1992 World Series against Atlanta Braves. As the wrap-around cover (below) of the Toronto Sun from Oct. 17, 1992 indicates, little else mattered in this town 20 years ago. 

THEN… AND NOW

      

A CONSTANT SINCE 1975 ON OUR WATER-FRONT SKYLINE HAS BEEN THE C.N. TOWER – SHOWN (ABOVE) THROUGH THE PHALANX OF CONDOMINIUM TOWERS THAT HAVE RISEN IN THE PAST 20 YEARS, AND FROM ITS BASE NEXT TO ROGERS CENTRE.

OCT 16, 1992

      

RESIDENTIAL DEVELOPMENT BEYOND SOUTHEAST DECK OF ROGERS CENTER.

OCT. 17, 1992 – WORLD SERIES GAME 1

Toronto Blue Jays Logo - A Blue Jay head with a maple leaf on a baseball surrounded by team name.Atlanta Braves Logo - Braves in scarlet with navy outline above a scarlet tomahawk

 

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 RHE Toronto   0   0   0   1   0   0   0   0   0 1  4  0Atlanta   0   0   0   0   0   3   0   0   X 3  4  0

FROM WIKIPEDIA: Braves fans had plenty to worry about in regard to both starting pitchers. Tom Glavine‘s post-season career had been less than stellar, including giving up eight runs in the second inning of Game 6 of theNLCS against Pittsburgh. Entering Game 1, Glavine’s career post-season record was 1–5 despite two starts where he had pitched complete games and only given up one run each time. Glavine was 0–2 in those starts. In addition to Glavine’s struggles in the postseason the Braves would face Toronto ace Jack Morris in Game 1. The Braves were more than familiar with Morris, having faced him three times in the1991 World Series. Then pitching for the Minnesota Twins, Morris started three games and defeated Atlanta twice. The second of those wins was in the decisive seventh game, when Morris pitched a ten-inning complete game shutout on his way to earning Series MVP honors. However, Morris’ 1992 postseason had not gone particularly well. He lost Game 1 of the ALCS against Oakland despite a complete game, and gave up five runs in the third inning of Game 4 but ended up with a no-decision after Toronto rallied for an extra-inning victory. Glavine gave up a home run to Joe Carter in the fourth for the first run of the Series, while Morris shut the Braves out for five innings. In the sixth, with two runners on and two out Damon Berryhill golfed a Morris pitch over the right-field wall for a three-run homer. It was all the offense Atlanta needed, and the Braves took the game by a 3–1 count. Glavine went the distance for the victory, only giving up four total hits. In taking the loss, Morris suffered his first career World Series defeat in his sixth start, with one no-decision. It would not be his last. Berryhill’s home run marked the first runs Morris had given up in the World Series since a Terry Pendleton home run in the bottom of the third inning of Game 4 of the 1991 Series.

      

      

MIKE WILNER AND JERRY HOWARTH IN BROADCAST BOOTH (RIGHT).

“BUY ME SOME PEANUTS AND…”

OCT. 18, 1992 – WORLD SERIES GAME 2

Toronto Blue Jays Logo - A Blue Jay head with a maple leaf on a baseball surrounded by team name.Atlanta Braves Logo - Braves in scarlet with navy outline above a scarlet tomahawk

 

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 RHEToronto   0   0   0   0   2   0   0   1   2 5  9  2 Atlanta   0   1   0   1   2   0   0   0   0 4  5  1

FROM WIKIPEDIA: Before the game started, during the performance of the National Anthems of the United States and Canada, the U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard accidentally flew the flag of Canada upside down[7] The Corps apologized for the error and took pains to carry the flag properly prior to Game 3 in Toronto after insisting that they would be honored to do so.. On top of that, Canadian rock/country musician Tom Cochranesang the Canadian national anthem incorrectly. Instead of singing the line “…from far and wide, O Canada, we stand on guard for thee…”, Cochrane instead sang a lyric that was in a previous version of the song: “…O Canada, we stand on guard, we stand on guard for thee…”. Not only did Cochrane substitute the archaic lyric, he also did not sing it correctly, as the lyric said “we stand on guard, O Canada, we stand on guard for thee” before it was changed. The pitching match-up featured former Met David Cone, acquired by the Jays in an August trade, against the Braves’ John Smoltz, with whom he had been battling for the National League strikeout lead at the time of the trade. Cone had 214 strikeouts when he was traded by the Mets to the Blue Jays for Jeff Kent and Ryan Thompson, and due to baseball rules involving players switching leagues his total was frozen at that number while Smoltz continued to earn strikeouts. Smoltz finished the season with 215 strikeouts to top Cone, but Cone led the major leagues with a combined total of 264 strikeouts (finishing 23 ahead of his nearest competitor, Randy Johnson). A controversial call was made by umpire Mike Reilly in the top of the fourth inning with Atlanta leading 1–0 after David Justice scored on a wild pitch from Cone. Roberto Alomar was at third base with John Olerud batting. On the first pitch of the at-bat, Smoltz threw a ball that skipped past Damon Berryhill. Alomar broke for home plate while Berryhill fielded the ball. Smoltz, the ball, and Alomar got to the plate at around the same time and Smoltz tagged Alomar. Reilly called Alomar out to end the inning, but replays shown by CBS showed that Alomar’s hand had clearly touched the plate before Smoltz was able to apply a tag. In the top of the fifth Pat Borders and Manuel Lee both reached base in front of Cone, who had already singled earlier in the game. Cone responded with his second hit of the game (only the third hit for a pitcher in the World Series since 1979) to drive in Borders and cut the Atlanta lead to 2–1. Lee then scored on a single by Devon White, tying the game. The Braves rallied in the bottom half of the inning asDeion Sanders provided a spark. With one out, Sanders singled. He then immediately stole second, and after Borders made an errant throw he got up and ran to third. Cone then walked Terry Pendleton, then gave up the go-ahead run when David Justice singled in Sanders. Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston then pulled Cone in favor of David Wells, who gave up the fourth Atlanta run when pinch hitter Brian Hunter’s sacrifice fly scored Pendleton. Toronto made another rally in the eighth inning. Alomar doubled to left with one out, then gave up back to back singles to Joe Carter and Dave Winfield, the second of which scored Alomar and cut the lead to 4–3. Smoltz was then lifted in favor of Mike Stanton, who retired Olerud, and then closer Jeff Reardon struck out Kelly Gruber to end the threat. The Jays entered the ninth trailing by the one run Reilly had cost them and turned to their bench, which the team had nicknamed “The Trenches”. After a walk to Derek Bell, Toronto reserve infielder Ed Sprague drilled a pitch from Reardon, then baseball’s all-time saves leader, to left for a two-run homer. The play was called by legendary Blue Jays announcer the late Tom “Pops” Cheek, who said “Watch him hit a homer” during Sprague’s at bat. Atlanta tried to rally in the ninth. After Mark Lemke flew out, Toronto closer Tom Henke hit pinch hitter Lonnie Smith with a pitch. Ron Gant came in to pinch run for him and after Otis Nixon recorded the second out he stole second. Sanders then walked to put the winning run on base and Pendleton, an NL MVP candidate. Pendleton had led the majors with a .391 average with runners in scoring position and two out. However, he popped out to Jays third baseman Kelly Gruber to seal the victory for Toronto. Gruber then angered Braves fans and players by mocking the “Tomahawk Chop” as he left the field.[8]

             

LOOKING SOUTH FROM UPPER TIER AT ROGERS CENTRE TOWARD LAKE ONTARIO.

      

OUR FLAG: ACCIDENTALLY UPSIDE-DOWN AT FULTON-COUNTY STADIUM.

TORONTO ISLAND AIRPORT FROM ROGERS CENTRE.

A LONELY FAN WITH LOTS OF ROOM IN UPPER DECK AT ROGERS CENTRE.

OCT. 20, 1992 – WORLD SERIES GAME 3

Atlanta Braves Logo - Braves in scarlet with navy outline above a scarlet tomahawkToronto Blue Jays Logo - A Blue Jay head with a maple leaf on a baseball surrounded by team name.

 

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 RHE Atlanta   0   0   0   0   0   1   0   1   0 2  9  0Toronto   0   0   0   1   0   0   0   1   1 3  6  1

FROM WIKIPEDIA: Before this game, the U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard offered to hoist the Canadian flag once more in order to make amends for the inverted flag incident of Game 2. Likewise, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police flew the flag of the United States. As Game 3 moved across the border (for the first Canadian Classic) the question still remained of the Blue Jays’ ballpark benefit. Before this series, the Blue Jays had previously only gone 3–6 in the postseason in their home park, with two of those wins coming in the 1992 postseason.In the fourth inning, the first big defensive play of the Series nearly resulted in a rare World Series triple play and another bit of World Series history was made. With Deion Sanders and Terry Pendleton on with nobody out in the top of the inning, Devon White made a leaping catch of a deep fly ball off the bat of Atlanta’s David Justice. As White made the catch and crashed into the wall Sanders and Pendleton got crossed up on the bases, and Pendleton ran past Sanders to result in an automatic out. Sanders remained stuck between second and third as Kelly Gruber received a relay from first baseman John Olerudand began chasing him back to second. Gruber lunged at Sanders and appeared to tag him on the heel just before he got back to second, and television replays confirmed he did, but umpire Bob Davidsoncalled Sanders safe. In the bottom half Joe Carter homered off of Braves starter Steve Avery, with the hit scoring the first ever World Series run in Canada. The Braves would tie the game in the sixth when Sanders ripped a double into the right-field corner and scored on a Justice single through the right side. They then took the lead in the top of the eighth. Otis Nixon led off the inning and reached on an error after Gruber misplayed a line drive off his bat. Nixon then stole second and with two out stood on third. Juan Guzman then walked Justice to pitch to Lonnie Smith, who delivered with a single that scored Nixon but also ended the inning as Justice was tagged out going to third. In the bottom of the inning Gruber made up for his gaffe in the top half and broke a long hitless streak with a game-tying home run. The top of the ninth inning saw the first World Series ejection since 1985.[8] Sid Bream led off the inning with a single and then was lifted for pinch runner Brian Hunter. With a 2–2 count on Jeff Blauser, Hunter tried to steal second. Blauser attempted to check his swing as Pat Borders threw out Hunter at second. Toronto shortstop Manuel Lee jumped up and told Borders to appeal to first base umpire Dan Morrisonto see if Blauser swung. Morrison ruled he did, and shortly thereafter Duane Ward struck out Damon Berryhill to end the inning. In between innings Braves manager Bobby Cox picked up a batting helmet and threw it out of the dugout to protest the strikeout call on Blauser and was immediately ejected by umpire Joe West. Avery started the bottom of the ninth for the Braves and gave up a single to Roberto Alomar. Acting manager Jimy Williams pulled Avery from the game in favor of Mark Wohlers, who issued an intentional walk to Carter after Alomar stole second. After Dave Winfield bunted the runners into scoring position, Williams brought in Mike Stanton to pitch to Olerud. The Blue Jays sent up Game 2 hero Ed Sprague to pinch hit, and he was walked intentionally to load the bases. Again, Williams came out and called for a new pitcher, this time Game 2 loser Jeff Reardon. Facing Candy Maldonado with one out, Reardon gave up his second consecutive game-winning hit as Maldonado singled to center. Alomar scored from third and Tomahawk Chopped his way to the plate as Gruber had done with the last out in Game 2. Ward took his second consecutive win while Avery was saddled with the loss.

             

UMPIRES RECEIVE TORONTO AND TAMPA BAY LINE-UPS.

WONDERFUL VIEW FROM UPPER-DECK, THIRD-BASE SIDE.

OCT. 21, 1992 – WORLD SERIES GAME 4

Atlanta Braves Logo - Braves in scarlet with navy outline above a scarlet tomahawkToronto Blue Jays Logo - A Blue Jay head with a maple leaf on a baseball surrounded by team name.

 

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 RHE Atlanta   0   0   0   0   0   0   0   1   0 1  5  0Toronto   0   0   1   0   0   0   1   0   X 2  6  0

FROM WIKIPEDIA: Having decided on a three-man rotation for the series, Game 1 winner Tom Glavine took the mound for Atlanta in Game 4. Toronto countered with veteran starter Jimmy Key, who had not made a start in the postseason and only pitched once, in relief, to this point. After giving up a lead-off single to Otis Nixon in the first inning, Key picked Nixon off first base and gave up only three hits over seven innings. In the third inning, the Blue Jays scored their first run when Pat Borders hit a solo home run. They added a second run in the bottom of the seventh, which would prove decisive, when Kelly Gruber scored on a single by Devon White with two out. The Braves attempted to rally in the eighth when Ron Gant led off with a double. He advanced to third on a bunt single by Brian Hunter and then scored on an infield groundout by Mark Lemke with one out. That proved to be the end for Key, as Duane Ward came in for his third consecutive appearance. He struck out the first batter he faced, Otis Nixon, but the pitch got away from Borders and the speedy Nixon was able to reach base, with Hunter advancing to third. Nixon then stole second to put runners in scoring position, but Ward got Jeff Blauser to ground out to John Olerud to end the threat. Tom Henke earned his second save of the series by shutting down the Braves in the ninth. Key won his first postseason game since 1989, and this win proved to be his last as a starter for the Blue Jays. Glavine pitched his second complete game for the Braves in the Series in a losing effort.

      

UPPER ROWS STILL BATHED IN SUN-LIGHT.

             

DOWNTOWN OFFICE TOWERS – VIEWED BETWEEN CURVING ROOF OF STADIUM AND C.N. TOWER; DARK BUILDING IS TORONTO DOMINION CENTRE, BUILT FROM 1967-69. ITS 54th FLOOR (TOP BANK OF WINDOWS) WAS HIGHEST OBSERVATION POINT IN THE CITY UNTIL COMMERCE COURT (SUN-LIT TOWER IN BACKGROUND) OPENED IN 1972 WITH 57 STORIES.

YET ANOTHER HIGH-RISE CONDO UNDER CONSTRUCTION SOUTH OF ROGERS CENTRE.

OCT. 22, 1992 – WORLD SERIES GAME 5

Atlanta Braves Logo - Braves in scarlet with navy outline above a scarlet tomahawkToronto Blue Jays Logo - A Blue Jay head with a maple leaf on a baseball surrounded by team name.

 

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 RHEAtlanta  1  0  0  1  5  0  0  0  0 7 13  0 Toronto  0  1  0  1  0  0  0  0  0 2  6  0

FROM WIKIPEDIA: Down three games to one and facing elimination the Braves returned John Smoltz to the mound for Game 5, who was still seeking his first World Series win. Jack Morris, who had lost Game 1 of the series, was given the start for Toronto. Before the game Terry Pendleton, who had seen a 3–1 lead evaporate in the World Series before (having been a member of the 1985 St. Louis Cardinals), reminded his teammates that the possibility still existed that they may win the series. Entering the game, the Braves’ three, four, and five hitters had not gotten an extra base hit in the entire series. That changed in the first inning, as with one out and Otis Nixon on third base, #3 hitter Pendleton doubled to right field to score the first run of the game. In the bottom of the second Pat Borders tied the game with a two-out double to score John Olerud. The fourth inning saw the Braves #4 hitter get his first extra base hit of the series, as David Justice hit a home run to give Atlanta the lead. But again, Borders struck in the bottom half to tie the game with an RBI single to score Olerud. In the fifth inning, the Braves blew the game open. With two out, Nixon singled, stole second, and then scored on a single by Deion Sanders. Pendleton then hit a ground-rule double, forcing Sanders to stop at third base. Morris then walked Justice to load the bases, duplicating what the Blue Jays had done in the eighth inning of Game 3. However, the move backfired as it had in the third game and in a game where the #3 hitter and #4 hitter had finally gotten extra base hits, #5 hitter Lonnie Smith got his and put the game out of reach with a grand slam home run to extend the Braves’ lead to 7–2. Morris was pulled after giving up the grand slam, with Smith being the last batter he faced in a postseason series; he did not pitch in the 1993 postseason for the Blue Jays after being injured late in the season and retired after the 1994 season. Smoltz pitched six innings to get his first World Series win, and Mike Stanton pitched the final three to earn a save. Atlanta’s offensive outburst dashed any hopes of the World Series being decided on Canadian ground, which would happen the following year. After winning twice and holding the Braves to three runs the year before, in two starts against the same team in 1992 Morris lost both of his starts and had an ERA above 8.00. Smith’s grand slam was the first in the World Series since Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, when Jose Canseco hit one. (It was the first hit in a game by the winning team since Game 6 of the 1987 World Series; Canseco’s home run was nullified by Kirk Gibson‘s famous home run later in the game while Kent Hrbek‘s in Game 6 put the game out of reach).

                 

C.N. TOWER AT DUSK – DOMINATING THE BALLPARK.

             

C.N. TOWER COLORS (ABOVE) ROGERS CENTRE JUMBOTRON (BELOW).

OCT 24-25, 1992 – WORLD SERIES GAME 6

Toronto Blue Jays Logo - A Blue Jay head with a maple leaf on a baseball surrounded by team name.Atlanta Braves Logo - Braves in scarlet with navy outline above a scarlet tomahawk

 

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 RHEToronto   1   0   0   1   0   0   0   0   0   0   2 4 14  1 Atlanta   0   0   1   0   0   0   0   0   1   0   1 3  8  1

FROM WIKIPEDIA: Atlanta’s Steve Avery and Toronto’s David Cone were the starters in this game. Because Avery was a left-handed pitcher, the Blue Jays started Joe Carter at first base instead of John Olerud. Dave Winfield was moved to right field to replace Carter, as he had done in the first two games of the series. However, since Carter had played left field in those two games, this left an open spot in the Toronto lineup and manager Cito Gaston elected to start Candy Maldonado in left field. The Blue Jays got on the board right out of the gate when David Justice misplayed a line drive by Carter to right field scoring Devon White who had singled. In the third, Atlanta’s surprise hero of the seriesDeion Sanders doubled off Carter’s glove and scored when Terry Pendleton hit a sac fly. Toronto untied the affair immediately when Maldonado hit a solo home run in the top of the fourth. Roberto Alomar made a memorable play on a Jeff Blauser ground ball: the ball was grounded to the far right of Alomar, who dove for the ball and recorded the out at first after a quick throw from the knees. The 2–1 score was preserved by solid pitching and defense from the Blue Jays as Cone, Todd StottlemyreDavid Wells, and Duane Ward held the Braves to one run through eight innings. The Braves were just as good defensively as well, and although Avery only lasted four innings Pete SmithMike Stanton, and Mark Wohlers held the Blue Jays in check and kept them scoreless over the next five innings. The score stood 2–1 in favor of the Blue Jays entering the bottom of the ninth, with Toronto needing just three outs to become the first non-American team to win the World Series. Once again the Blue Jays turned to Tom Henke, who was looking for his third save of the World Series and also to continue the Blue Jays’ bullpen’s success in the postseason, as he and the rest of the relief corps did not blow a save or allow an earned run in the entire 1992 postseason. Blauser led off the Braves’ ninth inning with a single, and moved to second base after a sacrifice bunt by Damon Berryhill. Lonnie Smith came up next as a pinch hitter for Mark Lemke and after falling behind 0–2, coaxed a walk out of Henke. The next batter was Francisco Cabrera, who had yet to have an at bat in the series but who had provided the game-winning hit in Game 7 of the NLCS that sent the Braves to the World Series. However, this time Cabrera could not provide the heroics as he lined out to left field on a ball that Maldonado misjudged and had to jump at the last minute to catch before it went over his head. The last hope for the Braves rested on the bat of Otis Nixon as he came to the plate with two out. Henke quickly got two strikes on him, but on the third pitch Nixon slapped a single to left field. Blauser was waved around third and scored as Maldonado made an errant throw that sailed over the backstop behind home plate. The score was now tied and Henke blew the save, as well as allowing the first earned run against the Toronto bullpen. However, with Smith now on third with the winning run, he escaped further damage by forcing Ron Gant to fly out to end the inning. The Braves called on veteran Charlie Leibrandt, who had not pitched in the entire series, to pitch the tenth and he retired the Blue Jays in order. The Braves could not capitalize in the bottom half, as Henke and Game 4 winner Jimmy Key combined to shut them out. That set the stage for the eleventh inning. Leibrandt got the first out by retiring Key but allowed the next two runners to reach base, hitting White and allowing a single to Alomar. Jeff Reardon had been warming up in the bullpen for the Braves and CBS’s Tim McCarver wondered aloud if Bobby Cox would go to Reardon to replace Leibrandt with Joe Carter coming up to the plate. Cox elected not to bring in his closer, who had already lost one game in the series and was responsible for another loss that Avery suffered, and Leibrandt retired Carter for the second out. Needing only one out to give the Braves a chance to break the tie in the bottom of the eleventh, Leibrandt’s next batter was Winfield. To that point Winfield had not been hitting well, struggling throughout the series as well as in Game 6 having been retired in four previous at bats. Winfield had also not gotten a postseason extra base hit, dating back to his previous postseason experience with the New York Yankees in 1981. After working the count full Winfield drove the ball down the left field line for a double, scoring both White and Alomar, and the Blue Jays regained the lead at 4–2. At 41 years of age, Dave Winfield became the oldest player to hit an extra base hit in the World Series.[9] It was the second consecutive year that Leibrandt had given up the go-ahead run in Game 6 of the World Series, as he gave up a game-winning walk-off home run to Minnesota’s Kirby Puckett in the eleventh inning of Game 6 in 1991. The Braves started off the bottom of the eleventh with Blauser singling to left field off Key, just as he started off the bottom of the ninth inning against Henke, then advanced to third after Berryhill reached on an error as Alfredo Griffin, normally sure-handed at shortstop, misplayed a ground ball that took a bad hop at the last second and Blauser was able to advance to third. With the Braves running low on players, pitcher John Smoltz was called on to run for Berryhill. Rafael Belliard, who had entered the game in the tenth as a defensive replacement for Lemke, laid down a sacrifice bunt that advanced Smoltz to second with the tying run. Brian Hunter then pinch hit for Leibrandt and scored Blauser on a groundout to the right side. However, although Smoltz advanced to third, Hunter’s play left the Braves with one final out as they had been in the ninth inning with the tying run on base. Once again, the batter was Nixon. Cito Gaston headed to the mound to talk to Key with action in the Toronto bullpen. It appeared that he was going to simply talk to his pitcher, but instead he elected to pull Key from the game. Right handerMike Timlin entered the game to try to close the scoring and earn a save. This would also force Nixon, a switch-hitter, to turn around and bat from the left side of the plate. It was Nixon’s stronger side of the plate, however, and since he was prone to bunting his way on base to take advantage of his speed he would get a quicker jump from the left side. After fouling off Timlin’s first pitch, Nixon did indeed lay down a bunt. Timlin, who said that Carter had warned him prior to returning to his position of the bunt possibility, fielded the ball cleanly and threw it to Carter to retire Nixon and win the World Series for the Blue Jays.[8] Carter initially looked to keep the ball but gave it up to Timlin who pleaded to Carter for the ball saying it was “[his] World Series save.” Carter would eventually have possession of the game-winning ball of the 1993 World Series: his Series-ending home run ball. Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston became the first African American manager to win a World Series. American League president Dr. Bobby Brown presented the World Series Trophy in the place of the commissioner. Just a month earlier, Fay Vincent was forced to resign and was replaced by Bud Selig (then owner of the Milwaukee Brewers) on what was originally perceived to be an “interim basis.” Dr. Brown also presented the Blue Jays the trophy in 1993. It also marked the first world championship for the city of Toronto since the National Hockey League team Toronto Maple Leafs won the 1967 Stanley Cup Finals.

NIGHT ENVELOPS ROGERS CENTRE.

IT CAN BE LONELY IN LEFT FIELD.

CONDO TOWERS OF MAPLE LEAF SQUARE BEYOND STADIUM.

RIGHT-FIELD SEATS (AND FOUL-POLE) AT ROGERS CENTRE.

TAMPA BAY MANAGER JOE MADDON (ABOVE-RIGHT).

1992 WORLD SERIES AFTERMATH

             

STADIUM LIGHTS AT ROGERS CENTRE.

      

1992 WORLD SERIES MEDIA CREDENTIALS.

EMAIL: HOWARDLBERGER@GMAIL.COM

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