My Prized Baseball Possessions

TORONTO (Oct. 23) — Yes, it was 25 years ago tonight that Joe Carter tomahawked a Mitch Williams delivery into the left–field stands at SkyDome (now Rogers Centre), providing the Toronto Blue Jays their second World Series conquest in as many seasons; walking off the Philadelphia Phillies in the ninth inning of Game 6. Up in the home radio booth — and still annoyed over his banal description of the first championship moment, in Atlanta, one year earlier — Tom Cheek gained broadcasting immortality by exclaiming “touch ’em all, Joe… you’ll never hit a bigger home run!” Though Tom went to his grave prematurely in October 2005, losing a 16–month battle with brain cancer, he took with him a call that ranks, north of the border, alongside Foster Hewitt roaring “Henderson has scored for Canada!” in Moscow (Sep. 28, 1972).

Carter’s now–legendary swing came up in conversation at work not long ago when a colleague, Bob Davidson, mentioned he had a copy of the Toronto Star from the day after (Oct. 24, 1993). He wondered about its monetary value and I offered him the usual response — concerning the item’s condition; its scarcity and whether or not he could locate an interested buyer. At the same time, I told Bob about the most unique part of my sports collection — the large scrapbooks I put together during the Blue Jays playoff and World Series games in 1992 and 1993. As pictured below, these heavy, cardboard–bound items (with thick–stock paper) were large enough to hold full broadsheet pages, such as those in the Star. They had to be ordered for me by Coles — the bookstore chain that eventually became Chapter’s/Indigo. Given that I covered all four playoff rounds for The FAN–590, I was able to buy out–of–town newspapers while traveling to Oakland, Atlanta, Chicago and Philadelphia. They, too, are preserved in these novel scrapbooks.


THE FOUR, HEAVY–CARDBOARD SCRAPBOOKS (above) THAT I PURCHASED FROM COLES BOOKS. LEFT–TO–RIGHT, THEY CONTAIN FULL AND ORIGINAL NEWSPAPER PAGES FROM THE 1992 AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES (Toronto vs. Oakland); THE 1992 WORLD SERIES (Toronto vs. Atlanta); 1993 AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP (Toronto vs. Chicago White Sox) AND THE 1993 WORLD SERIES (Toronto vs. Philadelphia). AMONG THE ITEMS ARE THE TORONTO STAR FRONT PAGES (below) FROM THE MORNING AFTER THE CONSECUTIVE WORLD SERIES TITLES WON BY THE BLUE JAYS.  

  
Though I have never remotely considered selling these scrapbooks, I occasionally ponder their subjective value. In my sports collection, I have rare commodities (mostly magazines, media guides and programs) from the National Hockey League and, specifically, the Toronto Maple Leafs. I also have programs, media guides and newspapers from the earliest years of the Blue Jays (late–70’s). Items that are scarce, yet obtainable for those interested in finding them. But, I truly wonder if anyone else on the planet has kept the newspapers found in these baseball scrapbooks… or preserved them is such a way for a quarter–century.

Included are original pages from the Toronto Star, Toronto Sun, Globe and Mail, Oakland Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Examiner, Atlanta Journal–Constitution, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun–Times, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News, Tampa Tribune and the Vancouver Province.

I cannot imagine what it would take for me to part with these unique; perhaps exclusive items. But, hey, it costs nothing to solicit an overture. My email address is at the bottom of the blog. Submit your offers. 🙂

As a potential inducement, I have posted, below, pages from the most significant games in the Blue Jays championship journeys of 1992 and 1993. It is truly difficult to fathom that 25 years has elapsed.

ROBERTO ALOMAR HOME RUN
Oakland Coliseum — Oct. 11, 1992


STILL, THE MOST IMPORTANT MOMENT IN BLUE JAYS HISTORY. IF NOT FOR ROBBIE ALOMAR’S GAME–TYING BOMB OFF DENNIS ECKERSLEY TO BEGIN THE NINTH INNING OF GAME 4 IN THE ’92 ALCS, THE JAYS WOULD NOT LIKELY HAVE ADVANCED TO (AND ULTIMATELY WON) THEIR FIRST WORLD SERIES. PAGES, ABOVE AND BELOW, FROM TORONTO AND NORTHERN CALIFORNIA.




FIRST AMERICAN LEAGUE PENNANT
SkyDome — Oct. 14, 1992

  
BLUE JAYS ELIMINATE OAKLAND IN GAME 6 OF THE 1992 AMERICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP.

FLAG–FLAP AND PINCH–HIT BOMB
Atlanta Fulton–County Stadium — Oct. 18, 1992

  
DURING THE PLAYING OF THE NATIONAL ANTHEMS, A MEMBER OF THE U.S. MARINE COLOR GUARD UNINTENTIONALLY FLEW THE CANADIAN FLAG UPSIDE–DOWN (TOP–LEFT), SPARKING AN INTERNATIONAL INCIDENT. SEVERAL HOURS LATER, RESERVE INFIELDER ED SPRAGUE (PINCH–HITTING FOR RELIEVER DUANE WARD) DRILLED A JEFF REARDON OFFERING OVER THE LEFT–FIELD WALL FOR A TWO–RUN HOMER IN THE TOP OF THE NINTH INNING, ERASING A 4–3 ATLANTA LEAD IN GAME 2 OF THE WORLD SERIES. ANOTHER MONSTROUS MOMENT FOR THE BLUE JAYS, WHO WOULD NOT LIKELY HAVE REBOUNDED FROM A 2–0 DEFICIT IN THE BEST–OF–SEVEN ROUND.

FIRST WORLD SERIES GAME IN CANADA
SkyDome — Oct. 20, 1992

  
  
REMEMBERED EQUALLY FOR THE MAGNIFICENT, RUNNING CATCH UP THE WALL IN CENTER–FIELD BY DEVON WHITE OF THE BLUE JAYS — AND THE MISSED TRIPLE–PLAY THAT SHOULD HAVE RESULTED — THE FIRST–EVER WORLD SERIES MATCH ON CANADIAN SOIL WENT TO THE HOME TEAM. IN THE BOTTOM OF THE NINTH, WITH THE BASES LOADED, CANDY MALDONADO LACED A PITCH FROM JEFF REARDON INTO DEEP CENTER, SCORING ROBBIE ALOMAR FOR A 3–2 WIN AND 2–1 LEAD IN THE SERIES.

WORLD SERIES ON HOLD
SkyDome — Oct. 22, 1992

  
AN OVERFLOW CROWD OF 52,268 JAMMED EVERY NOOK OF SKYDOME, HOPING TO WITNESS THE FIRST WORLD SERIES TRIUMPH BY A CANADIAN TEAM. BUT, IT WAS NOT TO BE. IN THE TOP OF THE FIFTH INNING — AFTER AN INTENTIONAL WALK TO LOAD THE BASES — LONNIE SMITH OF THE BRAVES BELTED A GRAND SLAM INTO THE RIGHT–FIELD BULLPEN OFF JACK MORRIS, BUSTING OPEN A TIGHT GAME. THE VISITORS WON, 7–2, AND FORCED GAME 6 BACK IN ATLANTA.

BLUE JAYS WIN THEIR FIRST WORLD SERIES
Atlanta Fulton–County Stadium — Oct. 24–25, 1992


  
FINALLY. IN THE EARLY–MORNING HOURS OF SUNDAY, THE BLUE JAYS BECAME THE FIRST TEAM FROM NORTH OF THE BORDER TO WIN THE MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL CHAMPIONSHIP. VETERAN DAVE WINFIELD’S TWO–RUN DOUBLE DOWN THE LEFT–FIELD LINE IN THE TOP OF THE 11th INNING FAMOUSLY BROKE A 2–2 TIE AND THE VISITORS HUNG ON FOR A 4–3 VICTORY OVER THE BRAVES.

1993 ALCS — BLUE JAYS vs. CHICAGO WHITE SOX


1993 ALCS PREVIEWS FROM THE TORONTO SUN (LEFT) AND CHICAGO SUN–TIMES.

GAME 1 — MOSTLY A RUMOR
Comiskey Park, Chicago — Oct. 5, 1993

  
THE 7–3 POUNDING BY THE BLUE JAYS BECAME SECONDARY NEWS WHEN WORD BROKE, DURING GAME 1, THAT SUPERSTAR MICHAEL JORDAN WOULD BE LEAVING THE NBA CHICAGO BULLS TO TRY HIS LUCK AT BASEBALL. INITIALLY, IT SEEMED LIKE SOMEONE’S IDEA OF A BAD JOKE, BUT WINDY CITY NEWSPAPERS THE FOLLOWING DAY (ABOVE) TOLD THE STORY.

BLUE JAYS IN WORLD SERIES — AGAIN
Comiskey Park, Chicago — Oct. 12, 1993

  
  
THE BLUE JAYS SCORED THREE RUNS IN THE TOP OF THE NINTH INNING TO BUILD A 6–2 LEAD AND DEFEATED THE WHITE SOX, 6–3, IN GAME 6 OF THE ALCS. IT WAS ON TO THE ’93 WORLD SERIES.

THE WILDEST GAME… EVER
Veterans Stadium, Philadelphia — Oct. 20, 1993


  
THE BOXSCORE AT THE TOP OF THE TORONTO STAR SPORTS SECTION (TOP–RIGHT) TOLD THE STORY OF THE HIGHEST–SCORING GAME (29 RUNS) IN WORLD SERIES HISTORY. THE BLUE JAYS OVERCAME DEFICITS OF 6–3, 12–7 AND 14–9 TO WIN THE FOUR–HOUR, 14–MINUTE MARATHON (31 COMBINED HITS) AND CRAFT A 3–1 LEAD IN THE BEST–OF–SEVEN ROUND. A SELLOUT CROWD OF 62,731 AT OLD VETERANS STADIUM WENT HOME UNHAPPY, YET ASTONISHED.

JAYS WIN WORLD SERIES — AGAIN
SkyDome — Oct. 23, 1993


BOTH FRONT–PAGES OF THE TORONTO SUN (EARLY AND FINAL, ABOVE) SIGNIFIED THE BLUE JAYS’ SECOND WORLD SERIES VICTORY. JOE CARTER’S CHOPPY, GOLF–SWING ON A 2–2 OFFERING FROM MITCH WILLIAMS SENT THE BALL SCREAMING OVER THE LEFT–FIELD WALL FOR A THREE–RUN, WALK–OFF HOMER IN THE BOTTOM OF THE NINTH INNING. TORONTO ERASED A 6–5 PHILADELPHIA LEAD AND AVOIDED PLAYING GAME 7 THE FOLLOWING NIGHT. A CROWD OF 52,195 WENT BONKERS.


  

OUR FAR–WESTERN NEIGHBORS READ ABOUT THE BLUE JAYS’ WIN IN THE VANCOUVER PROVINCE.

PARADE TIME — AGAIN
TORONTO — Oct. 24, 1993


  
WORLD SERIES MVP PAUL MOLITOR (TOP) AND HERO JOE CARTER ENJOYED A VICTORY CELEBRATION THAT CRAWLED DOWN BLUE JAYS WAY INTO THE SKYDOME.

AND FINALLY…


LEAFS WERE BURIED, BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

As the Blue Jays took down Philadelphia for their second baseball title, Toronto hockey fans rejoiced over the Maple Leafs establishing an NHL–record 10–game win streak to start the 1993–94 season. Stories and photos from the first nine victories are in the pages of these baseball scrapbooks as part of Toronto Star and Toronto Sun Sports sections. Moments before Joe Carter’s Series–winning blast, the Leafs edged the Tampa Bay Lightning, 2–1, at Tropicana Field to win their ninth consecutive start, breaking the NHL mark of eight set by the Buffalo Sabres in 1975–76. The Tampa Tribune detailed the baseball and hockey stories:


EMAIL: HOWARDLBERGER@GMAIL.COM

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