Top Ten Moments in Toronto Blue Jays History - Number 1
Mark Everett Kelly
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Wednesday, April 1, 2020
While we await the start of the 2020 MLB season (whenever it occurs), I thought a look back at some historical memories to carry sports fans through would be therapeutic.
Here is the greatest moment in Blue Jays team history.
Date: October 23, 1993 - Skydome
Opponent: Philadelphia Phillies
Final Score: Blue Jays 8 Phillies 6
After winning the 1992 World Series, the Jays had a chance to become the first team since the 1977-78 Yankees to repeat as World Champs.
In one of the highest-scoring World Series of all-time, Toronto held a 3-2 series lead heading into Game 6 at Skydome.
The Jays sent postseason master Dave Stewart to the mound to clinch the series. Like Jack Morris the year before, Stewart's presence played a massive part in Toronto winning the American League East for the third straight season.
Stewart's 12 wins ranked third on the team, while his WHIP (1.34) was second-best among starters. Stewart paid huge dividends in the ALCS (2-0, 2.03 ERA), winning series MVP.
Led by the pitching of Stewart (6 IP, 2 H, ER), the offense of Roberto Alomar (3 hits, RBI, Run) & Paul Molitor (3B, HR, 2 RBI, 2 Runs), Toronto held a 5-1 lead after six innings.
The Phillies offense propelled them all season. Their 877 runs scored during the regular season was the most by a National League team since the 1962 San Francisco Giants (878) and the fourth-highest total since WW II. Through the first five games of the World Series, Philadelphia averaged six runs per game, which included 14 in losing Game 4 (the most runs scored for a losing team in World Series history).
As they had all series, the Phillies battled back. Len Dykstra's three-run HR off Stewart cut the Jays lead to 5-4. Before the inning finished, Philadelphia found themselves with a 6-5 lead and silenced the shocked crowd at Skydome.
Roger Mason retired the Jays in order in the seventh & Joe Carter to start the eighth, but David West & Larry Anderson did not fare as well. West walked Olerud on five pitches, the only batter he faced. Alomar produced the second out of the inning, grounding out against Anderson. The 40-year old reliever did not make it easy on himself, however, as he hit Tony Fernandez with a pitch & walked Ed Sprague. Despite literally walking into trouble, Anderson induced Pat Borders to pop out, ending the threat.
Duane Ward retired the Phillies in order in the top of the ninth. Phillies manager Jim Fregosi elected to give the ball to closer Mitch Williams to get Philadelphia to Game 7. The term "erratic" definitely applied to Williams, who was inconsistent throwing strikes all season (44 BB in 62 IP). Despite his issues, Williams set a franchise record with 43 saves during the regular season (Jose Mesa broke the record with 45 in 2002).
In the NLCS against the Braves, Williams (2-0, 2 SVS, 2 BS, 5.1 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 5 K) saved two games and blew two saves, but the Phillies won both those games. Against the Jays in the World Series, he notched a five-out save in Game 2, not allowing a hit while walking two.
In Game 4, Williams struggled, allowing three hits, a walk & three runs (his third blown save of the postseason), as Toronto erased a 14-9 deficit in the eighth inning (see Top Moment Number 4).
Despite these issues, Fregosi handed the ball to Williams. Rickey Henderson walked on four pitches to start the bottom of the ninth (Henderson scored the most runs in MLB history, so walking him to start the inning was not a good sign). Williams worked a full-count to Devon White before flying out to Dykstra for the first out.
Williams next batter was Molitor, whom he had success against (Molitor was 1-8 with 4 K in his career against Williams). The Hall of Famer drilled Williams 1-1 pitch into centerfield for his third hit of the game and 12th of the series (won series MVP). Henderson, however, failed to advance the tying run to third, as Dykstra quickly threw the ball back into the infield.
Joe Carter stepped to the plate with the tying run on second and winning run on first. Carter faced Williams on four previous occasions and was 0-4 with a strikeout. He was hitless in his last seven AB. After falling behind 2-0, Williams fought back to tie the count at 2-2, getting a called strike on 2-1 and inducing a swing and miss on a slider out of the strike zone.
Williams fifth pitch to Carter was another slider. Instead of placing it like the 2-1 pitch (dropping it down over the middle of the plate), this offering was down and in. Carter deposited it over the wall down the leftfield line, giving the Jays their second World Championship in a row. Carter joined Bill Mazeroski as the only players to win the World Series with a walk-off HR.
I hope you enjoyed my list of the Toronto Blue Jays top 10 moments.