In 1992 the firstWorldSeries games were played outside the United States-in Toronto, Canada. The Blue Jays 96-66 were managed by former player Cito Gaston and led by Roberto Alomar .310 BA/105 RS/49 SB, Joe Carter 34 HR/119 RBI/.309 BA/97 RS and 40 year-old Dave Winfield 26 HR/108 RBI/92 RS.
Last year’s World Series MVP Jack Morris led their pitching staff 21-6 which also had Jimmy Key 13-13, Juan Guzman 16-5, and Todd Stottlemyre 12-11 with Tom Henke 34 SV/2.26 ERA and Duane Ward 7-4/12 SV/1.95 ERA in the bullpen.
Atlanta’s team was little changed from the previous year as the Braves 98-64 were led by John Smoltz 15-12/2.85 ERA, Tom Glavine 20-8/2.76 ERA and Charlie Leibrandt 15-7. They had Alejandro Pena with 15 saves and Mark Wohlers with a 2.55 ERA in the bullpen.
Terry Pendleton 21 HR/105 RBI/98 RS, Ron Gant 17 HR/80 RBI/32 SB, Otis Nixon 41 SB and Dave Justice 21 HR/72 RBI led the offense with reserve outfielder Deion Sanders contributing 26 stolen bases and a league leading 14 triples.
The two twenty game winners Morris and Glavine hooked up in a pitching duel in game one in Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium with Toronto leading 1-0 going into the bottom of the sixth inning.
But as often happens in a World Series a relatively little known player steps up and gets a big hit as Brave catcher Damon Berryhill belted a three run home run off of Morris for all of the Braves runs in a 3-1 Atlanta victory and the Braves go up 1-0.
Game two was another tight game as Atlanta led 4-3 after eight innings with Jeff Reardon who they had picked up in the off season to bolster their bullpen and was one of the dominate closers in baseball on topitch the ninth inning.
But in baseball the game doesn’t always go according to script and after getting the first out Reardon walked Derek Bell always something that makes a manager’s tension level go up, and the next hitter Ed Sprague who had only one home run during the regular season promptly deposited one of Reardon’s pitches into the seats and the Blue Jays go up 5-4 and win the game to tie the series at one game each.
Game three was the first WS game ever played in Canada and again the starters Steve Avery and Juan Guzman pitched well with the game 2-2 going into theninth inning.
Bobby Cox sent out Avery for the ninth but after a leadoff single pulled him for Mark Wohlers and two intentional walks and a groundout later was replaced with Reardon who allowed the game winning single and the Jays again take advantage of the Atlanta bullpen with a 3-2 win and go up 2-1 in the series.
Game four continued the string of close games as lefthanders Jimmy Key and Tom Glavine pitched well but the Braves could only manage one run and the Jays’ bullpen held and they win 2-1 to go up 3-1 and put the Braves on the verge of elimination.
Game five had Smoltz and Morris as starters and this game went John Smoltz’ way as the Braves got to Morrisfor seven runs highlighted by a solo home run by Dave Justice and grand slam in the fifth by Lonnie Smith and the Braves stop the three game Toronto winning streak with a 7-2 victory as the Braves pull to within one game at three games to two.
In game six each manager emptied their respective bullpens as Toronto used seven pitchers and Atlanta five. The score was tied 2-2 after nine innings as for the second year in a row the concluding game went into extra innings and stayed that way into the eleventh when Toronto’s Dave Winfielddoubled in two runs off Charlie Leibrandt who again was used in relief in an extra inning game as he had been in the World Series the previous year.
The Braves mustered one run in their bottom of the inning but it was not enough and Toronto wins the game and the series 4-3.
It was a tightly contested series as four games had been decided by one run. Pat Borders batted .450 and got the series MVP and Toronto returned the next year while the Braves would be back in 1995.
In an update on Joe Burrow, he is second in the NFL in completions with 160 and sixth in passing yardage with 1617 but unfortunately leads the league in being sacked with 22. The Bengals need to do a better job of protecting him.
Ron Griffitts a contributing columnist for the Daily Advocate