1992 Oakland Athletics season

1992 Oakland Athletics
1992 AL West Champions
Major League affiliations
Location
Results
Record 96–66 (.593)
Other information
Owner(s) Walter A. Haas, Jr.
General manager(s) Sandy Alderson
Manager(s) Tony La Russa
Local television KPIX/KICU-TV
(Monte Moore, Ray Fosse)
Sports Channel Pacific
(Bill Rigney, Greg Papa, Reggie Jackson)
Local radio KSFO
(Bill King, Lon Simmons, Ray Fosse)
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The Oakland Athletics' 1992 season was the team's 25th in Oakland, California. It was also the 92nd season in franchise history. The team finished first in the American League West with a record of 96-66.

The Athletics entered the 1992 season with high hopes. The team, in particular, hoped to see its pitching staff rebound from a dreadful 1991 performance; the Athletics' team earned run average (ERA) had ballooned from 3.18 in 1990 (1st of 14 AL teams) to 4.57 in 1991 (13th of 14 AL teams). The Athletics also hoped to continue their success on offense; in 1991, the team had scored a respectable 760 runs (the fifth-highest total in the AL). The offense, as always, was centered on superstars Mark McGwire, José Canseco, and Rickey Henderson.

The Athletics' hopes were largely answered. The team's pitching staff finished the season with an ERA of 3.73; this was the fourth-best average in the American League. Starter Dave Stewart, after an abysmal 1991 campaign, lowered his ERA to a respectable 3.66; his resurgence was mirrored by Bob Welch, who returned to near-ace status with a 3.27 ERA. The offense performed similarly well. Mark McGwire, following an awful 1991 campaign (in which he batted just .206 with 22 home runs), posted a .268 average in 1992 (while knocking in 42 homers). Rickey Henderson stole 48 bases, Mike Bordick hit exactly .300, and José Canseco slugged another 22 home runs. Canseco was famously traded to the Texas Rangers, mid-game, on August 31; the Athletics received outfielder Rubén Sierra, reliever Jeff Russell, and starter Bobby Witt. The Athletics again scored the fourth-most runs in the American League in 1992.

The bulk of the Athletics' 1992 accolades, however, went to closer Dennis Eckersley. Eckersley saved an MLB-leading 51 games over the course of the season; in the process, he posted a 7-1 record a 1.91 ERA. Eckersley's efforts netted him both the 1992 AL Cy Young Award and the 1992 AL MVP Award. Eckersley remains the last reliever (and remained, until 2011, the last pitcher of any kind) to be named MVP in either league.

The Athletics finished the 1992 season six games ahead of the second place (defending champion) Minnesota Twins. The division championship was their fourth in five years. In the ALCS, the A's faced a strong Toronto Blue Jays side. The first three games of the series were decided by two runs or fewer; at the end of the Game 3, Oakland trailed Toronto 2 games to 1. In Game 4, Oakland led the Jays 6-1 after seven innings; a furious Toronto rally, however, resulted in a 7-6 Toronto victory (and a 3-1 Blue Jays series lead). The Athletics never recovered from the collapse, and ultimately succumbed to the favored Jays in six games.

The 1992 season signaled the end of an era in Oakland. The team would miss the postseason in each of the next seven seasons; by the time of the Athletics' next division title (2000), no members of the 1992 team remained in Oakland.

Offseason

  • October 11, 1991: Vance Law was released by the Athletics.[1]
  • January 17, 1992: Ron Darling was signed as a free agent by the Athletics.[2]
  • January 27, 1992: Goose Gossage was signed as a free agent by the Athletics.[3]

Regular season

  • José Canseco tied an MLB record with seven consecutive plate appearances with a walk in games against the Texas Rangers on August 4 and 5, 1992.

Season standings

AL West W L Pct. GB Home Road
Oakland Athletics 9666 0.593 51–30 45–36
Minnesota Twins 9072 0.556 6 48–33 42–39
Chicago White Sox 8676 0.531 10 50–32 36–44
Texas Rangers 7785 0.475 19 36–45 41–40
California Angels 7290 0.444 24 41–40 31–50
Kansas City Royals 7290 0.444 24 44–37 28–53
Seattle Mariners 6498 0.395 32 38–43 26–55

Record vs. opponents

1992 American League Records

Sources:
Team BAL BOS CAL CWS CLE DET KC MIL MIN NYY OAK SEA TEX TOR
Baltimore 8–58–46–67–610–38–46–76–65–86–67–57–55–8
Boston 5–88–46–66–74–97–55–83–97–65–76–64–87–6
California 4–84–83–106–67–58–55–72–117–55–87–69–45–7
Chicago 6–66–610–37–510–27–65–78–58–45–84–95–85–7
Cleveland 6–77–66–65–75–85–75–86–67–66–67–55–76–7
Detroit 3–109–45–72–108–57–55–83–95–86–69–38–45–8
Kansas City 4–85–75–86–77–55–77–56–75–74–97–66–75–7
Milwaukee 7–68–57–57–58–58–55–76–66–77–58–47–58–5
Minnesota 6–69–311–25–86–69–37–66–67–55–88–56–75–7
New York 8–56–75–74–86–78–57–57–65–76–66–66–62–11
Oakland 6–67–58–58–56–66–69–45–78–56–612–19–46–6
Seattle 5–76–66–79–45–73–96–74–85–86–61–124–94–8
Texas 5–78–44–98–57–54–87–65–77–66–64–99–43–9
Toronto 8–56–77–57–57–68–57–55–87–511–26–68–49–3

Notable transactions

Roster

1992 Oakland Athletics
Roster
Pitchers Catchers

Infielders

Outfielders

Other Batters

Manager

Coaches

Player stats

= Indicates team leader

Batting

Starters by position

Note: Pos = position; G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in

Pos. Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
CTerry Steinbach128438122.2791253
1BMark McGwire139467125.26842104
2BMike Bordick154504151.300348
3BCarney Lansford135496130.262775
SSWalt Weiss10331667.212021
LFRickey Henderson117396112.2831546
CFWillie Wilson132396107.270037
RFJosé Canseco9736690.2462272
DHHarold Baines140478121.2531676

Other batters

Player G AB H Avg. HR RBI
Henry Mercedes954.80001
Jerry Browne11132493.287340
Rubén Sierra2710128.277317
Troy Neel245314.26439
Lance Blankenship12334984.241334
Eric Fox5114334.238313
Scott Hemond17276.22201
Jamie Quirk7817739.220211
Scott Brosius388719.218413
Randy Ready6112525.200317
Dave Henderson20639.14302
Dann Howitt22486.12512
Mike Kingery12283.10701

Pitching

Starting pitchers

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Mike Moore3622317124.12117
Ron Darling33206⅓15103.6699
Dave Stewart31199⅓12103.66130
Bob Welch20123⅔1173.2747
Joe Slusarski1576555.4538
Kelly Downs1882553.2938
Bobby Witt631⅔113.4125

Other pitchers

Player G IP W L ERA SO
Kevin Campbell3265235.1238
Gene Nelson2851⅔316.4523
Rich Gossage300202.8426
Bruce Walton70009.907
Jeff Russell82020.005
Shawn Hillegas50002.353
John Briscoe27016.434
Mike Raczka80008.532
Johnny Guzmán200012.000
Todd Revenig20000.001

Relief pitchers

Player G W L SV ERA SO
Dennis Eckersley6971511.9193
Jeff Parrett669103.0278
Vince Horsman582112.4918
Rick Honeycutt541433.6932
Jim Corsi324201.4319

American League Championship Series

Game 1

October 7, Skydome

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Oakland 030 000 001 461
Toronto 000 011 010 390
W: Jeff Russell (1-0)   L: Jack Morris (0-1)  S: Dennis Eckersley (1)
HR: OAK Mark McGwire (1) Terry Steinbach (1) Harold Baines (1)   TOR Pat Borders (1) Dave Winfield (1)

The first game of the series had Oakland's Dave Stewart face off against Toronto's Jack Morris. The A's put up a three-spot against Morris in the second inning, as Mark McGwire and Terry Steinbach hit back-to-back home runs. Stewart held the Jays scoreless until the fifth, when catcher Pat Borders homered to put Toronto on the board. Dave Winfield added another solo shot for Toronto in the sixth, and in the eighth a base hit by John Olerud scored Winfield to tie the game.

However, Oakland took the lead right back in the top of the ninth, when Harold Baines led off the inning with a solo home run. A's closer Dennis Eckersley then shut down the Jays in the bottom half of the inning to preserve a 4-3 victory and give the Athletics a 1-0 lead in the series.

Game 2

October 8, Skydome

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Oakland 000 000 001 160
Toronto 000 020 10X 340
W: David Cone (1-0)   L: Mike Moore (0-1)  S: Tom Henke (1)
HR: TOR Kelly Gruber (1)

Game 2 saw Oakland's Mike Moore face the Jays' David Cone. The game was initially a pitchers' duel, as Moore and Cone put up zeroes for the first four innings. In the bottom of the fifth, however, Toronto's Kelly Gruber hit a two-run home run off Moore to give the Jays the lead. In the seventh, Gruber doubled, took third on a grounder, and came home on a Manuel Lee sacrifice fly to extend the Toronto lead to three. The A's avoided a shutout in the top of the ninth, when Rubén Sierra tripled and scored on a single by Baines, but that was all they could muster against Toronto closer Tom Henke. The Jays took the second game and tied the series at a game apiece.

Game 3

October 10, Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Toronto 010 110 211 791
Oakland 000 200 210 5133
W: Juan Guzman (1-0)   L: Ron Darling (0-1)  S: Tom Henke (2)
HR: TOR Roberto Alomar (1) Candy Maldonado (1)

The series shifted to Oakland for Game 3, as Juan Guzmán took the hill for the Jays while Ron Darling toed the rubber for the A's. Toronto struck in the second, when Winfield reached on an error by Athletics' third baseman Carney Lansford, moved to third on a wild pitch by Darling, and scored on a single by Candy Maldonado. Roberto Alomar hit a solo home run in the fourth to give the Jays a 2-0 lead, but in the bottom half of the inning the A's tied the game with RBI base hits by Baines and Steinbach.

However, the very next inning, Maldonado hit a solo homer of his own, and after Oakland manager Tony La Russa gave Darling the hook in the seventh, the Jays added two unearned runs due to an error by Lance Blankenship and a triple by Lee, making it a 5-2 game. Although the A's cut TO's lead down to a run, the Jays tacked on single runs in the eighth and ninth. Henke retired the Athletics in order in the ninth, giving Toronto a 7-5 victory and a 2-1 edge in the series.

Game 4

October 11, Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 R H E
Toronto 010 000 032 01 7174
Oakland 005 001 000 00 6122
W: Duane Ward (1-0)   L: Kelly Downs (0-1)  S: Tom Henke (3)
HR: TOR John Olerud (1) Roberto Alomar (2)

For the fourth game, Toronto threw Morris against Oakland's Bob Welch. In the second inning, Olerud tagged Welch for a solo homer to give the Jays the lead. However, the Athletics came back in a big way with a five-run third and tacked on another run in the sixth when Sierra doubled Rickey Henderson home, giving Oakland a seemingly secure 6-1 advantage. In the top of the eighth, however, La Russa pulled Welch, who had been cruising along, and went to his bullpen. The Jays capitalized by scoring three runs off hits by Joe Carter, Olerud, and Maldonado, cutting the A's lead to 6-4.

For the top of the ninth, La Russa turned to Eckersley to shut down the top of the Jays' order and tie the series. Although he had given up two of Toronto's three runs in the previous inning, the Oakland closer was still fearsome. Devon White led off with a single to left, but moved to third on an error by Henderson. Roberto Alomar was up next, and he hit a high drive to right field that disappeared behind the wall for a game-tying two-run home run. This turned out to be a crucial point of the series, as it forced the game into extra innings and gave the Jays a chance to win.

Indeed, in the top of the 11th, Toronto came through. Derek Bell walked, moved to third on a Maldonado single, and came home on a sacrifice fly by Borders to give the Jays a 7-6 lead. Henke shut the door on the A's in the bottom of the inning, handing Toronto a 3-1 series lead.

Game 5

October 12, Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Toronto 000 100 100 273
Oakland 201 030 00X 680
W: Dave Stewart (1-0)   L: David Cone (1-1)
HR: OAK Rubén Sierra (1)   TOR Dave Winfield (2)

Game 5 pitted Toronto's Cone against Oakland's Stewart. In the bottom of the first, Sierra cracked a two-run home run off Cone, and the next inning an error by Cone proved costly as Henderson got on base and then scored on a single by Jerry Browne. Although Winfield broke the shutout with a homer off Stewart in the fourth, the unearned runs continued to hurt the Jays, as the A's added three runs in the fifth (only one of which was earned) for a 6-1 lead. Toronto managed only one more run in the seventh when White singled Gruber home, and Stewart went the distance as the Athletics took a 6-2 victory and cut the Jays' advantage in the series to 3-2.

Game 6

October 14, Skydome

Team 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E
Oakland 000 001 010 271
Toronto 204 010 02X 9130
W: Juan Guzman (2-0)   L: Mike Moore (0-2)
HR: TOR Joe Carter (1) Candy Maldonado (2)

The series came back to Toronto for Game 6, with Guzmán going against Moore. In the bottom of the first, the Jays took a lead they would never relinquish, as White reached on an error by Henderson and scored on a homer by Carter, making it 2-0. In the third, Olerud lashed an RBI double and Maldonado followed with a three-run shot, extending the advantage to 6-0. McGwire put Oakland on the board in the sixth with a single that scored Sierra, but the A's could only manage another run against the Jays. In the ninth, Henke took the mound and induced a flyout from Sierra to end a 9-2 win, making Toronto the first non-U.S.-based team to win a pennant in Major League history.

Awards and honors

  • Dennis Eckersley, American League Cy Young Award
  • Dennis Eckersley, American League MVP
  • Tony La Russa, Associated Press Manager of the Year
  • Carney Lansford, Hutch Award[8]
  • Mark McGwire, Silver Slugger Award

Farm system

Level Team League Manager
AAA Tacoma Tigers Pacific Coast League Bob Boone
AA Huntsville Stars Southern League Casey Parsons
A Modesto A's California League Ted Kubiak
A Reno Silver Sox California League Gary Jones
A Madison Muskies Midwest League Dick Scott
A-Short Season Southern Oregon A's Northwest League Grady Fuson
Rookie AZL Athletics Arizona League Bruce Hines

LEAGUE CHAMPIONS: AZL Athletics

References

  • 1992 Oakland Athletics at Baseball Reference
  • 1992 Oakland Athletics at Baseball Almanac
  • Johnson, Lloyd; Wolff, Miles, eds. (1997). The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (2nd ed.). Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America. ISBN 978-0-9637189-8-3. 
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