1992 World Series
The 1992 World Series was the championship series of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 1992 season. The 89th edition of the World Series, it was a best-of-seven playoff played between the American League (AL) champion Toronto Blue Jays and the National League (NL) champion Atlanta Braves. Toronto defeated Atlanta four games to two, marking the first time a team based outside the United States won the World Series. The Blue Jays remain the only Canadian team to have appeared in, and won, a World Series (which they would do again the following year, in 1993). The 1992 World Series was the first World Series in which games were played outside the United States.
|1992 World Series|
|MVP||Pat Borders (Toronto)|
|Umpires||Jerry Crawford (NL), Mike Reilly (AL), Joe West (NL), Dan Morrison (AL), Bob Davidson (NL), John Shulock (AL)|
|Hall of Famers||Blue Jays: |
Pat Gillick (GM)
Bobby Cox (manager)
John Schuerholz (GM)
|Television||CBS, simulcast in Canada on CTV|
|TV announcers||Sean McDonough and Tim McCarver|
|Radio announcers||Vin Scully and Johnny Bench (CBS)|
Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth (CJCL)
Skip Caray, Pete Van Wieren, Ernie Johnson, Joe Simpson and Don Sutton (WGST)
|ALCS||Toronto Blue Jays over Oakland Athletics (4–2)|
|NLCS||Atlanta Braves over Pittsburgh Pirates (4–3)|
The Blue Jays won the American League Eastern Division title for the second consecutive season and third time in four years. They faced the winners of the Western Division, the Oakland Athletics, in the American League Championship Series. The A's were looking to advance to the World Series for the fourth time in five years, having previously been in the World Series in 1988, 1989, and 1990. The Blue Jays, meanwhile, were looking to become the first Canadian team to win a pennant. The Blue Jays lost the first game at home but then won the next three to take a commanding lead, eventually closing the series out at home in Game 6.
The Braves won the National League Western Division for the second straight season and earned another matchup with the three-time defending Eastern Division winners, the Pittsburgh Pirates, in the National League Championship Series. The Braves won three of the first four games in the series, but the Pirates won the next two and were leading in the bottom of the ninth in Game 7 before the Braves rallied, capped off by a single by seldom-used utility man Francisco Cabrera that drove in two runs and won the series.
|1||October 17||Toronto Blue Jays – 1, Atlanta Braves – 3||Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium||2:37||51,763|
|2||October 18||Toronto Blue Jays – 5, Atlanta Braves – 4||Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium||3:30||51,763|
|3||October 20||Atlanta Braves – 2, Toronto Blue Jays – 3||SkyDome||2:49||51,813|
|4||October 21||Atlanta Braves – 1, Toronto Blue Jays – 2||SkyDome||2:21||52,090|
|5||October 22||Atlanta Braves – 7, Toronto Blue Jays – 2||SkyDome||3:05||52,268|
|6||October 24||Toronto Blue Jays – 4, Atlanta Braves – 3 (11 innings)||Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium||4:07||51,763|
|WP: Tom Glavine (1–0) LP: Jack Morris (0–1)|
TOR: Joe Carter (1)
ATL: Damon Berryhill (1)
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 the NLCS against Pittsburgh. Entering Game 1, Glavine's career post-season record was 1–5 despite two starts where he had pitched well and only given up one earned run each time. Glavine was 0–2 in those starts. In addition to Glavine's struggles in the postseason, the Braves would be facing their nemesis from the previous postseason.
In the offseason, the Blue Jays signed the MVP of the 1991 World Series, Jack Morris, away from the Minnesota Twins. The Braves were more than familiar with Morris' work, as he had defeated them twice in three starts and only allowed a total of three runs. One of the victories came in the decisive seventh game, where Morris pitched a ten-inning complete game shutout. Morris' fortunes in 1992, however, were quite the opposite. Despite leading the Blue Jays with 21 wins in the regular season, Morris had not performed well in the postseason. He lost one of his two starts in the 1992 American League Championship Series despite throwing a complete game and took a no-decision in the other despite giving up five early runs.
Toronto's other big offensive acquisition had been veteran Dave Winfield, who entered his 20th season in 1992 having yet to win a World Series ring. Winfield, primarily just the team's designated hitter by this point, paid dividends by recording his best batting average and runs batted in numbers in several years and added two home runs in the ALCS. His presence in the lineup was one that manager Cito Gaston wanted to keep, which forced some maneuvering of the lineup for the games to be played in Atlanta under National League rules; Winfield's natural position was right field, which was manned by All-Star Joe Carter during the season. Therefore, for Game 1, Winfield was inserted into Carter's place in the outfield. Carter, in turn, played first base in place of normal starter John Olerud.
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, Morris ran into trouble by walking David Justice and Ron Gant. Damon Berryhill golfed a Morris pitch over the right-field wall for a three-run homer. Morris would finish the inning, but 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. 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. Morris pitched an additional 3+1⁄3 innings in that game, all ten in Game 7, and the first 5+2⁄3 innings of this game to run his scoreless innings streak in the World Series to 19.
|WP: Duane Ward (1–0) LP: Jeff Reardon (0–1) Sv: Tom Henke (1)|
TOR: Ed Sprague (1)
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 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 Cochrane sang 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, strangely, the top two pitchers in the National League in strikeouts for 1992. On August 27, 1992, the Blue Jays traded rookie infielder Jeff Kent and minor league outfield prospect Ryan Thompson to the New York Mets for their ace starting pitcher, David Cone. At the time of the trade, Cone had been leading the National League in strikeouts and was looking to do so for a third consecutive season. Major League Baseball rules dictate that when a player changes leagues during a season, the statistics he earns in each league are kept separate from each other. As such, Cone's total of 214 strikeouts with the Mets was frozen. Smoltz eventually caught and passed Cone toward the end of the season, finishing with a total of 215 strikeouts to lead the league. Cone, meanwhile, settled for the overall major league lead at a career high 261 strikeouts after recording 47 with the Blue Jays.
As far as the postseason had gone to that point, both men's fortunes varied. Smoltz had started three games in the NLCS, winning two and being saved from a loss when the Braves made a two-out rally in the decisive final game; his performance was enough to make him the series MVP. Cone started the second and fifth games of the ALCS, winning his first start by allowing one run over eight innings. His second start saw him give up five runs (three unearned) over four innings, saddling him with the loss.
A controversial call was made by umpire Mike Reilly in the top of the fourth inning with Atlanta leading 1–0 after David Justice walked, stole second, advanced to third, and scored on a wild pitch from Cone in the bottom of the second. Roberto Alomar was at third base with John Olerud batting. On the first pitch of the at-bat, Smoltz threw a breaking ball that skipped past Damon Berryhill. Alomar broke for home plate while Berryhill went to retrieve the ball. As Smoltz moved in to receive the throw he nearly collided with a sliding Alomar, who had reached the plate at exactly the same time that both Smoltz and the ball did. Smoltz tagged Alomar and Reilly called him out on the close play, despite an angry Alomar's protest, and the inning came to an end. Replays shown by CBS showed that Alomar might have touched the plate with his hands before Smoltz was able to apply a tag. The Braves scored again in the bottom of the fourth, when Sid Bream walked and eventually scored on a Mark Lemke two-out single to make the score 2–0.
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 as Deion 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 and moved Pendleton to third. 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. After Alomar doubled to left with one out, Joe Carter and Dave Winfield hit back to back singles, the second of which scored Alomar and cut the lead to 4–3. Smoltz was then lifted in favor of left-handed specialist Mike Stanton, who retired Olerud for the second out.
The Braves then called on their own late season pitching acquisition. Needing to shore up their bullpen, Atlanta sent two minor leaguers to the Boston Red Sox at the August trade deadline to acquire Jeff Reardon, Boston’s closer who earlier in the season had broken Rollie Fingers’ career saves record. In his first appearance in a World Series since 1987, he 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 pinch-hitter Derek Bell (batting for Lee), Toronto reserve infielder Ed Sprague drilled a pitch from Reardon to left for a two-run homer to give the Blue Jays the lead. The play was called by legendary Blue Jays announcer the late Tom 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, came to the plate. 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.
|WP: Duane Ward (2–0) LP: Steve Avery (0–1)|
TOR: Joe Carter (2), Kelly Gruber (1)
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. The two guards received a standing ovation from the Toronto fans.
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. Two of the wins, however, had come in the American League Championship Series as the Blue Jays won Game 2 and the clinching Game 6 against Oakland at home. The starters for this game were Steve Avery for the Braves and Juan Guzman for the Blue Jays. 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. Deion Sanders and Terry Pendleton reached base to start the inning, and with nobody out in the top of the inning David Justice hit a deep fly to center field. Devon White was able to chase down the ball and make a leap to snare it before crashing into the wall.
As White tracked down the ball, the baserunners watched the play develop and after he caught it, Pendleton inadvertently ran past Sanders and by rule was automatically out. While Sanders was still standing between second and third, first baseman John Olerud received the cutoff throw from Roberto Alomar (they had tried to double off Pendleton, who was already out) and relayed it to third baseman Kelly Gruber, who began chasing Sanders back to second. Sanders dove back toward the bag as Gruber lunged at him to try and tag him to complete the triple play. Second base umpire Bob Davidson ruled that Sanders was able to return to the base, but Gruber protested that he had tagged Sanders on his foot before he could slide back in. The television replays backed up Gruber's case, as he appeared to clip Sanders' heel with his glove a split second before Sanders began his slide.
In the bottom half of the fourth 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 hit a ball to third base that Gruber attempted to field, but the ball popped out of his glove and went into left field for an error. 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. Guzman would finish the inning but was in danger of a loss.
With the Blue Jays coming to bat in the bottom half, Gruber received an immediate chance to make up for his gaffe in the field and in doing so, would erase a long hitless streak. After going hitless in the ALCS opener, Gruber had recorded a home run and a double in the second game, both of which led to runs that were necessary to win that game. Those had been the only two hits he had recorded to that point in the postseason, as he failed to record a hit in either the remaining four ALCS games or the first two games in the World Series and was 0-for-1 in this game with a walk in his previous at bat. After going 23 consecutive at-bats without recording a single hit, Gruber worked a full count on Avery and then drilled a home run into left field to tie the game. Gruber would only record one more hit in the series after this.
The top of the ninth inning saw the first World Series ejection since 1985 (when St. Louis Cardinals manager Whitey Herzog and Joaquín Andújar were ejected). Sid Bream led off the inning with a single off of Game 2 winner Duane Ward. As was often the case late in games at this time, Braves manager Bobby Cox elected to pinch run for the slow-footed Bream with Brian Hunter, his backup and a legitimate threat to steal a base (although he only had one steal during the regular season). With Jeff Blauser batting and the count at 2-2, Hunter took off from first. Blauser had thought about swinging, but attempted to stop himself as catcher Pat Borders threw down to second to beat the sliding Hunter to the bag. After he put the tag on Hunter, shortstop Manuel Lee jumped up and told Borders to appeal to first base umpire Dan Morrison, who ruled that Blauser had not checked his swing in time and was also out. Cox, who said he had been frustrated with home plate umpire Joe West's strike calls the entire night, picked up a batting helmet and threw it down with enough force that it bounced out of the Braves' dugout and rolled out onto the field. West, seeing this, immediately ejected Cox from the game immediately after the incident (Cox would later get ejected in the 1996 World Series). Shortly thereafter Ward struck out Damon Berryhill to end the inning.
Avery started the bottom of the ninth for the Braves and gave up a single to Roberto Alomar. Acting manager Jimy Williams (usually the team's third base coach) pulled Avery from the game and brought in hard-throwing Mark Wohlers to face Carter, a right-handed batter. CBS announcer Tim McCarver questioned the strategy, as Alomar was a threat to steal a base and Avery, as a left-handed pitcher, had a quicker pickoff move than the right-handed Wohlers. The Blue Jays took advantage of this as Alomar stole second on a 2-0 pitch. With first base now open and Carter ahead 3–0, Wohlers put him on intentionally to keep a double play possibility alive.
The next batter was Dave Winfield, who had been told by manager Cito Gaston that if Alomar and Carter reached in front of him, he wanted to move them into scoring position. Winfield did as Gaston asked and laid down a sacrifice bunt, which was successful and put the winning run at third base with one out. With the left-handed Olerud due up, Williams took the ball from Wohlers and called in left-handed specialist Mike Stanton. Gaston called Olerud back to the dugout after the change and sent Game 2 hero Ed Sprague, a right-hander, to pinch hit for a better matchup against Stanton.
With Candy Maldonado, a right-handed batter, due up next, Williams ordered Stanton to walk Sprague to load the bases and then lifted him from the game in favor of Game 2 loser Jeff Reardon. Reardon had recorded some success against Maldonado in his career, and looked to do so again with two curveballs for strikes. However, instead of switching pitches, Reardon elected to throw a third curve and Maldonado, who was expecting it, drove a single to deep center to bring in a Tomahawk Chopping Alomar in from third with the winning run. Reardon later explained "People ask, why'd you throw another curve? Well, I threw another curve because he looked sick on the first two." Maldonado, for his part, said "I figured after he made me look so bad the first two that he wasn't going to change, and I guess I guessed right."
Ward, the winner of Game 2, got his second victory of the series. The loss went to Avery as he was responsible for the lead runner (Alomar) on base when the game ended. Reardon would not pitch again in the series after his back to back poor performances, and would not pitch in a postseason game again in his career before his 1994 retirement.
|WP: Jimmy Key (1–0) LP: Tom Glavine (1–1) Sv: Tom Henke (2)|
TOR: Pat Borders (1)
The Braves continued to employ the short rotation they had used during the postseason and sent Tom Glavine, the Game 1 winner, out for his second start of the series, bypassing 15-game-winner Charlie Leibrandt, who had only seen mop-up duty for Atlanta in Games 5 and 6 of the NLCS. For the Blue Jays, veteran Jimmy Key was given the start. Key had been with the Blue Jays since 1984 and was one of several players from their first ever division champion squad that were still with the team. However, he had not performed particularly well during the season and Cito Gaston had not included him in the ALCS rotation; Key only pitched in Toronto's Game 5 loss in relief.
The Braves began the game with a single off the bat of Otis Nixon, who was a threat to steal a base. Although Key managed to pick Nixon off of first, he immediately gave up a single to Jeff Blauser, hitting second in place of the resting Deion Sanders, and allowed him to steal second. Key neutralized the threat by forcing Terry Pendleton to line out and Lonnie Smith to ground out. Over the next six innings, the Braves only recorded one hit (another single by Nixon) and did not advance the runner past first base.
In the third inning, the Blue Jays scored their first run when Pat Borders hit a 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 broke through against Key in the eighth. Ron Gant, starting in place of Sanders, led off with a double. Brian Hunter, starting at first base in place of Sid Bream, followed by beating out a bunt down the third base line to put runners on the corners with nobody out. Key recorded back-to-back outs, retiring Damon Berryhill on a failed sacrifice bunt attempt that didn't advance the runners and getting Mark Lemke to ground out to third. On the Lemke play, Gant scored the Braves' first run of the game and with the tying run now in scoring position as Hunter advanced to second on the groundout, Key was removed from the game. On his way off the field, he tipped his cap to the fans as they gave him a standing ovation.
Duane Ward was brought in for his third consecutive appearance and his first batter was Nixon, who had recorded two of the Braves' hits. Although Ward got Nixon to strike out swinging, the third strike got past Borders and Nixon took off for first base. Nixon then stole second to put the go-ahead runs in scoring position, with Hunter having advanced to third on the wild pitch. Blauser, however, ended the inning by grounding out to Olerud. Tom Henke closed the game for the Blue Jays by retiring Pendleton, Smith, and David Justice in order in the ninth and Toronto found itself a win away from becoming the first world championship team from outside the United States. Tom Glavine would pitch another solid complete game, but his bad luck in the postseason continued and he was charged with a loss--the third time he had lost a post-season game despite turning in a very solid outing, previously losing a 1–0 game to Pittsburgh and a 3–2 game to Minnesota (in which two of the three runs were unearned) along with the 2–1 loss in this game. He would later add another hard-luck World Series loss four years later despite another stellar outing giving up one earned run and four hits in seven innings.
In what proved to be his last start for the Blue Jays after nine years, Key recorded his first victory in the postseason since he won Game 3 of the 1989 ALCS.
|WP: John Smoltz (1–0) LP: Jack Morris (0–2) Sv: Mike Stanton (1)|
ATL: David Justice (1), Lonnie Smith (1)
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 after three previous solid starts all resulted in no decision. 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. The middle of the Braves' lineup, which consisted that evening of Pendleton hitting third, David Justice fourth, and Lonnie Smith fifth, had been struggling with the rest of the team and to that point, none of the batters hitting in those three slots (Pendleton, Justice, Smith, or Sid Bream who had hit fifth in the first two games in Atlanta) had recorded an extra base hit. The Braves took care of that statistic quickly.
Otis Nixon led the game off for the Braves with a ground rule double due to fan interference. After Deion Sanders struck out, Nixon stole third as Pendleton batted. He then scored as Pendleton responded with a double of his own to right field, scoring the first run of the game and giving Justice a chance to drive in a runner in scoring position. Morris settled down, however, and retired Justice on a strikeout and Smith on a flyball to end the inning.
The Blue Jays tied the game in the bottom of the second. With one out, John Olerud singled and Candy Maldonado reached on a walk. Smoltz struck out Kelly Gruber for the second out, but Pat Borders responded with a double. The slow-footed Olerud was sent home on the play and the throw to the plate was wide, which enabled him to score and put Maldonado on third with the lead run. Manuel Lee ended the threat, however, by lining out to Pendleton.
The fourth inning saw the teams exchange runs again. In the visiting half, Justice led off with a home run for a 2–1 lead. Morris quickly retired Smith and Sid Bream, however, and Borders threw Jeff Blauser out stealing to keep the deficit at one. In the bottom half, Olerud and Maldonado reached base in front of Borders with one out, and as he had in the second inning he drove in Olerud with a single. But once again, the Blue Jays could not score the lead run as Lee grounded into a fielder's choice which forced Maldonado out at third and Smoltz struck Devon White out with Borders at second.
Morris started the fifth inning by striking out Damon Berryhill, whose home run in Game 1 saddled him with the loss, and forcing Mark Lemke to ground out. Nixon followed with his second hit of the game, then stole his second base of the game to put himself in scoring position. Sanders followed with a single to score Nixon, bringing Pendleton back to the plate. The third baseman followed with another ground rule double caused by fan interference. This forced Sanders, who had rounded third and was on his way to score the Braves' second run of the inning, to return to third base.
However, the Braves now had two runners in scoring position instead of one and Justice, coming off his home run an inning earlier, was due up. With Toronto now behind by a run at 3-2 and with his ace in trouble, Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston decided to make a strategic play with the struggling Smith on deck. In a move mirroring the one he made in the eighth inning of Game 3, Gaston put Justice on with an intentional walk and decided to take his chances with the Braves' designated hitter.
Smith to this point in the series had only recorded one hit, coming after the aforementioned intentional walk to Justice two nights earlier and resulting in a run. Seeing the same strategic play angered the veteran Smith, who recalled that he felt insulted to be thought of in that way, believing they saw him as "an easy out" and would be able to escape the inning without further damage.
Smith fouled the first pitch off, then took a ball to even the count. Morris got Smith to foul off the next pitch, leaving him one strike away from escaping the jam and leaving the Braves with the bases loaded. Smith, however, was determined to make the Blue Jays pay for disrespecting his ability and after he fouled off two more pitches, he deposited Morris' sixth pitch over the wall and into the Atlanta bullpen. The grand slam home run gave the Braves a five-run lead and Gaston finally removed his starter from the game. David Wells retired Bream to end the inning, with the Blue Jays trailing 7–2.
Smoltz pitched into the seventh inning giving up one hit afterward, a single to Dave Winfield in the bottom of the fifth. After walking Lee to lead off the seventh, he was pulled in favor of Mike Stanton, who got White to ground into a fielder's choice and then induced a double play from Roberto Alomar to end the threat. The Blue Jays only received one more baserunner the rest of the night as Joe Carter singled, stole second, then advanced to third on a sacrifice fly by Ed Sprague in the eighth inning but got nothing additional.
Meanwhile, the Toronto relief corps of Wells, Mike Timlin, and Mark Eichhorn managed to keep the Braves in check from the remainder of the game. Atlanta threatened one more time in the ninth with one out as Lemke, Nixon, and Sanders all reached base, but Todd Stottlemyre induced a fly ball out to Maldonado off the bat of Pendleton and Lemke was thrown out trying to score.
Smoltz took the win, his first ever World Series victory, with Stanton getting the save and Morris taking his second loss. Morris would not pitch another postseason game after this, with Smith being the last batter he would face in the postseason. With Smoltz and Morris earning the decisions, this was, to date, the last World Series game in which both the winning and losing pitcher were later inducted into the Hall of Fame until Game 7 of the 2001 World Series (Randy Johnson and Mariano Rivera were the pitchers of record).
Atlanta's offensive outburst ensured the series would return to the United States for at least one more game and dashed the Blue Jays' hopes of clinching the World Series at home on Canadian soil. The Braves would return home looking to force second straight Game 7 of the World Series, and potentially supplant the 1985 Kansas City Royals as the most recent team to come back from 3-1 down to win the World Series.
Smoltz's win in Game 5 was the first of only two World Series wins he recorded in his Hall of Fame career. After recording three no decisions in as many starts (Games 4 and 7 in 1991 and Game 2 in this series), Smoltz would go another four years before winning another World Series game before winning Game 1 of the 1996 World Series. His overall record in World Series play was 2-2, despite a track record of seven quality starts out of eight. He lost Game 5 in 1996, 1-0 (the one run was unearned) and Game 4 in 1999. Smoltz's only other World Series start was in the 1995 World Series and this was his only poor start in a World Series, but this one also resulted in a no decision in Game 3 after the Braves rallied to force extra innings.
Morris, meanwhile, continued his struggles in the 1992 postseason. In four total appearances, Morris allowed a total of 19 runs and went 0–3 with an ERA above 7.00. In the World Series alone, his ERA was 8.44, over seven points higher than his performance the year before when he recorded a 1.17 ERA. Game 5 would be his last postseason appearance for his career; Morris was injured toward the end of the following season and did not pitch in the postseason. He would retire from baseball in 1995.
Smith's grand slam was the first in a World Series since 1988, when Jose Canseco hit one in the Oakland Athletics' eventual 5–4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Smith became the first player to hit one for the winning team since Kent Hrbek did so in Game 6 of the 1987 World Series for the Minnesota Twins, and was the last for a player on the visiting team until Addison Russell did so in Game 6 of the 2016 World Series for the Chicago Cubs.
|WP: Jimmy Key (2–0) LP: Charlie Leibrandt (0–1) Sv: Mike Timlin (1)|
TOR: Candy Maldonado (1)
The sixth game saw Steve Avery return to the mound for Atlanta in an attempt to make up for his Game 3 loss. Toronto countered with Game 2 starter David Cone, who received a no-decision after Ed Sprague's heroics saved him from a loss.
After playing the middle three games as the Blue Jays' designated hitter, Dave Winfield returned to playing right field as he had done in the first two games in Atlanta. Cito Gaston elected to start Joe Carter at first base again, as he had done in Game 1.
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 Series Deion Sanders doubled off Carter's glove and scored when Terry Pendleton hit a sacrifice fly. Candy Maldonado responded by hitting a home run in the top of the fourth to give Toronto the lead again. The Blue Jays threatened again later in the inning as catcher Pat Borders reached on a double with one out. Three batters later, Borders attempted to score on a single and was thrown out at the plate by Sanders.
The Braves threatened in the bottom of the fifth against Cone, as Mark Lemke walked to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a single by Sanders with two out. However, after Sanders stole second to put the go ahead run in scoring position, Terry Pendleton struck out to end the inning. Neither team saw a runner reach third base in the sixth, seventh, or eighth.
Cone left the game after six innings and gave way to Todd Stottlemyre, who recorded the first two outs of the seventh, and David Wells, who finished the inning. Duane Ward, who had won Games 2 and 3 of the series, shut down the Braves in the eighth. Avery was pulled after the fourth inning, but Pete Smith, Mike Stanton and Mark Wohlers combined for five scoreless innings and kept the score at 2-1 entering the home half of the ninth inning.
With the Blue Jays three outs away from baseball history, Gaston again turned to his closer Tom Henke. He and his fellow relievers had not given up an earned run in the previous 77 postseason innings to this point, and the Blue Jays had also not blown any of their save opportunities in the ALCS or World Series. Jeff Blauser led off the inning with a single and with Damon Berryhill batting next, Braves manager Bobby Cox called for a sacrifice bunt. Berryhill, who had not been called on to sacrifice to advance a runner in either the regular season or the NLCS and also had a failed bunt attempt in a crucial point in game 4, did as he was asked and successfully Blauser moved into scoring position with one out. Cox then called Lemke back to the dugout and sent up Lonnie Smith, whose home run in Game 5 clinched the victory and gave Atlanta the opportunity to play Game 6, to pinch hit. Smith got behind 0-2 but battled back to work the count full and drew a walk on the eighth pitch of the at bat.
With his World Series hero now carrying the game winning run, Cox decided to call on the man whose single in Game 7 of the NLCS got the Braves into the Series and sent Francisco Cabrera to bat for the pitcher Wohlers. Once again, Henke was drawn into an eight pitch at bat, but he managed to record the second out when Cabrera lined out to left. Maldonado, however, had to leap at the last second to catch the ball as he initially lost sight of it.
Otis Nixon stood in against Henke next with his team down to its final out. After quickly picking up two strikes, Nixon slapped a single to left field. Blauser rounded third as Maldonado came up throwing, and he scored standing up as the throw sailed past Borders and into the protective netting behind home plate. With the save now blown, the scoreless innings streak over, and Smith, the winning run, advancing to third on the wild throw, Henke faced off with Ron Gant and retired him on a fly ball to end the inning. For the second consecutive year, Game 6 of the World Series was headed to extra innings.
Atlanta called on Charlie Leibrandt to make his first series appearance in the top of the tenth with Maldonado, Kelly Gruber, and Borders due to bat. He was able to retire Maldonado, and after giving up a single to Gruber (his first hit since his Game 3 homer) Leibrandt got Borders to fly out. Pat Tabler, hitting for the light-hitting Manuel Lee, then lined out to the mound to retire the side.
Henke started the bottom of the tenth by getting Pendleton to ground out. With two lefties coming up next, Gaston brought Game 4 winner Jimmy Key in on short rest to face Justice and Sid Bream. He responded by inducing two groundouts of his own to keep the game even.
Leibrandt started the visiting 11th by retiring Key on a foul pop. He followed that by hitting lead-off man Devon White with a pitch on a 1-2 count, and then allowed a single to Roberto Alomar to advance White to second. On the CBS television broadcast, analyst Tim McCarver theorized that with right-handed batters Carter and Winfield coming to the plate, Cox would bring in Jeff Reardon to pitch. Although Reardon was warming in the bullpen and had been ready for some time, he also had not pitched after his back-to-back bad outings in Games 2 and 3 (taking the loss and a blown save in game 2) where he allowed the winning runs to score. Perhaps having that in mind, Cox stuck with the veteran Leibrandt and he rewarded his manager by recording the second out as Carter flied to center.
This brought a struggling Dave Winfield to the plate. Winfield, to this point in the series, was hitting below .250 and was hitless in his four previous at-bats in the game. He had also struggled in his only other appearance in the World Series (he had hit just .045), when he was a member of the 1981 New York Yankees team that lost that year's World Series. But he had had success against Leibrandt previously, with a lifetime average against him of .302 including four home runs. Additionally, Winfield was known to feast on off-speed pitches like changeups, which were also Leibrandt's strength, while Reardon in the bullpen was more of a fastball pitcher, making Cox's move more questionable in sticking with Leibrandt. He was worked to a full count by the 41-year-old veteran outfielder, and on the sixth pitch of the at-bat Winfield connected on a line drive down the left field line. White scored from second and after the ball took a bad hop off the left field corner and skipped away from Gant, Alomar scored without a play. Winfield's hit was his first career World Series extra-base hit, and at 41 he was the oldest player in baseball history to record one in the World Series. Leibrandt managed to retire Maldonado to end the inning, but as he had done in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series, he gave up a run-scoring extra base hit to give the opposing team the lead; in that game, he allowed a walk-off home run by Kirby Puckett which forced Game 7. It was also the last time Leibrandt pitched for the Braves; he would retire after spending 1993 with the Texas Rangers.
With a two-run lead, Gaston sent Key out for the last half of the inning to try and pick up his second win of the series. Blauser, as he had done in the ninth inning, led off with a single. On the very next pitch, Berryhill hit a ground ball to short that appeared to be an easy double play ball. However, the ball took a strange hop at the last moment and handcuffed veteran shortstop Alfredo Griffin, who had entered the game in the tenth as a replacement for Lee and was normally a sure-handed fielder. Blauser advanced to third on the error, and Cox sent pitcher John Smoltz in to run for the slow-footed Berryhill. Light-hitting Rafael Belliard, who had taken Lemke's place in the field and in the lineup, stepped in to take his first at bat and Cox called for a sacrifice to move Smoltz into scoring position. With one out and the tying runs now both in scoring position, Brian Hunter was called on to pinch hit for Leibrandt. Key forced him to ground out to Carter at first, and while Blauser scored, the Braves were in the same position they were in two innings earlier: tying run on base, two outs, and Otis Nixon batting.
As Nixon was announced, Gaston made his way to the mound to discuss strategy with his infielders. As the Blue Jays knew, Nixon was one of the fastest players in the game; he was one of two players, Sanders being the other, to record five stolen bases in the series. As many speedy players are known to do, Nixon would lay down bunts from time to time and try to beat them out for base hits. Although doing so resulted in a relatively simple putout if not done properly, and despite the Braves being down to their last out, the Blue Jays still needed to consider the possibility of Nixon bunting. With this in mind, Gaston signaled to the Toronto bullpen to bring in Mike Timlin for his second appearance in the series. This move confused McCarver and his broadcast partner Sean McDonough, who believed Key was staying in the game. Nixon, in addition to all of the aforementioned attributes, was a switch hitter who had better statistics as a right-handed batter. (For the season he had batted .343 right-handed and .263 left-handed.) Since Timlin was a right-handed pitcher, Nixon would be hitting from his weaker side. But at the same time, the left-handed batter's box is located closer to the first base line than the right-handed box, which would give Nixon a faster jump toward first if he bunted.
As the conference ended, Carter said to Timlin to be aware that the bunt was a possibility and "be careful". After fouling off the first pitch, Nixon did indeed lay down a bunt. Having listened to Carter, Timlin was able to field the ball quickly and throw to Carter at first in time to clinch the series for the Blue Jays. In the ensuing celebration Carter was trying to hold onto the ball. Timlin stopped him as he was celebrating and asked for the ball, as even though Carter had recorded the last out Timlin had gotten the save, and said to him "gimme the ball, that's my save, that's my World Series save". With mock anger of resignation, Carter slammed the ball into Timlin's mitt but then hugged him joyfully. The next year Carter managed to keep the ball from the last at-bat of the World Series, as he would be the final batter and won the Series with a home run.
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. The last World Series not to be presided over by a Commissioner until this year had taken place in 1919; Selig officially became Commissioner of Baseball in 1998.
|Toronto Blue Jays||1||1||1||4||2||0||1||2||3||0||2||17||45||4|
|Total attendance: 311,460 Average attendance: 51,910|
Winning player's share: $144,962 Losing player's share: $84,259
This World Series is notable for being one of the few six-game series in which the winning team was outscored. It happened previously in 1918, 1959, and 1977; later in 1996 and 2003. Seven-game winners were outscored in 1957, 1960, 1962, 1964, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1991, 1997, and 2002; (equaled in 2016 and 2017).
At 30 years of age, CBS' Sean McDonough became the youngest man to call all nine innings and games of a World Series (while serving as a full network television employee). Although Vin Scully and Al Michaels were several years younger when they called their first World Series (1955 and 1972 respectively), they were products of the then broadcasting policy of announcers representing the participating teams (a process that ended following the 1976 World Series). McDonough's record would subsequently be broken by Fox's Joe Buck, who at 27 years of age, called the 1996 World Series. Coincidentally, it was Joe Buck's father, Jack, that McDonough had replaced as CBS's lead play-by-play man. Serving as field reporters for CBS's coverage were Jim Kaat (in the Braves' dugout) and Lesley Visser (in the Blue Jays' dugout). The Series drew an overall Nielsen rating of 20.2, down from the previous year's 24.0 but higher than that of any subsequent World Series.
CBS Radio also broadcast the Series nationally, with Vin Scully and Johnny Bench announcing. Locally, the Series was called on WGST-AM in Atlanta by Skip Caray, Pete Van Wieren, Ernie Johnson, Joe Simpson, and Don Sutton, and on CJCL-AM in Toronto by Jerry Howarth and Tom Cheek.
- 1992 Japan Series
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- Major League Baseball Presents: 1992 World Series. Dir. Mike Kostel, Rich Domich. Perf. Len Carlou, Tim McCarver, Sean McDonough. Videocasette, DVD. Major League Baseball Productions, QVideo, 1992, 2002.
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- 1992 World Series, Game 6: Blue Jays @ Braves on YouTube