Saturday, January 5, 2013

Reliving the '92 World Series

First post of 2013....WOOT! WOOT!

Over the holidays the broadcaster of the Blue Jays replayed the 1992 World Series in it's entirety.  No fast forwarding innings or anything lame like that.  Just the straight goods, games one through six. I have to say it was really interesting to watch & to compare what actually happened to what my memory & perception had been all these years. 

Pat Borders is fondly remembered by Blue Jays fans everywhere.  He's put on somewhat of a pedestal despite his pedestrian .255/.288/.375 career line.  Of course, one great week of baseball in the Post Season will do that.  In a World Series where pitching dominated, Pat Borders really did pick a great time to get hot.

Kelly Gruber is also beloved.  I was never a big fan myself, but Gruber is still wildly popular in Toronto.  He was terrible in the 92's World Series.  Like abject...just really, really awful (he & Manuel Lee both).  Kelly Gruber was only 30 years old in 1992 but amazingly his career was effectively over.  He would have a scant 70 plate appearances with the Angels in 1993 & then...that was it. 

Before Tom Henke was The Terminator (T2?), Jeff Reardon was The Terminator (T1?).  I don't know if Reardon was the first terminator...but I'm certain he preceeded Henke for that moniker.  Reardon surrendered the Epic Game 2 home run to pitch hitter Ed Sprague in the ninth inning, costing Atlanta the game.  In Game 3, Reardon was inserted into an incredibly difficult situation, coming in with the bases loaded.  He gave up a hit to Candy Maldonado & Toronto once again won late.

Knowing the struggles that Reardon would face in his personal life, post-retirement...I really felt badly for him in this series.  

 Mark Lemke.  The David Eckstein of the 90's?  Fair or too reductive to say that?

Otis Nixon was a FORCE in the World Series & had a great post-season all-round.  I'm happy to have found a card of his showing him bunting...because of course that's how the Series ended.  An Otis Nixon bunt, fielded by Mike Timlin, who tossed the ball to Joe Carter.  But like I was saying, Nixon was really good.  Swiped five bases & was a terror at the dish & in centerfield.  Looking back at his career stats, he was even better than I remembered.

Jimmy Key was one of my absolute favourite Jays when I was a kid.  He, along with Dave Stieb were the cornerstones of those Blue Jays rotations in the 80's & early nineties.  I used to (embarassingly) try to mimic his delivery & pick-off the time.  And of course, he was  brilliant against the Braves.  He pitched 7 2/3 innings in Game 4, allowing one run & left to a massive thinking they'd seen Key for the final time as a Blue Jay.  As it turned out, Key would return in the 10th & 11th innings of the decisive Game 6 - earning another 'W'.  Key would emerge the next year with the hated Yankees & continue his excellent, yet curiously under appreciated career.

The 92' World Series was also the last time Jays fans would see Tom Henke pitch for the team.  Tom would leave Game 6 having blown the save opportunity....but it's ok Tom.  It all worked out for the best in the end.  I was happy that Key & Henke contributed to the team's ultimate success.  They'd been integral members for so many years & that they got to leave as Champs, was tremendous.

As great as it was for Key & Henke, I was a little saddened when the camera would catch Dave Stieb in the dugout.  Stieb was in uniform but couldn't take part due to injury. 

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Braves stellar starting pitching.  Glavine, Smoltz & Avery each started two games & for the most part were great....which of course isn't surprising.  It was fun to see them at the height of their excellence.  Back then, I would have given another kid a DDT to get my hands on the 89' Topps Steve Avery rookie card.

Other things:

-Deion Sanders was every bit as annoying as I'd recalled.
-Tim McCarver was every bit as annoying as he is today.  
-Sid Bream's moustache was every bit as powerful as I'd recalled.
-The Flag Flap.  Still amazing that the U.S. Marines managed to display the Canadian flag upside down.  I guess accidents happen?
-Cito Gaston really did make some curious decisions. Jimmy Key hitting for himself in the 10th inning of Game 6?  With John Olerud & others available on the bench? Yikes.
-David Wells & Todd Stottlemyre were always warming up in the bullpen.  There was never not a moment when they weren't warming up.
-Charlie Leibrant was always warming up in the bullpen.  There was never not a moment where he wasn't warming up. 
-David Justice had a pretty awful World Series.  Apparently he & Sanders were at odds throughout the Series after Sanders had sprayed Justice's fiancee (Halle Berry!) with champagne after the NLCS.
-The Tomahawk Chop.  Ugh. 

Hopefully next Christmas we'll see the '93 Series replayed in it's entirety.
Hopefully after this year, we won't need to go back 20 freaking years to experience Championship Glory!


Roy-Z said...

Tomahawk Chop = Ugh.

Kelly Gruber Tomahawk Chop = Swoon.

Dennis said...

No doubt Gruber & Alomar still draw the ire of Braves fans for their mocking chops.

Duane said...

I would love to be able to watch the 92 and 93 WS again.... that would be awesome...of course down here in the states we aren't even allowed to acknowledge the 92 and 93 WS even happened...well other than Joe touching them all....
The only downside I can recall from those 2 years is that after all the years of carrying the team Stieb wasnt able to play in a WS.