In the fall of 1992, the Toronto Blue Jays reached the World Series for the first time in franchise history. Their opponents, the Atlanta Braves, had lost the World Series in seven games last October. A year later, they had reason to believe that the outcome would be different. With the future Hall of Famers John Smoltz and Tom Glavine leading the way, Atlanta had the best pitching team in baseball.
This week, when Sportsnet airs the 1992 World Series again, we will bring up a number of articles that were first published in 2017. Each piece corresponds to one of the six games between the Braves and Blue Jays, highlighting remarkable accomplishments and storylines from the time.
Game 3 final result: Blue Jays 3, Braves 2
Blue Jays lead series 2-1
The 51,813 fans who packed SkyDome for the first World Series game The United States has ever had an especially memorable game that may have included the most famous defensive game in franchise history and ended with a walk-off win.
First: the catch. Devon White ran back to the midfield wall and robbed David Justice of additional bases with a catch so spectacular that he caught the two Braves base runners off guard. Terry Pendleton was called for overtaking by Deion Sanders, which meant the Blue Jays had a chance of triple play. Kelly Gruber dived for Sanders and marked his heel when he came back in second place, but referee Bob Davidson called him safe. Regardless, it was the characteristic defensive game of a talented midfielder.
Thanks to White's catch, Juan Guzman escaped the fourth unscathed, and Joe Carter landed in the inning to give the Blue Jays the lead. But the Braves tied the points in the sixth and took the lead in an inexperienced run in the eighth with the help of a Gruber mistake. At the end of the inning, Gruber made up for that. He led the eighth with a solo home run to tie up the game and reach a dramatic end.
To finish ninth, Roberto Alomar prevailed over Steve Avery, who was otherwise impressive in Game 3. Three pitching changes later, Alomar scored a hit on a Candy Maldonado single, and all of these Blue Jays fans left SkyDome with their team at the top of series 2-1.
How it looked on television in Toronto in 1992
City Toronto's report after the game of October 20, 1992:
City Toronto's report on Buffalo's sports loyalty:
City Toronto's report on the economic impact of the World Series:
Conventional but then controversial leadership change:
Where should I start? After more than 25 years, this game offers all kinds of second guessing options. It was a different era, of course, and we shouldn't expect the Blue Jays and Braves to do more by today's standards than we would expect the 1927 Yankees to beat Babe Ruth in second place, but it's fun, to contrast the playing styles.
Let's jump to ninth place because this inning was managed completely differently than it is today. Here is an incomplete list of the more notable decisions made by Jimy Williams (who headed Bobby Cox instead of ejected) and Cito Gaston:
• The Braves allowed Steve Avery to start the ninth inning of a tie game despite having already thrown 113 pitches and now facing the Blue Jays' fourth order of play.
• In 1992 Dave Winfield was a 41-year-old cleanup hitter bound to the Hall of Fame with 432 home runs. He had a victim last year. And yet he did not put down a sack of color with anyone and two (to his honor it was a pretty good one). Even the Braves were surprised; Brian Hunter played deep in first base – not the ideal position to start a colorful attempt.
• When the Braves brought in left Mike Stanton to face left-handed John Olerud, Gaston went to his bench and replaced Olerud with the hero of the previous game, Ed Sprague. The right-handed Sprague would have the advantage over Stanton, but his life had faded compared to Olerud's. Sprague had a lifetime OPS of 0.725, while Olerud had a lifetime 0.804 mark. Even against lefties, Olerud had a base percentage of 0.393, but it would be Sprague who stepped on the plate.
• But the Braves preferred to see Jeff Reardon versus Candy Maldonado and went to Sprague, whose run was irrelevant to load the bases and set up a possible double game. On paper, this was a step that made sense – Reardon had whistled Maldonado seven times over the years, including three out of four in bats at the start of the 1992 season – but he failed when Maldonado Reardon went for the walk-off Victory.
Headline of Toronto Star Game 3 from 1992:
Game 3 Boxscore (via Baseball Almanac)
Game 1: October 17
Game 2: October 18