|Courtesy of Sportsnet|
Sometimes, it’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since the Toronto Blue Jays won their very first World Series title. Other times, it seems just yesterday when the Blue Jays unveiled that infamous “1992 World Series Champions” banner at the Skydome.
Regardless, it’s been great to reminisce as Sportsnet just finished airing the 1992 World Series in its entirety. It really gives one a new appreciation for what that 1992 team had to overcome to become World Champions.
Baseball is a game of numbers, and there is no more crucial time when they come into play than the Fall Classic. So here is a collection of some of the interesting numbers from the 1992 World Series.
|Number of games in which the Blue Jays were trailing in the eighth inning only to come back and win
Up until 1992, no team had ever posted consecutive wins in the World Series when trailing after seven innings.
The late comebacks in Game 2 and 3 were completely unprecedented and helped set the stage as the series shifted back to Toronto for Games 4 and 5.
|Number of one-run games in the series
Incredibly, all four wins by the Blue Jays came by the narrowest of margins, and that’s just by one single run. Since the margin for error was so incredibly thin during the 1992 World Series, one bad hop here or there perhaps changes the entire dynamic of the series.
If Candy Maldonado strikes out on the down and away pitch in the bottom of the 9th in Game 3, or if Kelly Gruber doesn’t make a barehanded catch in Game 4, perhaps the series looks completely different.
|Number of hits by Pat Borders
Although he didn’t have the best series defensively, Borders was undoubtedly the best offensive performer for the Blue Jays in the World Series with nine hits.
And he may have been on the losing end, but Deion Sanders nearly had just as good a series as Pat Borders did. Sanders collected eight hits in only 15 at bats, posting a .553 batting average in the 1992 World Series.
|Number of positions played by Joe Carter
In order to get Joe Carter’s bat into the lineup as much as possible, Cito Gaston had to do some creative lineup construction to keep Carter on the lineup card.
Joe started at three different positions during the first three games; first base, left field and right field respectively. Joe Carter was also just one of three players in World Series history to start at three different positions.
|Age of Dave Winfield
Today, it might seem crazy to have a 41 year old position player in the World Series, but the Toronto Blue Jays did precisely that. Winfield was accustomed to being the full-time DH for the Blue Jays, but the National League rules games in Atlanta forced Cito Gaston to pencil Winfield in as the starting right fielder.
Considering his age, Winfield did an adequate job playing three games in right at Fulton County Stadium.
Dave Winfield also finally got the extra base hit monkey of his bat in his final at bat of the 1992 World Series, and it could not have come at a better time. Winfield was responsible for driving in the game-winning run in Game 6, which would ultimately clinch the World Series for the Blue Jays.
Up until that at bat in the top of the 11th of Game 6, Dave Winfield did not have a single extra base hit in 43 at bats in the World Series. He changed all of that with one swing of the bat, and in doing so Winfield also became the third oldest player to hit an extra base hit in the World Series.
|Number of bunt attempts in the series
Game 6 of the World Series featured 5 bunt attempts alone, and of course the bunt by Otis Nixon was the final play of the World Series.
The 1992 Fall Classic wasn’t particularly known for its use of the small ball per se, but the bunt play was instrumental in Game 4 as Dave Winfield laid down a sacrifice to move Roberto Alomar to third base, who would eventually score the game-winning run.
|Win Probability Added by Ed Sprague’s pinch hit home run
Among at bats in the World Series, it ranks as the fifth highest when it comes to win probability added (hat tip to @James_in_TO for that one).
Simply put, the importance of Ed Sprague’s home run off Jeff Reardon can’t be overstated. Without his go-ahead home run, the Blue Jays would have headed back to Toronto down 2-0. It truly was the turning point of the World Series.
|ERA of Jeff Reardon
Reardon was acquired at the trade deadline by the Braves to bolster the back end of their bullpen. Jeff Reardon posted three scoreless innings in the NLCS versus the Pittsburgh Pirates, but the World Series was a different story.
Reardon gave up the go-ahead home run in Game 2 and the game-winning hit in Game 3. That was the last time Bobby Cox went to his closer Jeff Reardon, and subsequently the last time Reardon would ever pitch in the playoffs.
|ERA of Tom Glavine in the World Series
Although he only had one win in two starts through the 1992 World Series, Tom Glavine was perhaps the best starting pitcher on both sides, throwing two complete games in his starts during the Fall Classic.
Glavine took the mound in Game 1 and 4 of the series and would have certainly got the ball in the seventh and deciding game of the series. Luckily for the Blue Jays, it never went that far.
|Batting average of David Cone
Coming from a National League background, David Cone was no stranger to coming to the plate as a pitcher. Cone went 2 for 2 in Game 2, cashing in a run for the Blue Jays, and also drew a walk in Game 6.
Although he only had four at bats total in the World Series, David Cone still collected just as many hits as both Kelly Gruber and Manuel Lee: two. As a comparison, Gruber and Lee made it to the plate 19 times.
|Number of injuries sustained by Kelly Gruber
Many people remember that Kelly Gruber played a crucial part in the infamous phantom triple play from the 1992 World Series. But what many people might not know is Gruber tore his rotator cuff trying to apply the tag on the heel of Deion Sanders.
Gruber was actually quite banged up in the series, as he also scraped his chin at home plate scoring the game-winning run in Game 4 of the series. It was later revealed that Kelly got the wind knocked out of him, as he laid on the turf temporarily after crossing home plate.
Following the game, Kelly Gruber was tested for a concussion and even admitted he didn’t even remember the play. Gruber had to watch the replay following the game to fill in the blanks.
|Number of Braves runs versus Blue Jays runs
The 1992 World Series featured a very rare instance in which the losing team actually outscored the winning team in the series. Runs were at a premium during the 1992 Fall Classic, as both teams averaged just over six runs combined per game.
In stark contrast, the 1993 World Series was the complete opposite as the Blue Jays and Phillies combined to create the second highest scoring World Series ever.
|Number of earned runs surrendered by the Blue Jays bullpen
The bullpen is perhaps the most unheralded part of the 1992 World Champion Toronto Blue Jays. While it didn’t necessarily comprise of a heavy workload versus the Braves, they still held their own against the opposition.
The sole left-hander in David Wells along with the brigade of righties comprised of Mike Timlin, Todd Stottlemyre, Mark Eichhorn, Duane Ward, Tom Henke (and even Jimmy Key for a few innings) combined to throw 15.1 innings of relief while giving up just one earned run.
That one run did not cross the plate until the ninth inning of Game 6, when Tom Henke was just one strike away from securing the World Series title. Instead, Otis Nixon came through with a game-tying single and sent the game into extra innings.
However, it was the bullpen that shut the door once again as Jimmy Key was the winning pitcher in Game 6 and Mike Timlin was awarded the save in the final game of the 1992 World Series.