Blue Jays Rogers Centre- Credit: DaveMe Images

Blue Jays Bedtime Story: Blue Jays & Phillies, 1993 Style

With a BIG series against the Phillies, JFtC touches them all to reflet back on a 1993 series between Philly and Toronto that had HUGE playoff payoffs.


Featured Images Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase

 


With the Blue Jays traveling to Philadelphia for a battle of Wild Card probables, you can’t blame Jays fans for flashing back  nearly 30 years to a championship moment. Maybe they hear echoes of Tom Cheek exhorting “Touch ’em all Joe!” Perhaps the visions of an aging Hall of Famer coming through in every critical at bat dance in their heads. The stout among us may cheer for a taste of a Pat’s and Geno’s Cheesesteak Series. I will argue this series between Toronto and Philadelphia has as much at stake for both sides as the 1993 World Series.

 

Ok-that might be a tad melodramatic. But both teams came in needing to win this series – a sweep will all but cement their footprints on the 2022 MLB Playoffs field. Let’s not discuss scenarios that may cause sleepless nights ahead. Let us tell stories of the 1993 World Championship that will allow Blue Jays fans to dream sweet.

 

The 1993 Blue Jays-Phillies World Series was noteworthy for several reasons:

  • The 1993 World Series was only the second Fall Classic to be decided by a home run in the last at bat
  • It was the fourth World Series to be payed entirely on artificial turf.
  • Blue Jays twice put double digit run totals on the scoreboard and their 45 runs scored were most scored by a series winning side. The 1960 Yankees found a way to lose their series against the Pirates despite scoring a record 55 runs (compared to the 27 runs scored by Pittsburgh).
  • The 1993 World Series was one of the rare contests that faced multiple credible death threats being called in to a stadium before games. Mitch Williams was the target and was not told of threats until after the series.
  • MLB’s leading hitter John Olerud was benched when the series moved to Veteran’s Stadium for 3 games in spite of his .363 batting average.

 

GAME 1 PHILADELPHIA 5 TORONTO 8 

Staff Aces Curt Schilling and Juan Guzman took the mound in the Series opener. The phrase “pitchers duel” did not appear in any of the game stories.

Guzman had trouble throwing strikes after the first pitch of the game, walking four and allowing Mariano Duncan to score on a wild pitch. Schilling didn’t fare much better and the game went back and forth until John Olerud homered in the bottom of the 6th to put Blue Jays up to stay. Padding their lead with a 3 spot in the 7th, the Jays survived a 9th inning rally against closer Duane Ward to take a 1-0 series lead.

 

GAME 2 PHILADELPHIA 6 TORONTO 4

The Phillies ambushed Blue Jays starter Dave Stewart in the 3rd inning, scoring 5 of their 6 runs. Two walks set the table for RBI singles by John Kruk and Dave Hollins and the ageless Jim Eisenreich launched a 3-run homer to deep right center to seal matters early. Joe Carter did slug a 2-run shot in the bottom of the 4th but that was bulk of Jays offense until Mitch Williams came on in the bottom of the 8th. Wild Thing gave up a leadoff double to Paul Molitor, allowed him to steal third, and watched him score on a sac fly by Olerud. Williams settled down in the ninth and the series was tied 1-1 as teams headed to Philly.

 

GAME 3 TORONTO 10 PHILADELPHIA 3

Jays manger had a major decision to make as games resumed at Veterans Stadium. No DH meant Joe Carter, Paul Molitor or John Olerud would need to start the game on the bench. Gaston chose to start Carter in right, Molitor at first, and Olerud sat. Eyebrows were raised when the MLB batting leader and best defensive first baseman in the game watched on from the bench. Turned out no one really noticed on the field.

 

Toronto scored two runs before the Phillies starter recorded an out and scored 3 runs in 1st, 1 in the 3rd and 6th, a trio in the 7th and 2 more in the 8th. Pat Hentgen cruised through his outing to put Jays up 2-1 in series.

 

GAME 4 TORONTO 15 PHILADELPHIA 14

In my 55 years as an ordained baseball fanatic, this was the worst World Series game I have ever watched. Weather played a factor as heavy rains during the day in Philadelphia turned the artificial surface into a Jersey Shore tidal pool. Blue Jays scored 3 runs in the top of 1st off Phillies starter Tommy Greene before Jays starter Todd Stottlemyre coughed up 4 runs in the bottom half. Sloppy play and professional hitting displays had score knotted at 7 after four innings. Then the Phillies exploded for 6 runs in the top of 5th to make it 12-7 and built upon that lead in 7th: 14-9. Molitor and Tony Fernandez had RBI hits in the 8th and after bases were walked loaded, Devon White sliced a bases-clearing triple to put Toronto in front 15-14. Lost in the scoring barrage was a terrific night from Phillies CF Len Dykstra, who hit 2 homers and scored after a leadoff double.

 

GAME 5 PHILADELPHIA 2 TORONTO 0

Curt Schilling demonstrated again in Game 5 why he is considered one of the greatest big-game performers in World Series history. Blue Jays bats had no answers for his dominance, scratching out 5 hits (2 by Pat Borders). Schilling went the distance and simply was the difference. Guzman limited the Phillies to 5 hits but was the hard-luck loser.

Which brings us to….

 

GAME 6 TORONTO 8 PHILADELPHIA 6

While Blue Jays fans filled the Sky Dome with chants of “MVP” for Paul Molitor, the future Hall of Famer made his case for the honor with a homer in the 5th. Even when the Phillies scored or made the big pitch, Jays fans had to acknowledge they were watching a classic World Series contest.

 

The iconic moment was (of course) Carter sending 2-2 pitch down the line and over the wall off of the Wild Thing. Had this game been played in Philly, the death threats being made by the rogue element of the Phillies fan base may have come to fruition. Williams had changed his delivery to incorporate a slide step to better control the Toronto run game-in particular Rickey Henderson. Not only was this first time Williams had ever used a slide step – it significantly affected his velocity. Carter timed the 2-2 offering and walked his team off to a second consecutive World Championship. It also showed the baseball world what a terrific announcer Tom Cheeks was. “Touch ’em all Joe. You’ll never hit a bigger home run in your life!” As iconic and as close to perfection in the moment as anything Vin Scully, Curt Gowdy or Joe Buck had ever uttered.

 

Analyst Tim McCarver had commented before the at bat that Carter had looked uncomfortable at the plate all series. Many fans have wanted to shut McCarver up- no one did it better than Joe. Ironically, Carter hit .280 with 2 clutch home runs and 8 RBIs. So I guess those numbers paled in comparison to eventual MVP Paul Molitor

 

ABOUT THAT MVP AWARD

Paul Molitor proved to be everything GM Pat Gillick had hoped he would be on the field and in the locker room. Molitor went 11 for 24 with 2 HR and 7 RBI-one RBI less than Carter. The walk off home run in and of itself should have guaranteed the Jays outfielder the Series MVP. The fans chants may have influenced the voters. But it may have been a case of Molitor’s Golden Boy image and unshakeable determination that garnered him the award. Gaston thought so highly of Molitor that he did not hesitate to put the .363 average and superior defense on the bench when Blue Jays lost the DH spot for games in Philadelphia.

 

Roberto Alomar had himself a Series worth MVP consideration, going 12 for 25 with 6 RBI and 4 steals while being Roberto Alomar in the field. The Phillies Len Dykstra could have argued his case with his 4 dingers and 4 stolen bases. In my heart the MVP was Joe Carter.

 

THE Goat

Not Greatest OAll Time. Besides didn’t Rickey Henderson have the rights to that? The GOAT of the series has been looked upon as Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams. To his credit, Williams himself took the goat label by the horns and placed the blame for the World Series loss on his head.

 

But I will argue that Phillies manager (and future Jays skipper) Jim Fregosi was the goat of the 1993 Series. Yes Williams had walked the 9th inning tightrope without a net throughout a magical season at The Vet. But his performance and unreliability had been exposed  by a powerful Blue Jays lineup. For the Series Williams sported a gaudy 20.25 ERA with an unfathomable 3.35 WHIP to explain the ERA. Veteran relievers Bobby Thigpen and Roger Mason had combined for 10 innings of 1 run relief pitching. While Mason pitched 2.1 innings in relief of Terry Mulholland earlier in Game 6, could he not have been held in reserve to pitch the 9th? Thigpen held the MLB record for saves in a season at that time and had a 1.17 ERA. Fregosi’s loyalty and stubbornness cost the Phillies any change they had to upset Toronto in 1993.

 

Maybe that explains why Gord Ash named Fregosi as replacement for Tim Johnson in 1999. He felt he owed him one for delivering the Blue Jays the Commissioner Trophy.

 

 

 


Featured Images Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase

*****
HEAD ON OVER TO THE JAYS FROM THE COUCH VS ALS STORE AND GET SOME GREAT SWAG THAT YOU WILL LOOK GREAT IN AND YOU CAN FEEL GREAT ABOUT.
YOU CAN ALSO HEAD TO OUR JAYS FROM THE COUCH VS ALS FUNDRAISING PAGE TO MAKE A TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION DIRECTLY TO ALS CANADA.
*****

THANK YOU FOR VISITING JAYS FROM THE COUCH! CHECK US OUT ON TWITTER @JAYSFROMCOUCH AND LIKE US FACEBOOK. BE SURE TO CATCH THE LATEST FROM JAYS FROM THE COUCH RADIO

 

 

 

 

Related Posts