29 Years Ago Today
I remember the moment. I remember thinking, win or lose, we would be ok. The Blue Jays had Pat Hentgen ready to be our starter in game 7, and he had a great start in game 3. But I’m happy with the way it ended. No matter how many times I’ve watched this, I’m still amazed that Joe Carter was able to hit that pitch out.
A few years ago, I interviewed Hentgen, and I was able to ask him something I had always wondered about:
I remember thinking when Joe Carter came to bat in game 6 “oh well, even if we don’t win, you would be pitching the next day” all would be good. Do you ever think about that you could have been pitching game 7?
Oh, of course. That whole day is like, I was charting the game, and I could tell you those numbers were starting to get a little scribbly towards the end there. We were down by 2 going into the 9th. You know Joe pulls those balls all year long and pulls them foul. So when he hit that ball, I was in the corner of the dugout. I’ll never forget it. I had my back to left field. I had my back to the foul pole. When he hit it, I remember just thinking, ‘Stay fair, stay fair’, because I felt it was hard enough hit to go out. And it just stayed fair that day for whatever reason.
But yeah, I thought about how it would have went down. And how you play 174 games or whatever, and it comes down to one game. It would have been pretty exciting, I’ll tell you. I know one thing in those situations, managers never let the starting pitcher get in any trouble. The minute I would have had some trouble going, we’d have had Harry Wholestaff in there. Every guy would have been available.
Fortunately, we didn’t need the game.
Game 6 got off to a great start. We scored 3 in the first inning:
- Devon White took a 1-out walk and scored on Paul Molitor’s triple.
- Molitor scored on a sac fly from Carter.
- John Olerud doubled and scored on Roberto Alomar’s single.
The Phillies got one in the fourth inning, but we got it back in the bottom of the inning. Alomar led off with a double, went to third on Tony Fernandez’s ground out, and scored on an Ed Sprague sac fly.
We’d score again in the fifth on a Molitor solo homer.
Unfortunately, we had a very rough 7th inning. Starter Dave Stewart gave up a walk, a single, then a 3-run homer to Lenny Dykstra. Stewart threw 120 pitches. Cito was a slow hook in his first go-around with the Jays.
Danny Cox came in. He wasn’t good. He gave up 3 hits, 1 walk and 2 runs, while getting just 1 out. Al Leiter came in to get the last two outs of the inning and pitched a scoreless 8th, around a Dykstra walk and stolen base. Duane Ward pitched a quick 9th.
Our 9th couldn’t have set up better. The top of the order was up. Rickey Henderson led off with a walk. White hit a deep fly out. Monitor singled, and we had the tying run on second. And then, well...you know. Mitch Williams remains my favourite reliever of all time.
Henderson has said that he feels he helped out Carter by getting Williams’ attention at second base. Williams pitched out of the stretch and lost a little off his fastball. Since Rickey was the tying run, I can understand Mitch being concerned that he might steal. Carter was great at getting sac flies.
Molitor was the series MVP. He hit .500/.571/.1.000, with 10 runs, 8 RBI, 2 doubles, 2 triples, and 2 home runs. Alomar also had a great series, hitting .480/.519/.640, with 5 runs and 6 RBI. Fernandez drove in 9 runs, with a .333/.423/.381 line. Ward had 2 saves and a win. The win was in game 6.
And, of course, Carter. He hit .280/.250/.560 with 8 RBI, three which were very important. He had 3 sac flies, which is why the OBP is lower than his BA. I never thought it was fair that sac flies count against you in OBP.
It is one of the great moments in World Series history and likely the most significant moment in Blue Jays history.
I will never get tired of watching it: