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Today in Blue Jays History: The Catch

Los Angeles Angels v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images

Sorry, there hasn’t been much content in the last few days. It has been busy lately. It will slow down soon.

31 years ago:

Devon White made the best catch I’ve ever seen.

The Jays won the game, 3-2, taking a 2 to 1 lead in the series. Without that catch, we likely wouldn’t have won the game (2 runs would have scored, and the Braves have had a runner in scoring position with no outs), and we might not have won the series. This play came in the 4th inning with no score yet. Joe Carter hit a home run in the bottom of the inning to give us the lead.

Juan Guzman gave up a tying run in the 6th. Deion Sanders doubled, Terry Pendleton singled, and David Justice singled to drive in Sanders, but Guzman got out of the inning before it got worse. The Braves took the lead in the 8th. Otis Nixon got on base on a Kelly Gruber error, stole second, and scored on a Lonnie Smith single.

Gruber made up for the error by hitting a leadoff homer in the bottom of the inning to tie the game. Then, in the bottom of the ninth, Roberto Alomar singled and stole second. The Braves intentionally walked Carter. Dave Winfield followed with one of the few sac bunts of his career (19 regular-season bunts in 22 seasons). An intentional walk to load the bases later, Candy Maldonado hit a walk-off single.

That was likely the best catch I have ever seen, and then Devon threw the ball back in to get the base runners. It was just a great play. Devon was so smooth in the outfield that he rarely seemed to have to make that spectacular play because he would get to balls that others couldn’t, but that one was just amazing. Kevin Pillar has had a few pretty impressive catches, but I still think this is the best.

Yeah, it would have been a triple play except for a bad call, but such is life. I’d instead focus on the catch.

We’d go on to win the series in 6 games. I very clearly remember the last play. Mike Timlin is pitching. The tying run on 3rd (John Smoltz in as a pinch-runner). Otis Nixon is at the plate. Nixon put down a pretty good drag bunt, but Timlin was ready for it and made an excellent play, throwing to Carter at first. Joe started jumping up and down as soon as the out was made. I’m not sure I’ve seen anyone jump higher (but he may have broken that record a year later). I’ll admit I was jumping up and down, too.

I love re-watching this. Devon was such a smooth outfielder.

30 Years Ago Today:

The Jays won game 5 of the 1993 World Series 15-14.

Devon White was the hero again, hitting a two-run triple in the eighth. The game set a record for runs scored in a World Series game.

I’m not going to try to recap the whole game, a lot of stuff happened but:

  • Todd Stottlemyre wasn’t good, giving up 6 runs in 2 innings.
  • Al Leiter pitched next and wasn’t much better, giving up 6 runs in 2.2 innings.
  • Tony Castillo got the W, giving up just 2 runs in 2.1 innings.
  • Timlin got 2 outs, and Duane Ward got the last 4 outs to get the save.
  • Rickey Henderson went 2 for 5 with a double, walk and steal, scoring 2 and driving in 2.
  • White went 3 for 5, with a double, triple, walk and steal, scoring 2 and driving in 4.
  • Carter was 3 for 6, with a double, scoring twice.
  • Tony Fernandez was 3 for 6 and drove in 5.
  • My favourite non-Jays reliever, Mitch Williams, got the blown save and loss. It was his third blown save of the playoffs that year. He would have one more, which you likely remember.
  • On the Phillies side, Lenny Dykstra scored and drove in 4 (Lenny has had an interesting life since, but that’s a story for another time), and Milt Thompson drove in 5.

11 Years Ago Today:

John Farrell signed with the Red Sox. We were less than happy, but we got Gibby back, and the Sox fired Farrell from his’ dream job’. So it all worked out. The comment thread was one of the few times we’ve lifted the language rules here.

We received Mike Aviles as ‘compensation’. He was soon traded (along with Yan Gomes) for Esmil Rogers. We would have been better off not getting compensation.