We’re several weeks into our worldwide attempt to “flatten the curve” and have been offering daily escapes into the sporting events of yesteryear through our “Filling The Void” series. We’ve looked back on the inspiring, mind-boggling, and remarkable events as well as the ordinary, daily games we’ve been missing in our lives. We here at The Turf Sports sincerely hope you and your loved ones are staying healthy and being safe through these trying days. We’d also like to take a moment to send out a huge THANK YOU to all of those front-line folks keeping society going – from the medical community to those stocking grocery store shelves, delivering supplies around the country or helping us all fight this virus together in some other essential, invaluable way. You are all heroes.
On another note, we here at The Turf have always been of the mind that standing up for what is right and standing up in opposition to hate and violence is necessary. And in that same breath, we affirm that Black Lives Matter. For resources on how to help the fight against systemic racism in the United States please check out the following links: Black Visions Collective, LGBTQ Freedom Fund, National Bail Fund, Reclaim the Block, Color of Change, and Black Lives Matter.
Today: Joe Carter sends one into the history books, as the Toronto Blue Jays win back-to-back World Series titles.
Joe Carter was not the best hitter on the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays, but he was certainly the most powerful. Outhitting his teammates with 33 home runs and 121 RBIs, Joe Carter was the ideal power hitter for the Canadian club. On a team with such names as John Olerud, Paul Molitor, Tony Fernandez, and Roberto Alomar, Carter was the odd man out in the offensive department.
Those four men all hit above .300 in 1993, while Carter ended the season hovering about .250, With regards to their OPS+, John Olerud’s 182 dwarfs Carter’s 112.
But with men on first and second, the Blue Jays down by a run and the Phillies trying to slam the door, tie up the series and send it to Game 7, the only guy you want at the plate is Joe Carter.
The bottom of the ninth inning of Game 6 is fascinating and involves some MLB legends. The inning started with Rickey Henderson doing something he loves: getting walked. So with Rickey on first, the Phillies are on the watch for him to steal a base. Rickey Henderson – who leads every MLB player in not just stolen bases, but runs as well. If you need a run to stay alive, Rickey’s your guy.
Devin White steps into the box next in the hopes of moving Rickey to second with either a sacrifice fly or ideally a single. The only problem is that White’s not prone to hitting sac flies, with only 3 in the regular season. The ball has to be hit in the air. A double play would kill the Blue Jays’ chances.
After taking the count full, White skies one to left-center, just shallow enough for Rickey to stay on first. There’s now one out and Paul Molitor steps in.
Molitor is a future Hall of Famer, and will later be named World Series MVP. With the Brewers, the team he’s most known for playing with, Molitor had multiple 200 hits seasons, and is a baseball savant’s favorite kind of player. He can flat out hit, and the numbers are clean and pretty. Paul Molitor can swing a bat, but can he win it for Toronto? You would hope so, considering that he left Milwaukee after 15 seasons to chase a ring.
With Rickey still at first, Molitor digs in and Carter enters the on-deck circle. If Molitor can push a single to the outfield, it’s possible that Henderson could go from first to third on a good jump. Instead, Molitor hits a hard single to shallow center and Lenny Dykstra comes up throwing.
Runners on first and second with two outs and Joe Carter steps up to the plate and puts his name down in the record books. How? By hitting a walk-off home run to win the World Series.
And like a good teammate, Joe didn’t just bring himself into the record books, but he also brought his coach. In 1992, Cito Gaston became the first black manager to win the World Series. And now, with one swing of the bat, Joe Carter helped him become the first black manager to win back-to-back titles.
Now that’s teamwork.
Fun Fact: The cover art for Drake’s Diss Track “Back to Back,” aimed at Meek Mill is a still image of the crowd’s reaction to Joe Carter’s home run.
See You Tomorrow. Stay Safe. Stay Smart. Wash Your Hands.
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It's Week 3... and the computer didn't pick Chris Herndon this time