It’s cold and rainy in Toronto today. Winter is coming. The Blue Jays are once again watching the playoffs on television. This is what October has become.
But there was a time when October was the best month of the year for Jays fans. And this day in particular, October 14th, has special meaning.
Because 18 years ago today, on October 14th, 1992, the Toronto Blue Jays beat the Oakland A’s in the SkyDome 9-2 to win the ALCS and advance to their first ever World Series.
Toronto was coming off a loss in Game 5 in Oakland, blowing a chance to advance, and a loss in Game 6 would have set up a do-or-die seventh game against their playoff rivals. Jack Morris, coming off a 20-win season, but 0-1 with a 6.57 ERA in two starts in the series, would have been on the hill. The team, and the fans, knew that the series would be won or lost in Game 6.
The game was a rare 3:08 PM start in Toronto, and I remember being at school – and hating the fact that I was missing the beginning. I remember somehow getting an update that Rickey Henderson dropped the opening fly ball from Devo, and that Joe Carter homered to make it 2-0. The Jays had lost the ALCS in 1985, 1989, and 1991, but hearing about that dropped ball made me think that this year would be different.
By the time I got off the bus and into my house it was 7-1 Jays in the 8th inning, and the game was essentially over. Candy Maldonado had gone deep, Juan Guzman had pitched seven strong innings, and the Ward / Henke combo was coming on.
When Ruben Sierra hit a lazy fly ball to Maldonado with two outs in the ninth, the city exploded. I was 13 years old, and can still remember seeing the celebration.
For the first time ever, Toronto was headed to the World Series.
It was an amazing moment.
And it was 18 years ago this very day.