Game Six: Bunt?

The period 1991 through 1993 produced three extraordinary game six dramas. I talked about 1991 in my last post. Most people who follow baseball know about Joe Carter, Mitch Williams, and game six of 1993. I really don’t want to look at three in a row, so I think I’ll skip it to look at the 1992 game six, which was also an interesting game. It ended on, of all things, a bunt.

Cito Gaston

1992

Game six of the 1992 World Series was played in Atlanta on 24 October. The Toronto Blue Jays were ahead of the Braves 3 games to 2. It was the first trip to the World Series by a Canadian team and Cito Gaston was in position to become the first black manager to win a World Series. Steve Avery (who started game six in 1991) gave up a leadoff hit to Devon White who later scored the first run of the game.  Jays pitcher David Cone made it hold up until the third when the Braves got the run back. Candy Maldonado put the Jays back on top with an answering leadoff home run in the top of the fourth. The game settled down to a pitching duel, although the Braves went through pitchers like Tony LaRussa. In the bottom of the ninth, Gaston brought in stopper Tom Henke to close out the Series. Henke had 34 saves during the regular season and two already in the Series. He couldn’t get one more. The Braves bunched together a handful of singles and  sacrifices and tied the game, sending game six into extra innings for the second year in a row.

Toronto managed one hit in the tenth, failed to score, and Atlanta went down in order in the bottom of the inning. In the eleventh the Blue Jays used a hit batsman, a single, and a run scoring double by Hall of Famer Dave Winfield to plate two runs.  The Braves answered with a single, then got help from the Jays on an error by Alfredo Griffiin. After one out, the Braves got a run on a ground out and sent pinch runner John Smoltz to third. That brought up center fielder and lead off man Otis Nixon. Nixon was 33 (and looked 63), had stolen 41 bases during the regular season and five in the Series. He decided to get on base and score the tying run from third with a bunt. He hit it too hard. Pitcher Mike Timlin picked it up and flipped it to first baseman Joe Carter. The Jays had won their first World Series.

A lot of people wondered at ending the Series on a bunt. For a while it even overshadowed the true importance of the game. For the first time the World Series champion played its home games outside the United States. And as importantly, a black man became a winning manager of a World Series team. It may not have been the greatest game six ever, but it was historic.

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4 Responses to “Game Six: Bunt?”

  1. Bill Miller Says:

    When your entire season comes down to an Otis Nixon at bat, good things just aint’t a gonna happen.
    Cito, by the way, was a very overrated manager. Historic, but overrated.
    Nice series,
    Bill

  2. keithosaunders Says:

    Just want to say that I’m loving the game 6 series. I had forgotten all about 1992, though I’m sure I watched it. The thing I remember most about that Series is…I was part of a trio that accompanied a tap dance group. We had this gig in Iowa during the playoffs, and two of the dancers, who were Canadien, made a bet with the rhythm section: If the Bluejays won we would have to grow beards, except for the bass player who already had a beard — he would have to shave his off.

    We had a gig in London in November, shortly after the conclusion of that Series. The drummer and I were growing our beards, as per the bet, while the bass player, who had the sweeter part of that deal, had already shaved. After three days the drummer, who was a dapper, fastidious kind of guy, got tired of looking raggedy and feeling all itchy. So he shaved. I stuck it out and grew my first ever beard. The bass player would never grow another beard and remains clean shaven to this day.

    Probably more than you needed to know…

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