Juan Guzman (Trading Card DB)

October 14, 1992: Blue Jays advance to Canada’s first World Series

This article was written by Brian Frank

Juan Guzman (Trading Card DB)The Blue Jays entered Game Six of the 1992 ALCS just one win away from winning their first-ever playoff series and advancing to the first World Series in Canadian history. The team had 10 consecutive winning seasons, winning the American League East in 1985, 1989, and 1991, but had always fallen short in the playoffs. One more win over the Oakland Athletics would help overcome a history of playoff disappointments.

Toronto failed to close out the series in Game Five in Oakland. The A’s chased starter David Cone from the game after just four innings in a 6-2 Oakland win. With back-to-back shaky starts from Jack Morris and Cone, Blue Jays manager Cito Gaston had come under some criticism for deciding to go with a three-man rotation for the series and relegating Jimmy Key to the bullpen. After the Blue Jays’ loss in Game Five, Gaston was asked about his decision to use only three starters in the series. “I don’t know,” he responded. “I wish I knew. It could be a mistake, or it might not be. I can’t answer that one.”1

Juan Guzmán, who’d been outstanding in the regular season, going 16-5 with a 2.64 ERA in 28 starts, was Toronto’s Game Six starter. He had a solid start in the Blue Jays’ 7-5 Game Three victory, allowing two runs over six innings on seven hits and three walks. The 25-year-old right-hander was unfazed by the fact that he’d be starting on just three days’ rest. “For me, it’s no problem,” he said. “I always have my good stuff. I could pitch on two days’ rest.”2

Oakland countered with Mike Moore. He’d given up three runs in seven innings in Oakland’s Game Two loss. However, the 32-year-old veteran had a career postseason record of 4-1 with a 1.88 ERA heading into Game Six.

The Blue Jays were fortunate to have leadoff hitter and defensive outfielder extraordinaire Devon White in the lineup. The day before, he’d been involved in an auto accident when a car being test-driven lost control, hit a pole, and ended up in a ditch – but the speedy center fielder escaped unharmed.

After Guzmán retired the A’s in order in the first inning, White hit what looked like a routine fly ball to shallow left field to lead off the bottom of the inning. However, left fielder Rickey Henderson closed his glove too early, the ball bounced off it, and White raced into second base.

Moore struck out Roberto Alomar, but Joe Carter, who was just 4-for-21 in the series with one RBI so far, drove a ball over the wall in center field to give the Blue Jays the early lead.

“I told the guys as soon as I got to the park, ‘C’mon, hop on,’” the ever-confident Carter said. “I’d been riding their backs through this thing; it was time they got on mine. I stole it from Puck (Kirby Puckett) from Game Six of the World Series last year.”3

Alomar singled to lead off the third inning and extend his hitting streak in ALCS games to 11. Carter struck out, but Alomar stole second in the process. Dave Winfield was walked intentionally to bring up the more inexperienced John Olerud. The sweet-swinging first baseman answered the call by hitting an 0-and-1 pitch into the right-field corner for a ground-rule double to bring home Alomar. Candy Maldonado then drilled a three-run home run over the right-center-field wall, giving Toronto a 6-0 lead.

Meanwhile, Guzmán was proving he could indeed pitch on short rest. He didn’t allow a hit until Terry Steinbach led off the fifth with a single. Oakland finally scored in the sixth inning, when Mark McGwire singled home Ruben Sierra. Guzmán ended up allowing a lone run on five hits and two walks while striking out eight on 118 pitches over seven stellar innings. “I had great stuff today,” he proclaimed. “Maybe my best slider of the whole year.”4

The fans at SkyDome were in a celebratory mood throughout the game, with the Blue Jays in control from the early going. Fans chanted, “We want Eck! We want Eck!” and a drawn-out “Rickey, Rickey!” to needle closer Dennis Eckersley and Henderson, two players who’d tormented the Jays over the years – Eckersley with his fist pumps, Henderson with his “styling,” and both with their level of play.5

“That’s the way it’s always been with me,” Henderson said. “I guess they love me or hate me. They don’t want me to beat up on their Blue Jays.”6

The A’s cut into the lead in the eighth inning when Steinbach singled home Harold Baines against reliever Duane Ward. However, in the bottom of the inning, Toronto increased its lead to 9-2 on a sacrifice fly by White and an RBI single by Alomar.

Tom Henke walked Walt Weiss to start the ninth, before striking out pinch-hitter Randy Ready and getting pinch-hitter Jamie Quirk to fly out for the second out. After Carney Lansford drew a walk, Sierra hit a high fly ball to left field that Maldonado squeezed for the final out – and the Blue Jays were finally headed to the World Series.

Blue Jays players felt redemption after the team’s playoff losses in previous years, even though many of the players weren’t on the earlier teams. “Throw it all out, 1985, ’87, ’89, ’91, throw all those things out,” Carter said. “All those people who wrote we were chokers, it’ll be fun to watch them eat their words.”7

Alomar was named the Championship Series MVP after going 11-for-26 (.423) with 2 home runs and 4 RBIs. He also went 5-for-5 on stolen-base attempts, had a .464 OBP, and slugged .692 in the series. “Everybody said we’d choke in the end,” he said. “We didn’t. The monkey, we can take it off our back.”8

Players were aware of the historic nature of their victory and took pride in the fact that they were bringing Canada its first-ever World Series.

“We’re keenly aware that we don’t represent just a city. We represent an entire country,” said Winfield. “Every team has its territory of course – maybe a state or a region – hey, but we’ve got all of Canada.”9

“This is big,” echoed Carter. “We understand it’s very big. It’s something that has avoided Canadians for a long time. And now they can be well represented in a World Series. People will get a chance to see what a first-class country Canada is and what a first-class city Toronto is. These are great fans here in Toronto. They totally fill the SkyDome for every game and the best way we can repay them is to bring home a World Series.”10

As fans across Canada celebrated, 51,335 fans filed out of SkyDome, and thousands of exuberant Torontonians filled Yonge Street to celebrate the long-awaited victory.

Despite the relief that winning a playoff series finally provided, Alomar made clear that the Blue Jays were not satisfied with winning just one series.

“I want to enjoy this a little bit,” he said as the Blue Jays waited to see whether the Atlanta Braves or Pittsburgh Pirates would prevail that evening in Game Seven of the NLCS. “This is fun, everybody’s having a good time. But I want to win the World Series.”11




In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author consulted Baseball-Reference.com and Retrosheet.org.



1 Bob Valli, “Will Pitching Strategy Kill the Jays?,” Oakland Tribune, October 13, 1992: C1.

2 Helene Elliott, “Jays Gambling that Guzman Will Be Sharp,” Oakland Tribune, October 14, 1992: C2.

3 Allan Ryan, “Carter Gets World Serie-ous: ‘The Timing Was Pretty Good,’” Toronto Star, October 15, 1992: B3.

4 Tom Sandir, “Juan-derful World!,” Toronto Star, October 15, 1992: B1.

5 Alomar had hit a dramatic two-run home run off Eckersley in the ninth inning of Game Four to tie the score at 6-6. Toronto eventually won the game 7-6 in 11 innings.

6 Ray Ratto, “A’s Provide Fodder for Celebration,” San Francisco Examiner, October 15, 1992: E4.

7 Joan Ryan, “Long Losing Trail Finally Ends at Gaston’s Doorstep,” San Francisco Examiner, October 15, 1992: E5. In 1987 the Blue Jays lost their final seven games to blow a 3½-game lead with a week to play in the season.

8 Sandir, “Juan-derful World!”

9 Jim Proudfoot, “Patriotic Pride Blooms for Canada’s Blue Jays,” Toronto Star, October 15, 1992: B2.

10 Proudfoot.

11 Monte Poole, “World Series-Bound, They’re ‘Blew Jays’ No More,” Oakland Tribune, October 15, 1992: D3.

Additional Stats

Toronto Blue Jays 9
Oakland Athletics 2
Game 6, ALCS

Toronto, ON


Box Score + PBP: 

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