Former Jays recall glory days
Baseball: Hall of famer took Eck deep in 1992 ALDS
Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014 09:33 am
A hall-of-fame baseball player was standing around the batting cage joking with fans from Okotoks at a home run contest in his name at Seaman Stadium.
Of, course, talking about one of the most famous home runs in Blue Jay history brought a smile to Roberto Alomar’s face on Sunday.
Alomar hit a two-out two-run home run in the ninth inning off Oakland A’s hall-of-fame relief pitcher Dennis Eckersley to tie Game 4 of the American League Division series in 1992. The Jays went on to win the game 7-6.
“It was a big game for us and Eckersley was one of the best pitchers in the game at the time,” Alomar said with a smile. “I was looking for that pitch and I hit it… At the time I was just thinking about the game, and after we won it, I thought about that moment.
“But for me, I was excited a lot more a few week’ later when we won the World Series.”
The Jays would beat the A’s in the division series and went on to down the Atlanta Braves in six games to bring the World Series title north of the 49th parallel for the first time in history.
“That was a dream come true for me,” said Alomar, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011. “Some guys play their entire career without winning and for me two win two was amazing.”
The guy on base when Alomar hit his historic home run against “Eck” was Devon White.
White, a five-time Gold Glover who could cover more ground than Usain Bolt, would make World Series history of his own when he hauled down Braves David Justice’s shot to deep centre which led to what looked like a triple play in Game 3 of the 1992 World Series.
However, the ump missed the call and the Jays had to settle for a double-play.
“In the heat of the moment you don’t think about it too much,” White said while watching Vince Ircandia take his cuts. “But 20-25 years later I look back on it and say ‘Wow’ was that ever a great catch and ‘Wow’ was I ever a lot thinner back then.”
White also won’t ever forget Joe Carter’s famous walk-off homerun off of Philadelphia Phillie Mitch ‘the wild thing’ Williams to win the 1993 World Series.
“I never thought about him hitting a home run when he stepped to the plate, all we thought about was just trying to score some runs,” White said. “It was a very hard, tough series.”
White would go on to win another World title with the 1997 Florida Marlins beating the Cleveland Indians in seven games. His former Blue Jay teammate Tony Fernandez makes a huge error at second base for the Indians which led to the Marlins World Series winning run in the 10th inning.
“I felt bad for him, but at the same time I feel very happy, hey one of us has to win,” he said.
Former outfielder Jesse Barfield never had the chance to play in a World Series, but he was close. He was on the Jays’ first Al East winning team in 1985, who lost to the eventual World Series champions, the Kansas City Royals.
“We had all the pieces in place and to lose in 1985 was just a shock,” Barfield said. “We were up 3-1 and that was the first year they had a best of seven. It just wasn’t meant to be for us that year.”
That team was managed by Bobby Cox, who was inducted into the hall of fame this summer.
“He was a straight-up guy and you knew what role you were going to play,” Barfield said.
“I remember asking him when am I going to be an everyday player. He told me when I started to hit righties, I will be an everyday player, but I just don’t see it yet.
“He let you know where you stood.”
Barfield, along with Lloyd Moseby and George Bell, was part of what was dubbed the best outfield in the league in the mid 1980s.
“We were certainly one of the best,” said Barfield, who led the major leagues in home run in 1987 with 40.
The Blue Jays hit a home run with the community.
Proceeds from the home run contest went towards rebuilding the flood-damaged ball diamonds in High River.
“I feel delighted to be here and help them build diamonds so they have a chance to play baseball too,” Alomar said.
The former Jays, along with 1992-93 relief pitcher Duane Ward are participating in the Blue Jays Youth Summer Camp this week. Moseby is also scheduled to attend.