World Series: Notes from Game Four...Of the 1993 Series, That Is
The 11-10 game the other day got me to thinking of what I will refer to as my least favorite game of all time, game four of the 1993 Toronto-Phillies World Series, which ended 15-14 Toronto. The game was played October 20, 1993, nine years to the day earlier than the 11-10 game. The '93 game lasted 4:14, the longest in World Series history, unbelievably 17 minutes longer than Sunday's marathon. In both games, the winning team employed five pitcher and the loser 6. In '93 there were four lead changes. Sunday there were only three. 1993 had three HRs with two by Lenny Dykstra; Sunday's had six with two by Tim Salmon.
The Blue Jays went into the game up two games to one, having just pummeled the Phils 10-3 the night before in the first game at Vet's Stadium in the series. People forget that the Blue Jays were the closest thing to a dynasty in 1993, having won the Series in '92. They had a new stadium with three straight years of 4-million plus attendance and seemed to sign every available free agent and to acquire every player on the trading block possible. Their dominance seemed without end even though they would never finish above third place again. The Phils on the other hand had been a last-place team the year before, were unshaven, scrappy, and seemed to personify underdog in every gesture.
The Blue Jays jumped all over Phils' starter Tommy Greene with three runs on three hits and two walks (including one that drove in a run) in the first. The Phillies responded with four runs in the bottom of the frame, taking advantage of Todd Stottlemyre's wildness (four walks in the inning) and being aided by Milt "Toast" Thompson's three-run triple.
In the second, the Blue Jays had another rally. The pitcher, Todd Stottlemyre, walked and tried to go to third on a two-out Robbie Alomar single to center. A good throw by Lenny Dykstra coupled with a belly-flop slide by Stottlemyre ended the inning. After the play Stottlemyre had bloodied his chin and looked like the character in the Bugs Bunny cartoon who says, "Which way did he go? Which way did he go?"
Even though they only had a one-run lead, there was a feeling that the Phils were destined to win. The Blue Jays sending Stottlemyre out to the mound was pathetic. He lasted one more inning, giving up two runs on a single by Tommy Greene, the pitcher, leading off and a home run by Lenny Dykstra. The next three Phils went down to end the inning, but they led 6-3.
However, Greene couldn't hold the lead and Toronto scored 4 in the top of the third to take a 7-6 lead. Greene got Joe Carter to pop up but then gave up three straight singles and was pulled. Roger Mason came in with the score 6-5 and men at first and second. He gave up a walk and a single scoring two, but struck out Alomar after a Rickie Henderson-Devon White double steal of third and second respectively.
Mason settled down given up only a double to relief pitcher Al Leiter in his next two innings of work. Meanwhile, Leiter had come in and saw the Phillies go in turn in the third. The Phils did tie the game, 7-7, in the fourth on a two-out Dykstra double followed by a Mariano Duncan RBI single.
Leiter and Mason seemed in control until the bottom of the fifth, in which the Phils exploded for five runs. Leiter was left in to absorb all the runs on 6 hits in his one-third inning of work in the fifth. Dave Hollins singled and Dutch Daulton homered to give the Phils their first lead since the top of the third. Instead of pulling Leiter, Cito Gaston left him in for three more runs on four hits including Dykstra's second home run.
However, he never communicated this to his team as the Blue Jays scored two in the top of the sixth off of the inept David West. The Phils got those two runs back with off the wildness of Tony Castillo. He walked two to load the bases in the seventh, hit Daulton to force in a run, and was allowed to complete the inning amazingly without further damage-further evidence that Gaston had thrown in the towel. The eighth inning began with the Phils in command 14-9. It would not end that way.
The eighth with Larry Andersen, who had struck out two in a perfect seventh, on the mound and Robbie Alomar grounding to Hollins at third. After a single and a walk, Andersen induced the next batter to hit to Hollins on a possible inning-ending double-play ball, but the third-baseman flubbed the ball. Jo Carter scored on the play. The Phillies still led 14-10.
Mitch Williams who recorded 43 saves during the regular season strut to the mound amid the raucous cheers of the Philly faithful. Williams proceeded to pitch batting practice giving up five runs in two-thirds of an inning on two singles, a walk, and a go-ahead, two-out, two-run triple to Devon White to right-center. The Blue Jays led 15-14.
The entire Phils' side struck out in the eighth to Mike Timlin (Stocker and Morandini) and Duane Ward (Dykstra) and then went down meekly in the ninth.
After the game, the unusually articulate Lenny Dykstra had this to say, "There are not many words to describe it. I could care less about what I did personally (two homers). We were ahead the whole way. And they just kept pounding and pounding. It was an unbelievable game."
Williams again played the goat giving up the go-ahead runs in the sixth and deciding game on the now-famous Joe Carter ninth-inning home run. Carter said after the game that Williams' entrance gave the Blue Jays a lift. Poor Mitch Williams became a pariah in Philadelphia and had his career fall apart. I never blame a player for making an effort. I choose to blame a manager for electing to use a player in a situation in which he will not perform. It was clear from the game four loss that Williams did not have anything left. I realize that the Phillies pen was shorthanded but Larry Andersen had just finished the eighth and Bobby Thigpen was also available. Jim Fregosi sealed Williams' fate by sticking too long with him in the fourth game, visibly shaking his self-confidence, and then by going to him with a one-run lead in game six.
In game four, Fregosi ended up being outmanaged by Cito Gaston, who discernibly gave up three times in the game. That's awfully tough.