Those wretched Twins took us down in 1991 on their way to a World Series victory. We watched through our fingers as they seemed to manhandle us. It was not what we were expecting. But Mister Pat Gillick watched intently from the boxes and saw the man he needed to get the Jays to the World Series. The man who tossed the Twins to a 10 inning, seventh game triumph. The next piece of the puzzle was courted and signed away from the Twins…Jack Morris. Just for good measure we decided to bulk up a bit with a proven veteran to DH for us…enter Dave Winfield. Winners both of them. Proven…and they wanted to come here. The stigma of a foreign country can easily be swayed with the chance to win it all. Did the Home Opener showcase what was to come?
Date: April 10, 1992
Location: The SkyDome, Toronto, ON, Canada
Game: Baltimore Orioles vs. YOUR Toronto Blue Jays
Weather: ummm…we’ve been through this…
This season started the way all fans would have hoped. We smoked Detroit three straight to start and came home to much fanfare. Jimmy Key toed the rubber against a pretty damn good starter in Mike Mussina. Mussina would show over the years that he was a proven winner. So would Jimmy Key…and this game would come down to who had the better bullpen. Baltimore got to Key early with 3 runs in the first but he settled down to toss seven and give up no more runs. Mussina pitched into the sixth and gave up only 1 run. We were able to tack on a run in the eighth off of Todd Frohwirth (yeah I don’t remember him either) to cut the lead to 3-2.
The development of the Henke/Ward combination (that is Tom Henke and Duane Ward for you young’uns) played a big part in keeping the Oriole bats at bay so that lo and behold (it’s a phrase….dammit) we could conquer with a sweet come from behind in the bottom of the ninth type of victory. Pat Borders cut the lead to one with a solo shot then after Devon White tripled future Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar drove him in with a single up the middle off star closer Gregg Olson (he of the sweeeeeet curveball). 50, 424 people went wild.
It was definitely a precursor of what to expect for the season from the team. A never die attitude that carried through the season. Even when they were still beating back the charging Orioles late into the season Pat Gillick delivered his final stroke of genius and acquired the power arm of David Cone for a Ryan Thompson and future soon to be Hall of Famer Jeff Kent (of Survivor fame…lol). After that we all know what happened. We smoked the A’s in the ALCS and was able to outgun the Braves in 6 games to win our first World Series…and the first won by a non-American based team. Yeah we did. The question is was there an encore to come in 1993? Hmmmm…..