1992 Baseball Season

Prognosticators had their finest hour in 14 years as three of the four defending division champions won again in the 1992 baseball season. Only the Minnesota Twins stumbled, ceding the American League West crown to Oakland. The A's return to the top after a year's absence was all that kept 1992 from being a reprise of 1978, when all four division winners repeated.

If the four pennant races offered no surprises in 1992, the battles for individual honors were for the most part waged by unexpected combatants. In the American League, Rangers outfielder Juan Gonzalez, still short of his 22nd birthday, snared the home run crown with 43 dingers. Edgar Martinez of Seattle emerged to lead the major league with a .343 average, while Texas' Kevin Brown, 9-12 in 1991, shared the American League lead in wins with 21.

Several of the National League's individual champs also caused eyes to blink. Gary Sheffield, a .194 hitter in 1991 with Milwaukee, benefited so much from a change of scenery after he was dealt to San Diego that he won the National League hitting title with a .330 mark. The senior loop's RBI crown went to an equally stunning overachiever, Phillies catcher Darren Daulton. A career .222 hitter, Daulton crushed National League hurlers for 27 homers and 109 RBI in 1992.

As Daulton, Sheffield, Martinez, and numerous other players burst forth with unforeseen great seasons in 1992, several longtime stalwarts fizzled, costing their teams dearly. Receiving little offensive help from Cal Ripken, Baltimore was unable to catch Toronto, which often during the season seemed ripe for the taking. Wade Boggs's plummeting batting average, which bottomed out at .259, paralleled Boston's drop through the American League East until the Sox wound up in the division basement. The 1991 National League home run and RBI champ, Howard Johnson, staggered after the Mets moved him to center field, tallying just 43 runs and seven homers. Injuries slowed Darryl Strawberry and Eric Davis, LA's prize off-season pickups, leading to the franchise's first cellar finish since 1905.

Atlanta and Pittsburgh again required seven games to settle National League honors. With the Pirates ahead 2-1 and just one out away from claiming the pennant in the LCS finale, Steel City fans were poised to celebrate their team's first World Series appearance in 13 years. Instead, little-used backup catcher Francisco Cabrera lined a two-run pinch single off reliever Stan Belinda to hand Atlanta a 3-2 triumph.

Cito Gaston's Toronto club needed no last-gasp heroics to dust favored Oakland in the ALCS. Led by second sacker Roberto Alomar, the LCS MVP and the club's leading batsman (.310 average) during the regular season, the Blue Jays, arguably the best major league team for the past decade, at long last proved they could win the big one. After dropping the A's in six games, Toronto used Alomar, Joe Carter (119 RBI), Dave Winfield (108 RBI), and the hot bat of catcher Pat Borders to suppress the Braves likewise in six contests.

Despite suffering its second straight World Series defeat, Atlanta demonstrated that its 1991 rise from worst to first was no fluke. With repeat 20-game-winner Tom Glavine again the mound linchpin and defending batting champ Terry Pendleton (.311) and Deion Sanders (.304) providing the firepower, Bobby Cox's club topped the major league with 98 victories.

But in the end 1992 belonged to one of the game's steadiest performers for many years, Dave Winfield, who was the active leader in both home runs and RBI that season. Winfield set several season marks for a player over age 40 and then avenged an abysmal showing in the 1981 fall classic, his only previous World Series appearance. It was Winfield's hit that won game six, the uphill 11-inning thriller that made Toronto the first world championship team from outside the United States.

The next page provides headlines and summaries of some of the top stories of the 1992 baseball season.

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1992 Baseball Season Headlines

In 1992, Greg Maddux pitched 20 wins, and Barry Bonds hit his way to the National League MVP Award. Here are some of the headlines from the 1992 baseball season:

Greg Maddux
Greg Maddux was the first
Cub pitcher to notch
a 20-win season since
Rick Reuschel in 1977.

Greg Maddux: 20-11, 2.18

The first Cub hurler to notch a 20-win season since Rick Reuschel in 1977, Chicago's Greg Maddux captured the 1992 National League Cy Young Award with a 20-11 mark. The durable right-hander finished third in the league in strikeouts, placed third in ERA, and led the National League in innings pitched for the second year in a row. Maddux topped 200 frames for the fifth straight season in 1992, winning 87 games in that span.

Bud Selig Gains Top Post

After commissioner Fay Vincent resigned on September 7, 1992, Milwaukee Brewers owner Bud Selig became the game's commissioner pro tem. He oversaw baseball, with the assistance of the executive council. Growing animosity between owners and players, questions about future TV contracts, and disagreements among owners promised as many off-field as on-field headlines in the 1990s.

George Brett: 4-For-4, 3,000 Hits

In 1992, Kansas City's George Brett became the 18th player to reach 3,000 career hits. After missing two games with an aching left shoulder, the 39-year-old DH reached the milestone September 30 in Anaheim. Entering that evening's game with 2,996 hits, Brett slashed two singles and a double in his first three at-bats before bouncing a single to right in the seventh against the Angels' Tim Fortugno to conclude his dramatic chase.

Jeff Reardon Nails Save Record

On June 15, 1992, at Fenway Park, Jeff Reardon shut down the Yankees to collect the 342nd save of his career. That evening, he passed Rollie Fingers and moved into first place on the all-time career saves list. Reardon collected 20 or more saves for the 11th consecutive season. In August, the veteran stopper was acquired by Atlanta and collected three wins and three saves in 14 games down the stretch for the pennant-winning Braves.

1992 Colorado Rockies Acquire David Nied

David Nied goes down in history as the first player chosen in the 1992 Expansion Draft. A 23-year-old righty pitcher from the Atlanta organization, Nied was tabbed by the Colorado Rockies to anchor their starting rotation after his impressive 3-0 showing with the Braves late in the 1992 season. The Rockies also drafted veteran Charlie Hayes, Joe Girardi, and Alex Cole in the first round.

Darren Daulton Dominates

In 1992, 30-year-old Phillies catcher Darren Daulton finally enjoyed the big season many had predicted for him. Frequent injury problems had hampered Daulton in the past, but in 1992 he became the first National League player to win an RBI crown in fewer than 500 at-bats, pacing the league with 109. The first-time All-Star also finished high in the leader boards in home runs, walks, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.

Barry Bonds Bashes Way to 1992 MVP

Pittsburgh's Barry Bonds destroyed National League pitching in 1992 as he captured the MVP Award. He clubbed 34 homers, batted .311, swiped 39 bases, and paced the league in on-base percentage, slugging average, walks, and runs scored. He also hit .392 with 11 homers after September 1 to help the Pirates hold off the charging Montreal Expos. Bonds, trying to shake off his poor reputation for clutch performance, hit .261 with a key home run in the NLCS.

Robin Yount Nails Hit No. 3,000

Robin Yount, a Brewer since 1974, collected his 3,000th hit in Milwaukee County Stadium September 9. With 47,589 fans screaming encouragement, Yount lined a single to right-center in the seventh inning off Cleveland hurler Jose Mesa. At 36 years and 11 months, Yount was the third-youngest player to reach this historic plateau. The Milwaukee center fielder had also collected his 1,000th and 2,000th hits (in 1980 and 1986, respectively) off Indians' pitching.

Gary Sheffield Hits .330 to Win Crown

Acquired from Milwaukee for pitcher Ricky Bones just before the start of the 1992 season, 23-year-old Gary Sheffield starred at third base for the San Diego Padres. He won the National League batting title with a .330 mark, clouted 33 homers, drove in 100 runs, and piled up a league-best 323 total bases. He and teammate Fred McGriff (.286 average, 35 homers, 104 RBI) combined to form the league's top 3-4 combination for the third-place Padres.

Check out more headlines from the 1992 baseball season on the next page.

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More 1992 Baseball Season Headlines

Below are more headlines from the 1992 baseball season, including Juan Gonzalez winning the American League home run title and Dave Winfield helping the Toronto Blue Jays win the 1992 World Series.

Dennis Eckersley Eck-cellent Again

A 7-1 record, a 1.91 ERA, and an American League-best 51 saves earned Dennis Eckersley a special double salute -- he won both the Cy Young and Most Valuable Player trophies. "Eck" failed to convert only three save opportunities during the regular season. While he enjoyed his sixth straight top season out of the bullpen, he unfortunately blew a critical one in game four of the ALCS as Toronto beat the A's and went to the 1992 World Series.

Juan Gonzalez: 43 HRs at 22

Rangers center fielder Juan Gonzalez won the 1992 American League home run title at age 22. He became the youngest player to lead the junior circuit in four-baggers since Joe DiMaggio turned the trick for the Yankees in 1937. Gonzalez, who hit .260 with 109 RBI, slugged his 43rd homer on the season's final day to break a tie with Oakland's Mark McGwire and capture the crown.

Edgar Martinez Puts M's on Map

Seattle third baseman Edgar Martinez became the first Mariner ever to lead the league in a Triple Crown category, batting .343 to pace the loop in 1992. His closest competitor, Kirby Puckett of Minnesota, finished 14 points behind. Martinez, who turned 29 before the season, was named the American League Player of the Month in both July and August. He also tied for the league lead with 46 doubles despite missing his final 19 games due to shoulder surgery.

Sid Bream Slides in Safely

With various Pirates, Braves, and 51,975 spellbound fans looking on, Atlanta first baseman Sid Bream slides in just ahead of Pittsburgh catcher Mike LaValliere's tag to score the winning run in game seven of the NLCS. Bream, who hit .261 with ten homers during the regular season, never possessed great running speed. He barely beat left fielder Barry Bonds' throw to score from second, sending Fulton County Stadium into a frenzy.

Ron Gant's Grand Slam Sinks Pirate Ship

Braves left fielder Ron Gant, who belted 17 homers during the 1992 regular season, added a key grand slam in game two of the NLCS to help defeat the Pittsburgh Pirates 13-5. Otis Nixon, Jeff Blauser, and David Justice scored ahead of Gant on the fifth-inning homer, which came against Pirate hurler Bob Walk. Gant's postseason heroics stopped here, however, as he slumped and was benched in favor of Deion Sanders in the 1992 World Series.

Roberto Alomar Takes Eck Deep

With a 6-4, ninth-inning lead in game four of the ALCS and Dennis Eckersley on the mound, the Oakland A's figured they had things well in hand. However, Toronto's Devon White singled to lead off the frame, and Roberto Alomar followed with a game-tying home run to right. The All-Star second sacker celebrates the blast, which helped earn him the ALCS MVP Award. Alomar hit .423 for the World Series.

Lonnie Smith Clears the Bases

Lonnie Smith was congratulated by his teammates after his grand slam off Jack Morris in the fifth inning of game five of the 1992 World Series. The homer broke open a close game and gave the Braves a 7-2 win. Smith, playing in his fifth fall classic, hit the first World Series grand slam by a National Leaguer since Ken Boyer's clout in 1964.

Flag Mishap Sparks Flap

In 1992, with a Canadian team competing in the fall classic for the first time, an international incident was almost certain to take place. Before the start of the second game of the 1992 World Series in Atlanta, the U.S. color guard inadvertently carried an upside-down Canadian flag onto the field. Though no offense was meant by anyone, the error rankled some Canadians, who only found solace in the Jays' 5-4 victory that evening.

Dave Winfield's Hit Wins 1992 World Series

Blue Jays slugger Dave Winfield saw his ecstatic teammates celebrating his 11th-inning double off Atlanta's Charlie Leibrandt in game six of the 1992 Series. At age 40, the DH sparked the Blue Jays with 26 homers, 108 RBI, and a .290 average during the regular season, and homered twice against Oakland in the ALCS.

Devon White Gyps David Justice

In the fourth inning of game three, Toronto center fielder Devon White made a catch many called one of the best in World Series history. The speedy White raced to the wall and made a leaping, over-the-shoulder catch to rob Dave Justice of a two-run double. White then fired the ball back to the infield as the Jays nearly turned a triple play.

The next page highlights key events and details of the 1992 baseball season.

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1992 Baseball Season Highlights

In the 1992 baseball season, the Toronto Blue Jays became the first World Championship team from outside the United States. The Blue Jays won the 1992 World Series off a hit from superstar Dave Winfield in a thrilling 11-inning game six. Below you will find the highlights from the 1992 baseball season:
  • Atlanta is the first National League team since 1977-78 Dodgers to win back-to-back pennants.

  • The Pirates win their third consecutive National League East pennant but miss the National League flag when they lose game seven of NLCS in bottom of ninth.

  • Seldom-used backup catcher Francisco Cabrera's two-out, two-run pinch single hands Braves 3-2 win in game seven of NLCS.

  • Toronto downs Oakland in six games in ALCS.

    Eric Karros
    Eric Karros, the Dodgers'
    first baseman, won the
    1992 Rookie of the
    Year Award.

  • The Dodgers first sacker Eric Karros bags the National League ROTY Award.

  • Dave Winfield, at age 41, becomes oldest player to hit a HR in WS play.

  • Winfield's double gives the Blue Jays an electrifying 11-inning triumph in game six to bring Canada its first world championship.

  • Jack Morris pitches for his third different championship team in nine years, but fails to become the first hurler in history to bag a WS triumph with three different teams.

  • Toronto catcher Pat Borders grabs the 1992 Series MVP prize.

  • The Padres acquire Gary Sheffield from the Brewers before the season. He rebounds from miserable .194 season with Milwaukee to win the National League batting title with .330 mark.

  • Sheffield is serious contender for Triple Crown before finishing first in batting, third in homers, and fifth in RBI.

  • Barry Bonds wins the National League MVP Award after leading majors with .624 SA.

  • Unable to meet Bonds's salary demands, Pittsburgh in December helplessly watches him sign a multiyear contract with the Giants worth over $43 million.

  • Bonds also tops majors with 127 walks and .456 OBP and leads the National League in runs scored with 109.

  • Fred McGriff of San Diego tops the National League with 35 homers and places third in RBI with 104.

  • Phillies catcher Darren Daulton surprises all by leading the National League in RBI with 109.

  • Daulton also clubs 27 homers and posts .524 SA, after hitting .196 in 1991.

  • Andy Van Slyke of Pittsburgh tops the National League with 45 doubles and is third in triples with 12.

  • Atlanta third sacker Terry Pendleton ties Van Slyke for the National League top spot in hits with 199.

  • Pendleton, the defending National League batting titlist and MVP winner, hits .311 to pace pennant-winning Braves.

  • Carlos Baerga of Cleveland is first second baseman in American League history with .300 average, 200 or more hits, 20 or more homers, and 100 or more RBI.

  • Cleveland rookie Kenny Lofton sets a American League frosh record with 66 stolen bases.

  • Lofton loses the American League ROTY to Brewers shortstop Pat Listach, whose 54 thefts also top the old American League rookie record.

  • Marquis Grissom of the Expos paces the majors with 78 stolen bases.

  • Despite turning 38 two months after the season ends, shortstop Ozzie Smith of the Cards swipes 43 bases.

  • Dennis Eckersley of the A's sweeps the American League Cy Young and MVP Awards.

See the next page for more highlights of the 1992 baseball season.

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More 1992 Baseball Season Highlights

Below are more highlights from the 1992 baseball season, including inductions into the Baseball Hall of Fame and stats for top players:

  • After winning the 1992 National League Cy Young Award, free agent Greg Maddux signs huge multiyear contract with the Braves.

  • Detroit's Cecil Fielder becomes second player in history to top the major league in RBI three years in a row.

  • Juan Gonzalez wins the American League homer title with 43 dingers and sets Rangers four-bagger record in the process.

  • After suffering the worst year of his career, Wade Boggs is not offered a contract by the Red Sox and signs with the Yankees as a free agent.

  • Mark McGwire of the A's recovers from .201 BA in 1991 to finish second in the American League in homers with 42.

  • Three Twins tally more than 100 runs-Puckett (104), Chuck Knoblauch (104), and Shane Mack (101).

  • Three Tigers-Fielder, Rob Deer, and Mickey Tettleton-crack 32 or more home runs.

  • Atlanta hurler Tom Glavine and Maddux tie for the National League lead in victories with 20.

  • John Smoltz of the Braves edges New York's David Cone for the National League strikeout crown, 215 to 214.

  • Cone paces the National League in walks with 82, lowest total ever by a senior loop leader.

  • After helping Blue Jays win the 1992 Series, Cone in December signs with Kansas City as a free agent.

  • Greg Maddux paces the majors with 268 innings.

  • Terry Mulholland of the Phils tops the National League with 12 complete games.

  • Jack McDowell of the White Sox leads the American League in complete games with 13.

  • Lee Smith of Cards leads the National League with 43 saves.

  • Dennis Eckersley tops majors with 51 saves.

  • Seattle's David Fleming is voted the American League's best rookie hurler after he bags 17 wins for last-place Mariners.

  • Randy Johnson of Mariners tops majors with 241 strikeouts.

  • Rollie Fingers and Tom Seaver are inducted into the Hall of Fame.

  • Hurler Hal Newhouser and umpire Bill McGowan are elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee.

  • Second sacker Mickey Morandini of Phils performs first unassisted triple play in the National League since 1927.

  • Dodgers, after setting an all-time record by avoiding cellar for 86 consecutive years, plummet to the National League basement.

  • The Red Sox finish in the American League East basement for first time since division play began in 1969.

  • Bill Swift of San Francisco leads majors with a 2.08 ERA.

  • Jack Morris of Toronto and Kevin Brown of Texas tie for American League lead in wins with 21.

  • After seemingly selling the Giants to a Tampa Bay group, owner Bob Lurie is forced to take a lesser offer that will keep team in San Francisco.

  • Cincinnati owner Marge Schott faces barrage of accusations that she is racist after season closes.

  • Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies are accepted as new franchises for 1993 season.

  • Braves mound prospect David Nied is first player chosen in Expansion Draft when Rockies select him.

  • Baltimore inaugurates its new stadium, Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

  • George Brett of Royals and Robin Yount of Brewers both collect their 3,000th hits in 1992.

  • Ozzie Smith wins his 14th straight Gold Glove.

  • Jeff Reardon breaks Rollie Fingers's record of 341 career saves and finishes campaign with 357 saves.

  • Lee Smith moves into second place on all-time list with 355 saves.

  • Rickey Henderson becomes first player in major league history to garner 1,000 career stolen bases as he finishes 1992 campaign with 1,042.

  • Deion Sanders of Braves becomes first major leaguer to play in a World Series game and an NFL game in same week.

  • Fay Vincent, under unrelenting pressure, steps down as commissioner.

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