Behind Bonds's booming bat, the Giants led the National League West defending-champion Atlanta Braves by a wide margin deep into the summer. Meanwhile, the three-time National League East champion Pirates, missing Bonds's long-ball artillery, also lagged far off the pace. The Bucs' thunder was usurped by the Phillies, yet another team to surge to the fore in the 1990s after finishing last the previous year.
In the season's final week the Phils clinched their first division crown since 1983, managing to hold off a furious charge by the Montreal Expos, but the situation in the National League West was still unresolved. After leading the Braves all summer, the Giants were passed in early September.
But then the Giants surged again. On the last Friday morning of the season the two foes were deadlocked at 101-58. But while the Braves played a three-game set at home that weekend against the expansion Colorado Rockies, the Giants' schedule called for a finish in Los Angeles.
The Braves routinely won their first two contests against the hapless Rockies, and the Giants unexpectedly kept pace. If both were victorious again on the last Sunday of the season, the Giants had a huge advantage, having won the right to host the division playoff game, if necessary.
But San Francisco's Cinderella story ended unhappily. The Braves decked the Rockies in their finale, 5-3, to set a new franchise record with 104 wins. Giants players, hearing the final score even before their game started in Dodger Stadium, could not rise to the must-win situation. San Francisco's starter, 21-year-old rookie Salomon Torres, got into deep water early, and Baker's bullpen, exhausted by overuse in the stretch, had no one to bail out Torres. Buoyed by Mike Piazza's two home runs, the Dodgers blasted the Giants' dream, 12-1.
In the American League, Toronto and Chicago had both clinched their respective divisions long before the final Sunday. Chicago whipped home eight games ahead of the Texas Rangers, and Toronto presented Cito Gaston with his third division crown by a seven-game margin over the New York Yankees.
Toronto and Atlanta were prohibitive favorites to meet for the second straight time in the 1993 World Series. The Blue Jays did their part, winning the ALCS in six rounds, but the Braves found the road to a return engagement barricaded. After taking a 2-1 lead in games, Atlanta skipper Bobby Cox helplessly watched his vaunted offense spin its wheels against the Phils. Spearheaded by center fielder Lenny Dykstra and pitcher Curt Schilling, the Phils put the Braves away in six games.
The Blue Jays needed just six games to grab their second consecutive World Series. Joe Carter's three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth in game six lifted the Jays to a come-from-behind 8-6 win over Phils closer Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams. Williams also dropped game four, a 15-14 donnybrook that broke the 20th century mark for the most runs in a postseason game.
Paul Molitor, the American League hit leader in 1993, was named the 1993 World Series MVP, but Dykstra could easily have won the award in a losing cause. Dykstra's dazzling fall showing culminated a brilliant season. His 143 runs in 1993 were the most by any National League player since another Phils outfielder, Chuck Klein, crossed the plate 152 times in 1932.
The next page provides headlines and summaries for some of the top stories of the 1993 baseball season.
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1993 Baseball Season HeadlinesIn 1993, Dave Winfield made his 3000th hit, and Mike Piazza won the National League's Rookie of the Year Award. Here are some of the headlines from the 1993 baseball season:
Tim Salmon of the Angels
slugged out 31 home runs
and was named the 1993
American League Rookie
of the Year.
Early in the 1993 season Tim Salmon was overshadowed by fellow Angels rookie teammate, J.T. Snow. But by the end of the campaign, Snow was ticketed to begin the 1994 season in the minors while Salmon took home the American League Rookie of the Year trophy. Along with his 31 dingers (a new Angels yearling record), Salmon hit .283 with 95 RBI and tied for the American League lead in outfield assists (12).
Big Hurt Named American League MVP
Frank Thomas reached career highs in home runs (41) and RBI (128) in 1993, sparking the White Sox to their first division title since 1983. After pacing the American League in both walks and on-base percentage the previous two years, Thomas "sank" to 112 walks and a .426 OBP (fourth in American League) in 1993. His unmatched combination of power and patience earned him the American League MVP Award.
Randy Johnson is K King
Randy Johnson matured in a big way in 1993. The 6'10" southpaw's .704 winning percentage was second only to Jimmy Key's in the American League. Johnson's 304 strikeouts, however, were in a class by themselves. His continued success caused the Expos to regret all the more the 1989 deal that sent him to the Mariners.
Barry Bonds: Like Father, Like Son
Barry Bonds accomplished something his famous father, Bobby, never did when he topped 40 homers in 1993, finishing with 43. Bobby's peak mark was 39 in 1973. Barry also set a new Bonds record with 123 RBI in 1993. The elder and younger Bonds hold virtually every father-and-son career slugging record. In 1993, Barry won his third MVP Award in four years and his fourth straight Gold Glove.
Greg Maddux Wins 1993 National League Cy Young
Not since Catfish Hunter in 1975 has a free-agent hurler had a better year with his new club than free-agent-signee Greg Maddux did with the Braves in 1993. The former Cub treated his new employer to his second consecutive 20-win season. Maddux also led the National League in ERA (2.36), innings (267), and complete games (eight) en route to capturing his second straight Cy Young Award.
Dave Winfield: Hit No. 3,000
Dave Winfield accepts accolades at the Metrodome after tapping Oakland's Dennis Eckersley for his 3,000th career hit -- a ninth-inning RBI single on September 16. In 1993 Winfield also set a new major league record for the most home runs by a player over age 40 when he ripped 21 four-baggers, giving him 47 dingers since turning 40. Winfield finished the season with 1,786 RBI, the most by any active player.
Mike Piazza Unanimous ROTY
National League Rookie of the Year Mike Piazza showcases the swing that made him the best-hitting rookie catcher in history in 1993. The Dodger maskman collected 174 hits and 317 total bases, just one short of Yogi Berra's all-time single-season mark by a catcher. Piazza's 317 total bases did tie him, however, with an earlier Dodgers backstopping star, Roy Campanella, for the National League record. Piazza was the 13th Dodger to be named Rookie of the Year.
Kenny Lofton Swipes 70
Kenny Lofton is the reason that someday Eddie Taubensee may become a footnote in the record book for being involved in one of the most one-sided trades in history. Cleveland swapped Taubensee, a career backup catcher, to the Astros in December 1991 for Lofton. In 1993 Lofton had the finest season of any Indians center fielder since Larry Doby as he stole a Tribe-record 70 bases and garnered a .325 average.
Myers's 53 Saves Set New National League Record
Normally a reliever on a team that struggles to break .500 has little to show in the way of individual stats, but in 1993 Cubs bullpenner Randy Myers was a stunning exception. Though Chicago posted just an 84-78 won-lost mark, Myers set a new National League record for saves when he nailed down 53 of the Cubs' 84 victories. The hard-throwing southpaw averaged more than a strikeout per inning with a 3.11 ERA in 1993.
Check out more headlines from the 1993 baseball season on the next page.
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More 1993 Baseball Season HeadlinesBelow are more headlines from the 1993 baseball season, including Sammy Sosa joining the Cubs and Joe Carter making the run that won the 1993 World Series.
Lee Smith Becomes First to Ring Up 400 Career Saves
By the close of the 1993 season this hurler was headed for the Hall of Fame even though he possessed only a 67-78 career won-lost record. That's because Lee Smith in 1993 also became the first pitcher ever to collect 400 career saves. Smith's milestone save came with the Yankees, who acquired him late in the year for a stretch drive that failed to materialize.
Andres Galarraga Hits .370
The Cardinals saw no reason to retain Andres Galarraga when he hit just .243 in 1992 after tumbling to .219 the year before. But the first sacker regained his old form and more when he joined the expansion Rockies. The nine-year veteran hiked his career average a phenomenal 12 points, from .267 to .279, ripping National League hurlers to the tune of .370 and garnering the senior loop batting crown.
Sammy Sosa Joins 30/30 Club
Like Andres Galarraga, Sammy Sosa in 1993 jolted the many pundits who'd given up on him. After collecting just 37 homers in his previous four seasons combined, Sosa hammered 33 round-trippers in 1993, his first full season playing in the friendly confines of Wrigley Field. By combining his 33 dingers with 36 steals, Sosa became the Cubs' first-ever 30/30 performer.
Controversy in Chicago: Bo Jackson Starts, George Bell Benched
George Bell of the White Sox shook hands with Toronto hurler Dave Stewart prior to game three of the 1993 ALCS at SkyDome. Bo Jackson pointedly avoided eye contact with his Sox teammate. At the beginning of the championship series, Jackson was named the White Sox's starting designated hitter by manager Gene Lamont, bringing howls of protest from Bell, who had served in the role all season. Jackson went 0-for-10 in the series, causing fans as well as pundits to question the wisdom of Lamont's decision.
Phils Down Braves in Ten
John Kruk was greeted by his Phils teammates as he crossed the plate with the winning run in the tenth inning of the opening game of the 1993 NLCS. After doubling earlier in the inning, Kruk was chased home by sub third sacker Kim Batiste's single to left. An errant throw by Batiste had allowed the Braves to score the tying run in the top of the ninth inning, sending the game into extra innings.
Paul Molitor Bags 1993 Series MVP Award
1993 Series MVP Paul Molitor pokes yet another of his 12 hits against the Phillies. When the bat of the Blue Jays designated hitter came out of the SkyDome starting gate smoking, Toronto pilot Cito Gaston rearranged his offense, installing Molitor at third base in place of Ed Sprague once the Series moved to Philadelphia for games three through five. Molitor collected 22 total bases to go with his 12 hits for a .917 slugging average.
Mitch Williams Blasted in 1993 Series
Mitch Williams bagged 43 saves on a 3.34 ERA during the regular season in 1993 and then continued to shine in the NLCS, racking up two saves and a 1.69 ERA in four outings. His 1993 World Series line, however, showed a 20.25 ERA and two losses in three appearances, including the disastrous finale.
Joe Carter Celebrates 1993 Series Win
Joe Carter jumped for joy as he headed toward home with the run that won the 1993 World Series. Carter's three-run homer off Mitch Williams scored Rickey Henderson and Paul Molitor ahead of him and gave Toronto a come-from-behind 8-6 win. The Series featured a string of high-scoring games sandwiched around Curt Schilling's 2-0 shutout gem in game five that saved the Phils for one more round and set up Carter's heroics.
The next page highlights key events and details from the 1993 baseball season.
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1993 Baseball Season HighlightsIn the 1993 baseball season, the Toronto Blue Jays went on to win their second consecutive World Series Championship. Blue Jay Paul Molitor, the American League hit leader, was named the 1993 World Series MVP. Below, you will find the highlights from the 1993 baseball season:
- The Phillies capture their fifth pennant in franchise history -- their first since 1983.
- The Blue Jays defeat the White Sox in six games in ALCS.
- In a bid to win their third straight pennant, the Braves instead fall to the Phillies in six games in the NLCS.
- When the Phillies and Blue Jays tally 29 runs in game four of the 1993 World Series, a new 20th century record is set for the most runs in a postseason game. Mitch Williams is the loser in this 15-14 slugfest.
- Toronto becomes first team since 1977-78 Yankees to win consecutive world championships.
- Blue Jays free-agent acquisition Paul Molitor bags 1993 World Series MVP Award.
Carlos Baerga, second
baseman for the Indians,
had a stellar hitting
season in 1993.
- Carlos Baerga is the first second sacker ever to collect 200 or more hits, 20 or more homers, and 100 or more RBI two seasons in a row.
- Danny Jackson of the Phils becomes the third pitcher in history to start a WS game with three different teams.
- Jack McDowell captures the American League Cy Young Award with a 22-10 record. He is the American League's sole 20-game winner.
- Free-agent acquisition Greg Maddux leads the Braves and the majors with a 2.36 ERA.
- Maddux also paces the National League in innings pitched (267) and CGs (eight) and is third in strikeouts with 197.
- For his stellar work, Maddux earns his second straight Cy Young Award.
- Barry Bonds posts a .677 SA, highest by a National League player since 1948, when Stan Musial slugged .702.
- Bonds, the National League MVP, leads the National League in homers (46) and RBI (123).
- Colorado's Andres Galarraga is the first player on a first-year expansion team to win batting title.
- Mike Piazza of the Dodgers breaks records for a rookie catcher with 35 homers, 112 RBI, and .561 SA.
- Randy Myers of the Cubs sets a new National League record with 53 saves.
- Braves become the first 20th century team to blank an opponent for an entire season when they go 13-0 versus Colorado.
- Phils are the third team in three years to win a pennant after finishing in division basement the previous season.
- The A's are the first team since the 1915 Philadelphia Athletics to finish in last place after having the best record in their league the previous year.
- Kenny Lofton breaks his own one-year-old Cleveland record when he swipes 70 bases.
- Lenny Dykstra of the Phils tops the National League in hits with 194. His 143 runs are the most by a National League player since 1932.
- Anthony Young's record 27 straight losses break Cliff Curtis's old mark.
- Sparky Anderson becomes first manager since Connie Mack to manage 24 consecutive years in majors.
- Blue Jays John Olerud, Paul Molitor, and Roberto Alomar finish 1-2-3 in the American League batting race. Toronto is first team since 1893 Phillies to have its loop's top three hitters.
- Dykstra (129), Darren Daulton (117), and John Kruk (111) are first trio of teammates since 1949 to garner 100 walks in a season.
- Reggie Jackson is the only new selection to the Hall of Fame in 1993.
- Molitor leads the majors in hits with 211.
- Lance Johnson of White Sox tops the American League with 14 triples. He is the first player ever to win two three-bagger crowns in seasons in which he failed to hit a single home run.
- John Olerud's 54 doubles are the most in the majors since 1978, when Hal McRae also had 54.
- Florida's Chuck Carr sets a record for the most steals by a player on a first-year expansion team when he tops the National League with 58 thefts.
See the next page for more highlights of the 1993 baseball season.
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More 1993 Baseball Season Highlights
Below are more highlights of the 1993 baseball season, including Kevin Appier winning the American League ERA crown and Phil Plantier setting an all-time record with 100 RBI on just 111 hits:
- San Francisco is the first team since 1980 Orioles to fail to win a division title despite posting 100 or more victories. The Giants' 103 victories are the most by a division or league runner-up since the 162-game schedule was adopted.
- The Expos' 94 wins are one short of the club record of 95, set in 1979.
- The Phils top the National League in runs (877), while the Giants lead the loop in BA (.276).
- Atlanta posts far and away the lowest staff ERA in majors at 3.14.
- Maddux's mound teammate Tom Glavine ties San Francisco's John Burkett for the National League lead in wins (22).
- Seattle's Randy Johnson paces majors with 308 strikeouts, the most by an American League southpaw since 1971, when Mickey Lolich also fanned 308.
- The National League strikeout king is Jose Rijo of Cincinnati, with 227.
- Jeff Montgomery of the Royals and Toronto stopper Duane Ward tie for the American League save crown with 45.
- Kevin Appier of the Royals wins American League ERA crown with a 2.56 mark.
- Jimmy Key, the Yankees' most important off-season free-agent signing, tops the American League with a .750 winning percentage.
- Dave Winfield collects his 3,000th career hit off Jose Mesa of the Indians.
- San Diego's Phil Plantier sets an all-time record with 100 RBI on just 111 hits. His .240 BA is one of the lowest ever by a player with 100-plus RBI.
- For the 12th straight season, Jesse Orosco makes at least 45 mound appearances.
- Colorado's Andres Galarraga's .370 BA is the best ever by a first-year expansion player and the highest in the National League since 1987.
- Galarraga's .602 SA sets record for a player on a first-year expansion team.
- Playing half their games in "Mile High" Denver, the Rockies produce the worst ERA in majors (5.41).
- Albert Belle's 129 RBI give Cleveland its second American League RBI leader since 1965.
- Frank Thomas bags the American League MVP Award.
- Juan Gonzalez of Texas repeats as the American League homer champ with 46. He also bags slugging crown with a .632 SA.
- On September 7, Mark Whiten of the Cards clubs four homers and 12 RBI, tying Jim Bottomley's all-time single-game RBI record.
- The Cubs' Sammy Sosa joins 30/30 club with 33 homers and 36 swipes.
- Cal Ripken ties a loop record for shortstops when he leads the American League in assists for the seventh time.
- Bo Jackson, playing with an artificial hip after missing all of 1992, hits .232 for the White Sox in 85 games.
- Giants third sacker Matt Williams, after a dismal season in 1992, clouts 38 homers and logs 110 RBI.
- Williams and Barry Bonds rip 84 homers, most by a pair of Giants since the days of Willie Mays and Willie McCovey.
- Bonds wins his second straight National League MVP Award, vindicating the Giants for making him the most expensive free-agent signee to date.
- Tim Salmon of the Angels parlays his 31 homers to win the American League ROTY honors.
- Piazza's overwhelming rookie year brings him the National League's top yearling honor.
- The Indians play their final game in Cleveland Stadium, the Tribe's home since 1932.
- For the first time in team history, Cleveland draws over two million fans both at home and on the road.
- The Pirates, in pursuit of their fourth straight division title, instead plummet to 12 games below .500.
- Dodgers shortstop Jose Offerman leads all National League performers in errors with 37.
- Lee Smith becomes the first hurler to collect 400 career saves when he finishes the season with 401.
- Dodgers center fielder Brett Butler leads the National League in singles for a record fourth straight season.
- Two Cleveland relievers, Tim Crews and Steve Olin, are killed in a preseason boating accident.
- Gonzalez is the first player since Jim Rice in 1977-78 to win consecutive American League home run crowns.
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