Alomar plays the hero

No one has ever suited up in a Blue Jay uniform that had more career homers than Frank Thomas. At 499, the 39-year-old designated hitter is also just one shy of joining the exclusive ‘500 club’, of which there are only 20 other members. That will certainly be a big home run for Thomas, and will also serve as a unique accomplishment in Blue Jay history.
As a franchise, the Blue Jays have had several big-time home runs. But perhaps the biggest — prior to Joe Carter’s heroics in the ’93 World Series, of course — came off the bat of Roberto Alomar in the 1992 ALCS against the Oakland Athletics. Just how important was that homer? It served as the turning point in the series, putting the Blue Jays ahead three games to one, and more importantly, gave Toronto a boost of momentum that they rode all the way to their first World Series title.
Moment39alomar_58989With the Jays entering the contest with a 2-1 series lead, Game 4 was definitely the pivotal moment in the ’92 ALCS. It didn’t start out well for Toronto, however, as Jack Morris struggled out of the gate and left in the fourth inning trailing 5-1. Toronto was down 6-1 in the eighth, but rallied to score three runs to pull within two heading into the final inning.
With Dennis Eckersley on the mound, the same Dennis Eckersley that saved 51 games in 1992 en route to earning both Cy Young and AL MVP honours, the Jays’ chances looked bleak. Still, Eckersley had already allowed a pair of RBI singles in the eighth before getting out of the jam. After striking out Ed Sprague, Eckersley pumped his fist and pointed his finger while glaring into the Blue Jays dugout.
Little did the 47,732 in attendance know, Toronto would get the last laugh on this day. After Devon White singled and advanced to third on a Rickey Henderson error, Alomar worked Eckersley to a full count before belting the biggest home run — up to that point — in Blue Jays history. Moments after the ball left his bat, Alomar raised his arms in celebration, savouring the key moment in what he later called “the best game I ever played in my whole life”.
With the game tied 6-6 and the momentum now on their side, the Jays would go on to win in the 11th inning thanks to a Pat Borders sac fly. Shortly after, Tom Henke wrapped things up to give the visitors a 3-1 series lead and the confidence they needed to make it to — and eventually win — their first ever World Series title.
Eckersley later acknowledged Alomar’s homer with the following statement: “That’s the one that hurts the most. I got in the car with my wife afterward and cried like a baby. I hadn’t cried that way since I was in Little League.”
I’m sure the Jays hadn’t celebrated that way since Little League, either.

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