Alomar's Epic Homer Off Dennis Eckersley
I've been sharing my memories of the Toronto Blue Jays, absorbed during the fanatical years of 1983-1993. I started by writing about the ten home run attack in September of 1987 and followed that up by recalling the day we clinched in 1985. This time, I'm revisiting Thanksgiving, 1992.
It wasn't really Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving was Monday but my family was celebrating on Sunday, October 11th, the day game four of the ALCS was played between the Jays and Oakland Athletics. We were up two games to one in the series, but the A's jumped on us early and often in game four, and by the eighth inning we were down 6-1. We kept the television tuned into the game in the family room while our extended family carved up a turkey in the dining room. I chose the seat with the best view of the action, just in case.
We scored three runs in the eighth to give us hope. Roberto Alomar was the catalyst, leading off with a double before stealing third and coming home on Joe Carter's single. Down by two heading into the ninth, things looked bleak. Dennis Eckersley was on the mound to close things out and he was money in the bank. At least, he was money in the bank.
With all the eating and chatting going on, I was following the action with one eye, already having dealt with the liklihood we'd be tied in the series 2-2. It was a 6-1 game when we sat down to eat and the fact it was 6-4 in the ninth was just a little Thanksgiving tease. It didn't take long for the Jays to make a statement in the ninth, however, as Devon White led off with a single and took third on a Ricky Henderson error. That brought Alomar to the plate with a chance to tie things up at six. What happened next lifted our spirits but destroyed our dinner. Alomar took Eckersley deep.
I saw Alomar's hit from the dinner table. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one who did, because I was the only one who reacted. I let out a loud cheer and left my seat for a spot in front of the television. I was quickly met there by my brothers and cousins who just realized that 6-1 hopeless game was now tied. There was a major pile-on as we celebrated the mortality of Eckersley and watched replay after replay of Alomar raising his arms when he realized it was out and showing Ecks up for his earlier fist pumping action.
We finally won this game on a sacrifice fly in the eleventh before losing game five in Oakland and winning large in the clinching game six at SkyDome. Prior to 1992 the Jays had played three ALCS' and lost them all. Alomar's home run brought us back from the brink and showed us we could win these series. We would never lose another.
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