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On This Date in October 24, 1992: Canada's Team

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

The Toronto Blue Jays win the first international World Series, beating the Atlanta Braves in six games. In the Game 6 finale at Fulton County Stadium, Toronto won 4-3 in 11 innings thanks to Dave Winfield’s two-run double. Besides being the first team from Canada to play in the World Series, the Blue Jays were the first team managed by an African American (Cito Gaston) to play in the World Series as Pat Borders was named World Series MVP.

The Toronto Blue Jays, a 1977 expansion team, had been teasing their fans for several years. In 1985 the first year of the best-of-seven ALCS, they blew a 3-1 series lead to the eventual World Champion Kansas City Royals. Two years later, the Blues Jays suffered a collapse in the final week of the regular season, losing the American League East to the Detroit Tigers on the last day of the season. In 1989, Toronto opened SkyDome, the first retractable roof stadium in MLB, and lost the ALCS to eventual champion Oakland Athletics in five games. They also fell in five games in 1991 against the eventual-champion Minnesota Twins. Finally, in 1992, the Blue Jays reached the promised land, beating the Athletics in six games as the late-season acquisition of David Cone from the New York Mets put them over the top after a 96-66 record in the regular season.

The Atlanta Braves, managed by Bobby Cox, who worked the Jays in 1985, played in the Fall Classic for the second straight season after a 98-64 regular season record. The Braves needed a miracle to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NLCS, as Francisco Cabrera’s two-out two-run pinch-hit single in the ninth inning of Game 7. The Braves were looking to take that final step after losing a classic seven-game series against the Twins in 1991.

In Game 1, the Braves saw a familiar foe on the mound, as Jack Morris, the 1991 World Series MVP with the Twins, got the start for Toronto. A year earlier, Morris pitched a 10-inning complete game in the Twins' 1-0 win in Game 7. The Braves, meanwhile, countered with Tom Glavine. This time it was Glavine going the distance, as he allowed one run on four hits with six strikeouts. Meanwhile, Damon Berryhill hit a three-run home run for Atlanta in the sixth inning to provide all the Braves' offense in a 3-1 win.

All eyes were on the National Anthem in Game 2, as the U.S. Marine Color Guard had hung the Canadian Flag upside down while singer Tom Cochrane botched “O Canada.” David Cone got Toronto's start and was ineffective in allowing four runs while exiting in the fifth inning. John Smoltz meanwhile pitched seven and a third and left with a 4-3 lead. In the ninth inning, the Braves had Jeff Reardon on the mound for the save when he issued a one-out walk to Derek Bell. One batter later, Ed Sprague hit a two-run pinch-hit home run to give Toronto a 5-4 lead. Tom Henke would pitch around trouble in the ninth as the Blue Jays held on a went home with a series split between Atlanta.

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In the first World Series game played in Canada, the Blue Jays sent Juan Guzman to the mound against Sean Avery. The game was tight throughout as Joe Carter gave Toronto an early lead with his second home run of the series in the fourth inning. Devon White stopped an early Braves rally with a brilliant catch running into the center field wall that nearly led to a Triple Play. The Braves answered with an RBI single by David Justice in the sixth inning. Atlanta took a brief lead on an RBI single by Lonnie Smith in the eighth inning, while Kelly Gruber answered in the bottom of the inning with a leadoff home run. With Avery still pitching in the ninth inning, Roberto Alomar led off with a single. After Mark Wohlers came on in relief, Alomar stole a second to get into scoring position. Joe Carter was intentionally walked, following Dave Winfield's sacrifice bunt, Ed Sprague was intentionally walked by Mike Stanton. With the bases loaded, Jeff Reardon came on to pitch, and gave up a walk-off single to Candy Maldonado as the Jays won 3-2 to take control of the series.

The Blue Jays would go on to take a 3-1 series lead, as Jimmy Key outdueled Tom Glavine in Game 4, allowing one run on five hits in seven and two-thirds innings, with six strikeouts, while Glavine went the distance for Atlanta but lost in hard luck 2-1, as Pat Borders and Devon White provided the offense for Toronto. However, with a chance to win the World Series at home in Game 5, the Blue Jays were beaten by the Braves 7-2, as Jack Morris took his second loss of the series, thanks in part to a Grand Slam off the bat of Lonnie Smith in the fifth inning.

In Game 6, the Blue Jays had David Cone on the mound in Atlanta against Sean Avery. Cone was much stronger than Game 2, allowing one run on four hits while striking out six. The Blue Jays took a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning on a home run by Candy Maldonado. Meanwhile, Toronto tried to bride their bullpen together for the final three innings, as Todd Stottlemeyer, David Wells, and Duane Ward combined allowed one hit over two innings. However, in the ninth inning Closer Tom Henke faltered, allowing Otis Nixon to drive home the tying run with two outs. After Charlie Leibrandt pitched a scoreless tenth for Atlanta, Jimmy Key retired the last two batters for Toronto in relief of Henke, who started the tenth by inducing Terry Pendleton to a groundout. In the 11th inning, Devon White reached base with one out on a hit by a pitch. Roberto Alomar followed with a single after Joe Carter flew out to center; Dave Winfield came up with two outs and delivered a two-run double. With the Blue Jays leading 4-2, Jeff Blauser led off the bottom of the 11th, trying to get Atlanta back in the game after Damon Berryhill reached base on an error by shortstop Manuel Lee. Rafael Belliard bunted the two runners into scoring position. Pinch-Hitter Brian Hunter bounced out to Joe Carter at first to score Blauser while recording the second out. With Mike Timlin on for the final out, Otis Nixon, whose heroics tied the game in the ninth inning, tried to lay down a surprise bunt, but Timlin jumped off the mound and made the throw to Carter to end the game and the World Series with a 4-3 win.