Thursday, October 30, 2014

1992 toronto blue jays

this post covers the 1992 toronto blue jays and cards numbered 294 to 296 in the set. here are the fronts:
and backs:
here, very near the end of the set, we get a new team, a new stadium on the back, and a new name on the checklist - all thanks to the first canadian team to win the world series!

what team is this?: the 1992 world champion toronto blue jays

why this team?: as noted, the '92 blue jays were the first canadian team to win the world series, as they defeated the braves in six games after taking out the oakland a's in the alcs.  they were 96-66 on the regular season, and won the al east by 4 games over the brewers.

which players are featured?: 40-year old dave winfield, 37-year old jack morris, and 32-year old joe carter.

why these players?:  winfield served as the team's dh while finishing second on the team in batting average, home runs and rbi, morris led the club with 21 wins, and carter was the one who finished ahead of winfield in homers and runs batted in.  let's break it down.

dave winfield hit 26 homers, drove in 108 runs, and had a .290 batting average as the blue jays' designated hitter in 1992 - the first year that he was primarily used as a dh.  he had not appeared in the postseason since 1981 when he struggled in the world series and was given the "mr. may" moniker by yankee owner george steinbrenner.  this time, winfield hit a pair of home runs in the alcs against the a's, and then exorcised any world series demons with the game and series winning double in the 11th inning of game 6 off of the braves' charlie leibrandt, the subject of his memorable moments card.

jack morris had been part of the 1991 twins team that beat the blue jays in the alcs, but he joined the blue jays as a free agent for the 1992 season and promptly led the league in wins.  unfortunately, the 1991 world series mvp who pitched so brilliantly in game 7 of that series against the braves, did not pitch well in the 1992 postseason.  he was 0-1 in the alcs against the a's, although the team was 1-1 in his starts, and the loss he suffered was a complete game effort in game 1.  against the braves in the world series, morris again made two starts but this time lost them both - game 1 to tom glavine and game 5 to john smoltz in a rematch of the final game of the 1991 world series.

joe carter was in his second season with the blue jays in 1992.  he hit 34 home runs and drove in 119 runs that year finishing second in the league in the rbi category.  he hit a home run in game 6 of the alcs against the a's to give the blue jays a lead they would not surrender en route to their first pennant, and then he hit two more homers in the world series.  the second of carter's world series home runs came in game 3 and again put the blue jays on the board in a game that they would go on to win.

the stadium on the back is...?: skydome, which opened in 1989, and is still the home of the blue jays, although now it is known as rogers centre.

did upper deck get it right?: first of all, the blue jays' logo upper deck used on each of these cards is not correct for the 1992 team.  the blue jay with the maple leaf behind it came into play in 1997 - back in '92, the team was still using the original logo with a smaller maple leaf beside the blue jay.

that leads into the photo selection.  winfield only spent one season in toronto, so we know his photo comes from 1992.  morris was there for two seasons, and the photo used could be from '92 or 1993.  carter's photo, however, is obviously from much later in his career. carter remained with the blue jays through the 1997 season, which (as mentioned above) was the first year that they used the logo seen on carter's sleeve, so we know the photo is from '97, not '92.

as for the players, i have kept in mind that some of the key players on this team, such as roberto alomar and jon olerud, were still active in 2004 and so were not considered for this set.  winfield and morris had previously appeared in the set, but both make sense for this team, too.  joe carter is also a no-brainer.  other players who might have made sense include devon white, jimmy key, and juan guzman, but i have no complaints.

is this team timeless?:  yes, although the 1993 team may be more memorable because of joe carter's walk-off series winner against the phillies.  still, this was the first team from outside the united states to win the world series and so i consider it to be a timeless one.

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