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Series Wrapup

Story

After a one-year hiatus, the Oakland Athletics returned to the top of the A.L. West standings in 1992, capturing their fourth division title in five years by compiling a regular-season record of 96-66.  The defending world-champion Minnesota Twins placed second in the division, six games back, while the Chicago White Sox finished third, 10 games off the pace.

Hardly the powerful Athletics team that dominated the American League from 1988 to 1990, this Oakland squad lacked the swagger and superb pitching of its predecessor.  Only two Oakland hurlers won as many as 15 games, with 17-game winner Mike Moore posting an extremely unimpressive 4.12 ERA.  The A’s finished just fourth in the league with a team mark of 3.73.

Meanwhile, Jose Canseco’s frequent injuries and failure to live up to his MVP form of 1988 earned him a ticket out of Oakland.  The A’s dealt Canseco to Texas for Ruben Sierra and two other players at the end of August, after the enigmatic slugger hit 22 homers, drove in 72 runs, and batted just .246 over the season’s first five months.  Canseco’s departure left Rickey Henderson and Mark McGwire as the team’s primary offensive threats.  An oft-injured and seemingly disinterested Henderson batted .283, scored 77 runs, and stole 48 bases in only 117 games.  McGwire rebounded from a subpar 1991 campaign in which he batted just .201 to hit .268, knock in 104 runs, place second in the league with 42 home runs, and top the circuit with a .585 slugging average.

Fortunately for the A’s, Dennis Eckersley performed brilliantly in relief throughout the season.  The 37-year-old closer earned A.L. MVP and Cy Young honors by going 7-1, with a 1.91 ERA and a league-leading 51 saves.  Eckersley also surrendered just 62 hits in 80 innings of work, while striking out 93 batters and walking only 11.

Minnesota’s Kirby Puckett finished runner-up in the MVP balloting after leading his team to a second-place finish by hitting 19 homers, driving in 110 runs, scoring 104 others, batting .329, and topping the circuit with 210 hits.  

Also placing high in the voting was Chicago’s Frank Thomas, who hit 24 home runs, knocked in 115 runs, scored another 108, batted .323, and led the league with 46 doubles, 122 bases on balls, and a .446 on-base percentage.

While the A’s reestablished themselves as the Western Division’s strongest team, the Toronto Blue Jays continued to reign supreme in the East, winning their second straight division title by concluding the campaign with a record of 96-66 that left them four games ahead of the second-place Milwaukee Brewers.

The Blue Jays featured a well-balanced attack on offense, finishing second in the league with 780 runs scored and 163 home runs, and topping the circuit with a .414 team slugging average.  First baseman John Olerud hit 16 homers, drove in 66 runs, and batted .284.  Centerfielder Devon White homered 17 times, scored 98 runs, and stole 37 bases.  Designated hitter Dave Winfield batted .290, hit 26 home runs, knocked in 108 runs, and scored 92 others.  Right-fielder Joe Carter earned a third-place finish in the A.L. MVP voting by scoring 97 runs and placing among the league leaders with 34 home runs and 119 runs batted in.  Gold Glove second baseman Roberto Alomar led the team with a .310 batting average, 105 runs scored, and 49 stolen bases.

The Blue Jays weren’t quite as strong on the mound, finishing just ninth in the league with a 3.91 team ERA.  Nevertheless, their pitching staff featured two of the circuit’s top starters and one of its most effective relievers.  Jack Morris posted an exceptional 21-6 record, to lead all A.L. hurlers in victories.  Juan Guzman finished 16-5 and placed among the league leaders with a 2.64 earned run average.  Meanwhile, Tom Henke saved 34 games and compiled a 2.26 ERA.

Toronto’s superior team balance proved to be too much for Oakland to overcome in the American League Championship Series.  The Blue Jays defeated the A’s in six games, winning the final contest at home in convincing fashion by a final score of 9-2.  Roberto Alomar earned ALCS MVP honors by batting .423, homering twice, driving in four runs, scoring four others, and stealing five bases.    

The Blue Jays similarly disposed of the Braves in six games in the World Series, even though their National League counterparts outscored them over the course of the Fall Classic by a combined margin of 20-17.  The Blue Jays prevailed by posting all four of their victories by a one-run margin.  Dave Winfield delivered the Series-clinching hit in the top of the 11th inning of Game Six by driving in two runs with a double down the left-field line.  The Braves scored once in the bottom of the frame, but it wasn’t enough as the Blue Jays claimed their first world championship with a 4-3 victory.  Toronto catcher Pat Borders earned Series MVP honors by collecting nine hits in 20 times at-bat, for a .450 batting average.

Other notable events from around the league and players who distinguished themselves over the course of the season included:

• March 30 - In one of the biggest cross-town trades in Chicago baseball history, the Chicago Cubs dealt George Bell to the Chicago White Sox for Sammy Sosa.

• Dave Winfield, at age 41, became the oldest player to hit a home run in World Series play.

• Cleveland’s Carlos Baerga became the first second baseman in American League history to bat .300, collect more than 200 hits, surpass 20 homers, and drive in at least 100 runs in the same season.

• Cleveland rookie Kenny Lofton set an American League record for first-year players by stealing 66 bases.

• Milwaukee shortstop Pat Listach (.290 average, 93 runs, 54 steals) earned A.L. Rookie of the Year honors.

• Detroit's Cecil Fielder hit 35 home runs and led the major leagues with 124 runs batted in, joining Babe Ruth as the only players in baseball history to lead the majors in RBIs three straight years.

• Juan Gonzalez of Texas led the league with 43 home runs.

• Seattle’s Edgar Martinez led the league with a .343 batting average.

• Having suffered through the worst year of his career, Wade Boggs signed with the Yankees as a free agent after the Red Sox failed to offer him a new contract.  

• After helping the Blue Jays win the World Series, David Cone signed a free-agent contract with Kansas City in December.

• Seattle’s Randy Johnson led the league with 241 strikeouts.

• Rollie Fingers and Tom Seaver were inducted into the Hall of Fame.

• Pitcher Hal Newhouser and umpire Bill McGowan were elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee.

• Kevin Brown of Texas tied Jack Morris for the league lead with 21 wins.

• Baltimore inaugurated its new stadium, Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

• Kansas City’s George Brett and Milwaukee’s Robin Yount both collected their 3,000th hits.

• Minnesota’s Jeff Reardon broke Rollie Fingers' record of 341 career saves, concluding the campaign with 357 saves.

• Rickey Henderson became the first player in major league history to garner 1,000 career stolen bases.  He finished the year with 1,042 steals.

• Fay Vincent, under unrelenting pressure, stepped down as commissioner.

Batting

TM G AB R H RBI AVG 2B 3B HR SB CS TB OBP SLG OPSLG GIDP SF SH
BAL 2183 5485 705 1423 680 .237 243 36 148 89 48 2182 .359 .349 .708 139 59 50
BOS 2231 5461 599 1343 567 .214 259 21 84 44 48 1896 .360 .306 .681 117 43 60
CAL 2210 5364 579 1306 537 .227 202 20 88 160 101 1812 .333 .310 .656 137 40 56
CHA 2178 5498 738 1434 686 .228 269 36 110 160 57 2105 .341 .362 .720 134 69 47
CLE 2264 5620 674 1495 637 .223 227 24 127 144 67 2151 .327 .318 .660 140 44 42
DET 2188 5515 791 1411 746 .248 256 16 182 66 45 2245 .373 .372 .745 124 53 43
KCA 2193 5501 610 1411 568 .249 284 42 75 131 71 2004 .338 .354 .693 121 46 45
MIN 2301 5582 747 1544 701 .247 275 27 104 123 74 2185 .350 .330 .681 130 59 46
ML4 2144 5504 740 1477 683 .232 272 35 82 256 115 2065 .336 .315 .668 102 72 61
NYA 2136 5593 733 1462 703 .261 281 18 163 78 37 2268 .375 .435 .810 138 55 26
OAK 2302 5387 745 1389 693 .259 219 24 142 143 59 2082 .379 .385 .765 139 59 72
SEA 2329 5564 679 1466 638 .213 278 24 149 100 55 2239 .339 .316 .669 148 51 52
TEX 2379 5537 682 1387 646 .254 266 23 159 81 44 2176 .352 .343 .696 115 45 56
TOR 2091 5536 780 1458 737 .259 265 40 163 129 39 2292 .379 .396 .794 123 54 26

Pitching

Team G W L IP SO BB BF H HR ERA ER R GC SH SV WP BK
BAL 452 89 73 1464 846 518 6193 1419 124 63.640 617 656 20 9 48 45 6
BOS 490 73 89 1450 943 535 6173 1403 107 67.180 585 669 22 6 39 50 6
CAL 459 72 90 1447 888 532 6154 1449 130 66.340 617 671 26 6 42 42 5
CHA 454 86 76 1462 810 550 6244 1400 123 48.00.00 623 690 21 3 52 35 6
CLE 541 76 86 1470 890 566 6330 1507 159 104.330 672 746 13 4 46 53 12
DET 517 75 87 1437 693 564 6254 1534 155 69.350 736 794 10 2 36 57 3
KCA 502 72 90 1448 834 512 6171 1426 106 99.760 613 667 9 5 44 42 10
MIN 485 90 72 1453 923 479 6086 1391 121 87.200 600 653 16 8 50 52 5
ML4 500 92 70 1456 793 435 6040 1344 127 48.150 556 604 19 6 39 37 8
NYA 470 76 86 1454 851 612 6256 1453 129 88.040 681 746 20 4 44 52 7
OAK 562 96 66 1447 843 601 6204 1396 129 93.020 599 672 8 3 58 67 4
SEA 534 64 98 1444 894 661 6349 1467 129 137.540 730 799 21 7 30 61 6
TEX 521 77 85 1462 1034 598 6325 1471 113 148.190 665 753 19 1 42 72 6
TOR 446 96 66 1441 954 541 6108 1346 124 86.640 627 682 18 5 49 66 6

Fielding

Team ID G TC PO A E Fld% InOuts SB CS CS% PB
BAL 2612 7463 5609 1739 115 .971 17568 131 44 0 15
BOS 2677 7466 5393 1910 163 .969 17387 115 51 0 8
CAL 2684 7441 5435 1849 157 .976 17351 120 70 0 5
CHA 2740 7575 5615 1815 145 .969 17538 120 57 1.00 13
CLE 2716 7527 5592 1767 168 .956 17640 109 64 0 9
DET 2711 7488 5549 1798 141 .959 17229 102 61 0 8
KCA 2665 7443 5532 1774 137 .973 17367 107 52 0 14
MIN 2828 7391 5473 1809 109 .969 17434 152 62 0 14
ML4 2665 7395 5529 1770 96 .980 17482 95 53 0 5
NYA 2604 7440 5536 1772 132 .970 17434 164 62 0 16
OAK 2931 7338 5588 1602 148 .958 17367 118 76 0 8
SEA 2823 7373 5456 1796 121 .956 17340 140 62 1.00 9
TEX 2931 7401 5489 1720 192 .933 17528 87 84 2.00 19
TOR 2592 7218 5475 1628 115 .985 17289 144 62 1.00 15

West

team W L Att Rk SOP
Oakland Athletics 96 66 2494160 1 843
Minnesota Twins 90 72 2482428 2 923
Chicago White Sox 86 76 2681156 3 810
Texas Rangers 77 85 2198231 4 1034
Kansas City Royals 72 90 1867689 5 834
California Angels 72 90 2065444 5 888
Seattle Mariners 64 98 1651367 7 894

Central

East

team W L Att Rk SOP
Toronto Blue Jays 96 66 4028318 1 954
Milwaukee Brewers 92 70 1857351 2 793
Baltimore Orioles 89 73 3567819 3 846
Cleveland Indians 76 86 1224094 4 890
New York Yankees 76 86 1748737 4 851
Detroit Tigers 75 87 1423963 6 693
Boston Red Sox 73 89 2468574 7 943

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Tagged:
1992 ALCS, 1992 World Series, American League, Carlos Baerga, Cecil Fielder, Dave Winfield, David Cone, Dennis Eckersley, Devon White, Edgar Martinez, Fay Vincent, Frank Thomas, George Bell, George Brett, Jack Morris, Jeff Reardon, Joe Carter, John Olerud, Jose Canseco, Juan Gonzalez, Juan Guzman, Kenny Lofton, Kevin Brown, Kirby Puckett, Mark McGwire, Mike Moore, Oakland Athletics, Pat Borders, Pat Listach, Randy Johnson, Rickey Henderson, Roberto Alomar, Robin Yount, Ruben Sierra, Sammy Sosa, Tom Henke, Toronto Blue Jays, Wade Boggs

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