It was 25 years ago this week that the Blue Jays were in pursuit of their second consecutive World Series title, and squared off against the Chicago White Sox.
It’s hard to believe it, but it’s been 25 years since the Blue Jays last won a World Series title, with the most recent coming back in 1993.
Back then the playoffs were a little different, as the Wild Card system hadn’t been introduced just yet, and 1993 was actually the last season before the extra playoff spot was introduced. The plan was to roll things out in 1994, but a player’s strike ultimately lead to it’s delayed use until 1995.
As a result, the Blue Jays didn’t have to play multiple rounds to get to the American League Championship series, and advanced straight ALCS after winning the East division to square off against the west division winning Chicago White Sox.
One of the many treats on social media this past season has been the tireless work of one Twitter user that goes by the handle @RealTime93Jays. This account has been active throughout the year, reminding us of anniversaries from that glorious season, and just how good that squad was back then in the championship days.
Personally, I was just as much a fanatic of the team back then, and I remember the vaunted lineup and pitching staff well. Heck, I can still list off some of their final stat lines from the 1993 season, one which included the Blue Jays having the top three finishers in the AL batting race with John Olerud winning at .363, Paul Molitor coming in second at .332, and Roberto Alomar rounding out the podium with a .326 batting average.
However, one graphic that @realtime93Jays put up this week really put things in perspective as far as how dominant that lineup was. It was a comparison chart between the Blue Jays and the White Sox, printed in the Toronto Star prior to the beginning of the ALCS.
Keep in mind, the White Sox were 94-68 that year and had a pretty outstanding roster in their own right. However, when you compare their AL West championship roster to what the Blue Jays had employed that season, it shouldn’t really have been that close.
The Blue Jays featured a top six in their lineup that included Rickey Henderson, Devon White, Paul Molitor, Joe Carter, John Olerud and Roberto Alomar, with the eventual Hall of Fame second baseman usually hitting sixth (!) after Henderson’s arrival. That’s before you start talking about the starting rotation, and the dominant bullpen as well.
The series also had a few other significant highlights, as the best basketball player in the world at the time, Michael Jordan, threw out the first pitch in Chicago. It was also notable, because it was the following day that he would make this shocking announcement that he was retiring from the NBA in order to pursue a career as a professional baseball player. (I still have his rookie card, it didn’t work out like I hoped).
I also remember it well because after the Blue Jays lost in Game four to tie the series at 2-2, it was the first time I was actually worried that the Blue Jays wouldn’t be able to pull it off. Fortunately, my worries were unnecessary as the club managed to win games five and six, moving on to face off against the Philadelphia Phillies before winning their second championship.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been two and a half decades since that glorious time in team history, but it’s also a good reminder that the Blue Jays were once on top of the baseball world, and there’s no reason it can’t happen again.