It's Game 6 of the 1993 World Series and you're a fan watching the game at home. You see Joe Carter step to the plate and you can just feel the electricity in the air. The Jays have one of their best against the Phillies tough-as-nails closer. The ultimate battle. Man vs. Man. Then it happened....
The 1993 Toronto Blue Jays were a powerful team with the likes of John Olerud, Paul Moliter, Rickey Henderson, Robby Alomar, Devon White, Dave Stewart, Juan Guzman, David Cone and one man whose name is forever synonymous with the 1993 World Series—Joe Carter.
Joe Carter is what many refer to as a journeyman. His career took him to six different teams over a span of 15 years. He only hit over .300 for a full season once in his career and he only hit 35 home runs in a season once. Not your prototypical slugger or the guy you'd want holding a bat with the game on the line, or was he?
What Carter did do was play solid defense (career fielding percentage .981) and show up every day with a smile on his face and a desire to play the game. The same could be said during the 1993 season. Carter anchored the Blue Jays outfield and put up a line of .254/33/121. Solid numbers for a power-hitting, free-swinging outfielder with, at the time, ten years of big league service.
But Joe Carter will not be remembered for any of his career stats. He won’t be remembered for his 396 career home runs. He won’t be remembered for his lifetime .259 batting average or his anemic .306 career on-base percentage. What Carter will be remembered for is Game 6 of the 1993 World Series.
Let me set the scene. The Blue Jays held a three games to two edge over the Phillies and the Series was headed back to “The Great White North” and the cozy confines of Toronto’s Skydome. Paul Molitor (who finished with a .500 avg and won the MVP) tripled home a run in Toronto's three-run first inning that basically set the pace for Game 6. Moliter would add a bases-empty homer in the fifth that moved the Jays ahead of Philly 5-1. The Phillies charged back with a 5-run seventh inning capped off by a three-run homer from centerfielder Lenny Dykstra. The mammoth seventh inning coupled with a Jim Eisenreich RBI in the fourth gave the Phillies a 6-5 advantage going into the bottom of the 9th.
The Phillies stud closer Mitch Williams was given the call from the bullpen and proceeded to walk the first batter he faced (Rickey Henderson) on four pitches. White flied out to left field, but Molitor followed with a clutch single to center. Joe Carter then stepped up to the plate for what would be the defining moment of his career and one of the greatest moments in World Series history. He battled Williams to a 2-2 count and then sent an elbow-high fastball over the left-field fence for the game and the Jays second title in as many years.
Carter proceeded to run around the bases with his arms extended and jumping up and down, as anyone in the right mind would do. I consider this one of the single greatest moments in the history of the game simply because to this day I remember sitting on my couch and watching Carter rip the ball out of the park and the second he made connection, it was gone. It is the moment we all dream of when we sit in bed at night, stand alone on a baseball field after a game when the field lights have long-since been turned down or when we step into the batting cage for the first time.
Everyone wants to be the guy who steps up in the bottom of the ninth and hits the game-winning homerun. Anyone who says they don’t is a liar or simply doesn’t love the game of baseball as much as they should. That moment still stands clear in my mind and, as a baseball fan, sticks out as one of the defining moments of my love for the game.