Wait'll Next Year
As seasons go, this was not exactly a banner one for baseball. Fay Vincent was forced to resign as commissioner. Talk of a lockout next spring has increased. The Giants have all but packed their bags for a move to Florida. The Angels" bus crashed. Steve Howe was suspended for life (which, as George Steinbrenner has proved, means at least two years). Kirk Gibson and Gary Carter retired, and George Brett has talked about following suit. And Rob Dibble engaged in a clubhouse wrestling match with manager Lou Piniella.
On the field, however, it was another marvelous year—except, of course, when the Dodgers were playing. Robin Yount was admitted to the 3,000-hit club, and at week's end Brett was about to join him. Jeff Reardon became the alltime saves leader. Gary Sheffield entered the season's final week with a shot, albeit a slim one, at becoming the first Triple Crown winner in the National League since 1937.
As usual, baseball had its share of surprises. Who would ever have thought that the season's only no-hitter would be thrown by the Dodgers' Kevin Gross; that the only National League player to hit three homers in a game would be Atlanta shortstop Jeff Blauser; that Jose Canseco would be a Ranger; and that the National League strikeout leader, David Cone, would be anchoring the pennant drive for the Blue Jays?
Whew, what a year! Let's take one final look back at the best and the worst moments of 1992.
Play of the Year
Otis Nixon, Braves: On July 25, Nixon gave chase to a long fly to right center and, on the dead run, leaped and reached over the 10-foot-high wall in Atlanta- Fulton County Stadium to rob Pittsburgh's Andy Van Slyke of a two-run homer. The play, which came with one out in the ninth, saved a 1-0 win for the Braves and kept them two names ahead of the Reds.
Best Offensive Performance
Milwaukee's 22-2 annihilation of Toronto on Aug. 28. The Brewers set an American League record for hits (31) and singles (26) in a nine-inning game. David Cone, in his first game in a Blue Jay uniform, charted the pitches for five innings and then turned the duty over to Jack Morris. "Good thing." said starter Jimmy Key, "or he'd have had to ice his wrist."
Most Offensive Performance
Seattle 4, Texas 3, in 16 innings on Sept. 25. A major league-record 54 players were used in this tedious, inconsequential game. The Mariners called on 11 pitchers, another record. The game lasted five hours and eight minutes, and 462 pitches were thrown. "It seemed like there were 462 pitchers" said a scout who covered the game. Thirty-two runners were left on base, 20 by Texas. The Rangers left the bases loaded in the ninth, 10th and 12th. Seattle left nine runners on between the ninth and the 14th. In the Texas ninth, six players—three pitchers, two hitters and a pinch runner—were needed to complete an intentional walk.
Triple of the Year
Sam Horn, the Orioles' lumbering DH, who's still without a steal or a sacrifice bunt in the sixth year of his big league career, got his first triple on May 5, in his 879th at bat. "Most triples are photo finishes," said Baltimore pitcher Mike Flanagan. "That was an oil painting." Horn, however, will probably finish with one more triple than the White Sox's George Bell, who, with one week to play, was on the verge of becoming the only player in major league history to go three consecutive 500-at bat seasons without one.
Best Single-Game Performance
On Sept. 8, Yankee outfielder Danny Tartabull became the 23rd player in history to drive in nine runs in a game. He went 5 for 5 with two homers, a double and two singles off four Baltimore pitchers. He missed a shot at Tony Lazzeri's league record of 11 RBIs in a game when he was pulled from the game in the eighth.