Friday, April 3, 2009

Back to blogging: Joe Carter

OK, no more blogging vacations. I'm going to get back into it starting today.

Today brings us news that Joe Carter believes his Game 6 home run against the Phillies that ended the 1993 World Series gets overlooked:

"Mine, it will make the top 10 but it's never No. 1, it's never been No. 2, it's always been in the middle of the pack," Carter said Thursday. "Had it been for the Yankees or the Dodgers, then I think it would have been No. 1. But because it was in Toronto, it has not gotten the respect that I think it really should deserve."

For some book projects, I've done a lot of research into clutch baseball moments, and I can tell you exactly why Carter's home run isn't the greatest clutch performance in the history of the World Series:

1. Stakes

2. Drama

First, in Carter's favor, I should point out that his home run came in the bottom of the ninth with the Jays trailing by one. If Carter had struck out, the Jays might have lost and the series would have headed to game 7. There was a lot at stake.

But there was more at stake when Bill Mazeroski hit his famous home run in game 7 of the 1960 World Series, with the Pirates and the Yankees deadlocked. There literally was no tomorrow. (On the other hand, the game was tied and a Mazeroski came to bat with no outs.)

As for Kirk Gibson and his home run in game 1 of the 1988 World Series, there was much less at stake when he hit it than during either Carter's or Maz's moments. But what he has going for him is drama. He limped to the plate. He had two strikes against him. He grounded a foul ball up the line and could barely run it out. It looked like The Natural come to life.

Also working against Carter is that the Blue Jays simply aren't a high-visibility team in the U.S. Carter is right about why people don't remember his shot. But he shouldn't whine about it.

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