October 23

This Day in History

Sports

Oct 23, 1993:

Carter homers to win World Series

On October 23, 1993, Toronto Blue Jay Joe Carter does what every kid dreams of—he wins the World Series for his team by whacking a ninth-inning home run over the SkyDome’s left-field wall. It was the first time the World Series had ended with a home run since Pittsburgh’s Bill Mazeroski homered to break a 9-9 tie with the Yankees in the seventh game of the 1960 series, and it was the first time in baseball history that a team won the championship with a come-from-behind home run.

The Blue Jays were leading the series three games to two, but thanks to a five-run seventh inning (punctuated by a three-run blast from outfielder Lenny Dykstra), the Philadelphia Phillies were ahead 6-5 in the ninth. It looked like the Phils would tie the series and force a seventh game—but then they brought reliever Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams out of the bullpen. Though Williams had saved an impressive 45 games that season, he’d earned his nickname by throwing wild pitches when his team was in a tight spot, and he’d already blown a 14-9 lead for the Phillies in Game 4.

Williams did just what the Blue Jays were hoping he’d do. First he walked leadoff batter Rickey Henderson in four straight pitches. Then, after Devon White finally popped out to left field after nine pitches, Williams gave up a single to Series MVP Paul Molitor. With Henderson on second and Molitor on first, Joe Carter stepped up to the plate.

Carter took two balls, then two strikes. Then he cracked a low slider hard toward the left-field pole. "Ninety-nine times out of a hundred," he said later, "I hook that pitch way foul." But this time, he didn’t. The ball swerved right and disappeared over the wall.

"It was the ultimate sports fantasy," Carter said. His memorable homer won the game and the series, the highest-scoring in history (81 runs in all) and the Blue Jays’ second championship in a row. And it put Carter alongside celebrated hitters like Bobby Thomson, whose immortal "Shot Heard ‘Round the World" won the 1951 National League pennant for the New York Giants.

On that same day the next year, the French sailor Isabelle Autissier set a record in the first phase of the famous BOC round-the-world yacht race: She made it to Cape Town from Charleston in 35 days, 8 hours and 52 minutes. The second-place yacht was 1,200 miles behind her. Later in the race, a huge wave overturned Autissier’s yacht when she was nearly 1,000 miles off the coast of Australia. She was stranded in the ocean for four days until an Australian Navy helicopter rescued her from the deck of her damaged ship.

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