MVP Borders hands out credit to his teammates

October 26, 1992|By Peter Schmuck and Jim Henneman | Peter Schmuck and Jim Henneman,Staff Writers

ATLANTA -- Toronto Blue Jays catcher Pat Borders was a most unlikely World Series MVP, but no one ever worked harder to earn a trophy.

Borders hit safely in every one of the Blue Jays' postseason games. He batted .450 with a home run, three RBI and a .750 slugging percentage. He played every inning behind the plate . . . and was under siege from start to finish.

The Atlanta Braves stole 14 bases in 17 attempts. Deion Sanders and Otis Nixon ran the Blue Jays ragged. But Borders was such a consistent offensive force that all was forgiven. He became the fourth catcher in the past 12 years to win at least a share of the MVP trophy, joining Rick Dempsey, Darrell Porter and Steve Yeager.

Borders tried to distribute the credit throughout the Blue Jays clubhouse.

"Look at Dave Winfield," he said. "It couldn't happen to a better guy. He played a lot of years and hadn't gotten a ring. I couldn't be happier for him. Devon White saved a game with that great catch. Joe Carter had a couple of home runs."

Silver lining

Atlanta Braves general manager John Schuerholz was disappointed at a second straight loss in the World Series, but confident that the last hasn't been heard from his team.

"We've played, and lost, two of the most exciting World Series in baseball history," said Schuerholz, a native Baltimorean who will be inducted in to the City College Hall Of Fame (he's already in the one at Towson State) next month. "It hurts, and it's disappointing, but I think this team could be right back again."

The Braves figure to have a somewhat different look, however.

Reliever Alejandro Pena, who was injured and unable to perform in the postseason, outfielder Lonnie Smith and starting pitcher Mike Bielecki could be lost to free agency.

Reliever Jeff Reardon, a late-season acquisition to replace Pena, was not impressive at the end and won't be offered arbitration, meaning he will also depart. And there is a strong suspicion that Schuerholz may force Sanders to decide between baseball or football.

Leadership qualities

Borders admitted that he was something of a skeptic when the Blue Jays acquired veterans Jack Morris and Winfield last winter.

"When we got them, it took me awhile to realize what kind of leaders they were," he said. "But that's what has taken us over the edge."

Agony of defeat again

For the second year in a row, Charlie Leibrandt was the losing pitcher in Game 6 of the World Series. But at least the veteran left-hander gave up the game-winning hits to marquee players.

Last year, Kirby Puckett beat him with a home run. Saturday night/Sunday morning, Winfield hit a two-run double off him to break a 2-2 tie.

Winfield plaudits

Praise for Winfield came from every direction, especially from the man who gambled that he could help lead the Blue Jays to baseball's ultimate prize.

"I think he came over here with the idea that we could do it," general manager Pat Gillick said. "I think he's a great guy and a great human being who hasn't been treated over the years as well as he should have."

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