Jays' Bailor sees the best and worst of times Coach was there for snowy start

October 26, 1992|By Jim Henneman | Jim Henneman,Staff Writer

ATLANTA -- As the Toronto Blue Jays savored their world championship early yesterday morning, one man standing alone in the corner of the clubhouse could appreciate most what had taken place.

"I've gone from walking in snow to walking in champagne," said LTC first-base coach Bob Bailor. He was the only one present who was in uniform April 7, 1977, when the Blue Jays played their first game -- with snow flurries decorating Exhibition Stadium.

"I feel like I've come full cycle," said Bailor, who was considered the best unprotected prospect in the Orioles organization when he was selected by the Blue Jays.

Two members of the present team, disabled pitcher Dave Stieb and infielder Alfredo Griffin, are former teammates -- and along the way he played against rookie catcher Ed Sprague's father.

"It's a wonderful feeling, because it's a great town and a great organization," said Bailor, who finished his career in the National League before returning to the Blue Jays organization. "I would have liked to have spent my whole career with this team. But one of the things that makes this organization so successful is that they [the front office] don't let guys stay beyond their time. It's hard, but that's part of baseball."

In another part of the room were two players who could become highly visible examples of the Blue Jays' tough self-evaluation. Pat Borders hit .438 and was named World Series MVP, and right-hander Mike Timlin was the pitcher when the deciding Game 6 ended.

It's very possible that neither will be protected in the coming draft and could be lost to one of the two new National League teams. But early yesterday morning, amid the celebrating, Borders and Timlin were unconcerned by that possibility.

"When the game finally ended, I didn't realize it," Borders said. "I just stood there for an instant after the third out. They [the Braves] had battled back so many times . . . they were such a good team. I couldn't believe they finally made the last out."

Timlin, the pitcher who recorded that last out -- and the seventh pitcher used by manager Cito Gaston in Game 6 -- was asked how he managed to handle the pressure-packed situation.

"Well, I had to go back to Dunedin [in the Florida State League] on rehabilitation for a while this year," said Timlin, 26, in his second major-league season. "When I came in, I just tried to make out like I was pitching in a Single-A game. Of course, I had Pat Borders behind the plate, so that made it a little different."

And the Blue Jays anticipated Otis Nixon's game-ending bunt. "He even bunted the ball right where Cito said he would," said Timlin.

World Series results

1982: St.L. (NL) 4, Mil. (AL) 3

1983: Balt. (AL) 4, Phi. (NL) 1

1984: Det. (AL) 4, S.D. (NL) 1

1985: K.C. (AL) 4, St.L. (NL) 3

1986: N.Y. (NL) 4, Bos. (AL) 3

1987: Min. (AL) 4, St.L. (NL) 3

1988: L.A. (NL) 4, Oak. (AL) 1

1989: Oak. (AL) 4, S.F. (NL) 0

1990: Cin. (NL) 4, Oak. (AL) 0

1991: Minn. (AL) 4, Atl. (NL) 3

1992: Tor. (AL) 4, Atl. (NL) 2

* -- tie game

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