Before he was an alleged criminal, stealing people’s money*, buying stolen cars*, and showing off his genitalia to housecleaners*, Lenny Dykstra was a hero. And it was on October 10th, 1993, that he sealed his fate as a Philadelphia immortal. The Phillies and Braves were tied at two games apiece, and the winner of Game 5 would be one win away from the World Series. It was a premier pitching matchup, as Curt Schilling faced off against Steve Avery, a 23-year old lefty phenom coming off an 18-6 year with a 2.94 ERA.
Schilling was masterful, and after 8 innings he had a shutout, giving up only 4 hits and allowing no runs. The Phillies went into the bottom of the 9th with a 3-0 lead. Then it all began to unravel. A leadoff walk by Jeff Blauser was followed by an error by Kim Batiste (the Phils defensive replacement at 3rd also had a crucial error in Game 1), and there were runners on first and second. Schilling was pulled and in came Wild Thing. Singles by McGriff, Terry Pendleton, and Francisco Cabrera tied the game at 3, and Mitch Williams almost earned his goat tag two weeks earlier than destiny would have it. But in the top of the 10th, Lenny Dykstra came up with one out and nobody on. The count went to 3-2, and Dykstra knew exactly what pitch was coming from reliever Mark Wohlers. The fastball came down the middle, and Dykstra took it for a ride over the right field wall.
Dykstra is the guy who always wants to do something and is never afraid to step up and shoulder the pressure.
“I’m a situation player,” Dykstra said. “I like those big situations. There are players who like to be on the spot and have to make the play, and there are players who fear those situations. I’ll just tell you, there is no fear here.
“I want to be like Keith Hernandez and Gary Carter were for that Mets team I played on back in ’86. I want to be the leader. I want to be the guy that everybody looks to in the tough situations. I want to be the one who gets it done when it has to be done. As far as I’m concerned, it’s never too late.”
“I thought we wanted to get something done against them right there in that inning,” Dykstra said. “We didn’t want to mess with them too long.”
The series would come back to Philly, where the Phils would knock off the Greg Maddux and the Braves in Game 6, with Dykstra scoring twice.
Yesterday we posted your memories of Game 4 of the 1993 World Series. Today we’ll post your memories of Game 6. I was a senior in high school at a party at my buddy Ryan’s house. I remember me and a couple of guys went up to the his parents bedroom to watch the last few innings, since they were watching something else on the main TV. So we gathered around a fuzzy 13 inch tv to watch the last few innings. I lived in Virginia, but we were all rooting for the Phils. One of the greatest team of underdogs ever, and furthermore they were repping the USA. We sat in stone silence when that ball went over. Can only imagine how heartbreaking it was here.
Isaac: Mitch vs Joe Carter was my 16th birthday present.
Dan: I watched at a Ground Round in Wilmington, DE with same college friend and some others. That night I’m pretty sure I taught the patrons some new words. Maybe I phoned a death threat to Mitch Williams that night, maybe I just dreamed it. But I definitely swore that I wouldn’t watch a meaningful Phillies game with that friend ever again.
Bill: I standing next to Mayor Rendell when Carter ended both the series and the ’93 Beaux Arts Ball. There had to be a 60 foot screen at the Convention Center (Where I was working). That ball goes out, and the party ends, hours earlier than expected.
Duff: I remember rushing from rehearsal and walking into the raucous TGI Friday’s on the parkway just in time to see the last pitch. Deafening silence followed. First time ever in a Friday’s. Have not been back since.
Andrew: I taped Game 6 of the Series on my VCR. Ever after, no matter where I rewound or fast-forwarded to, the VHS tape *always* seemed to begin with the final pitch of the Series leaving Mitch Williams’ hand and Joe Carter waiting for it — my one brush with the paranormal.
Pat: I was at a kids baptism celebration, in a family friend’s basement, watching it at the bar they had down there. Before the ball even went over, I put my head down on the bar. I looked up again to make sure it was true, and then I put my head down again, and cried. I was 11.
Carl: The moment after Joe Carter’s home run was the first time I ever blatantly cursed in front of my parents. My emotional 5th-grade self took the Nerf Turbo football I’d been clutching like a stress ball throughout the game, hurled it at Carter’s face, and yelled “F**K!” as loud as I could before bursting into tears.
Sean: Carter’s home run was like the punchline of a cosmic joke — it was the first time I understood that some things are too good to be true. Tough lessons in October 1993. I still don’t like thinking about it.
Carl: Oh, and I wasn’t in trouble. At all.
Mike: I didn’t have any friends at that point in time, so I just spent the whole summer of ’93 season at my aunt’s place. She would always watch the games with me, which meant everything to me. Losing Game 6 brought me back to the reality that I didn’t have friends or anything to fall back on. Devastating.
Michael O: I was in the 4th grade. Almost 10. At the conclusion of game 6, I locked myself in the bathroom and cried for a half an hour.
Andrew: Whatever you think of Lenny Dykstra now, I remember thinking when he hit that home run in Game 6 that he was singlehandedly putting the Phils into a Game 7.
Art: I was watching from a packed Chasers Pub just off South Street on 4th. I remember begging Mitch to just throw a strike. I leapt in excitement when Carter swung and by the time I landed I realized that the ball was gone. It never dawned on me that Carter would hit a homerun. The only battle I was focusing on was Mitch vs. the strike zone. I was in disbelief. Some stranger later bought be a shot because he thought I needed one.
And finally a note from a recovering Blue Jays fan, Dirty Gert: I grew up outside of schenectady and had no local team to root for. So when the Blue Jays made it to the World Series, there was no question who I was rooting for. Watching Mitch Williams implode and big Joe Carter become an elder hero was beautiful.
Then when I moved to Philly in 1998 things slowly changed. The lowly underdogs I saw 20x a year in the empty Vet became an obsession. Every man I talked to became emotional when discussing 1993. I started to get angry myself. Why couldn’t Mitch have thrown one more ball out of the strike zone? Why couldn’t this passionate town get just one more title? Revisionist history took hold and I invented memories of loving the scrappy, boozy geezers of 93.
I can’t imagine the same thing happening if I moved to another city, like Tampa or Chicago. The Phils are my team now, as they are to anyone who has ever called Philadelphia a home.