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Deion Sanders, the World Series MVP Who Never Was

In the absence of live sports in North America and throughout the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Rogers SportsNet is allowing Canadian sports fans to relive past days of glory for Canada’s lone franchises in MLB and the NBA with broadcasts of prior title runs. These include abbreviated games from the Toronto Blue Jays’ 1992 and 1993 World Series victories. Since I was in elementary school at the time, watching these broadcasts has given me the chance to learn some new things about baseball and Blue Jays history.

One of the things that struck me most about the 1992 World Series, the first title for the Jays, was the performance of OF Deion Sanders, of the opposing Atlanta Braves. Sanders is best known for his Hall of Fame career in the NFL, but he was a two-sport professional athlete who had a respectable MLB career as a part-time player. He played over nine seasons with four franchises, slashing .263/.319/.392 with an 89 OPS+ and 39 home runs. “Neon Deion” is also the only athlete to appear in both a Super Bowl and World Series. He finished with the most triples in MLB in 1992 (14), in just 325 plate appearances, and his high number of steals in limited duty resulted in an average of 47 stolen bases over a 162-game season.

In the 1992 World Series, Sanders outperformed eventual MVP Pat Borders of the victorious Blue Jays, slashing .533/.588/.667, with four runs scored, one RBI and five stolen bases. This stat line is impressive but is in fact astonishing when taking into consideration that “Prime Time” played with a broken bone in his foot.

Sanders clearly would have been crowned Most Valuable Player if the Braves had come out victorious in 1992, but the Jays took the Commissioner’s Trophy and Borders, the Jays’ best performer in the Fall Classic (.450/.500/.750, 3 RBI), was crowned MVP instead. As a result, Atlanta’s defeat was also a loss for the cause of multi-sport talents like Sanders.

Featured Image: Baka Sobaka / Shutterstock.com

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