TORONTO -- Baseball insiders consider Toronto second baseman Roberto Alomar one of the game's top players, and after the American League Championship Series, fans surely will start viewing him the same way.
Alomar was chosen the series MVP after going 3-for-5 yesterday in AL playoff notebook
"Every at-bat, every play and every inning is important," Alomar, 24, said after becoming the youngest MVP in an AL playoff series. "That inning against Eckersley, not only my at-bat, but the whole inning, is why we are here now."
The Blue Jays trailed 6-1 entering the eighth inning of Game 4, but Alomar started a three-run rally with a leadoff double off Jim Corsi. He then hit a game-tying, two-run homer off Eckersley in the ninth, and the Blue Jays won, 7-6, in 11 innings.
Reputations are made in October, and Alomar clearly is emerging as a big-game player. He set the AL playoff record for most hits in back-to-back series (20), with hits in each of his 11 post-season games. He's also 6-for-6 in stolen-base attempts, including two yesterday.
Defense? Alomar won the Gold Glove last season at second base, and is expected to do so again. He raced all over the field chasing down pop-ups in Game 4, and yesterday took two hits away from Oakland's Jerry Browne.
In short, he's a manager's dream.
As Cito Gaston put it, "I could talk about Robbie for an hour."
White OK after accident
Toronto center fielder Devon White and his wife, Colleen, were in a traffic accident Tuesday that left a $130,000 Mercedes-Benz badly damaged, but both were unhurt.
The car, which was being driven by a Mercedes-Benz saleswoman, skidded 460 feet and knocked down a concrete pole before coming to rest well off the road.
"It's a real miracle no one was injured," a police official told the Toronto Sun.
That may have been because all three passengers in the car were wearing seat belts.
A's third baseman Carney Lansford, who came back from reconstructive surgery on his left knee this season, announced his retirement.
"I accomplished everything I set out to accomplish," said Lansford, who hit .290 in 15 seasons. "I never went out to get 3,000 hits and make the Hall of Fame. That was never my goal like it was for some guys."
Oakland outfielder Rickey Henderson dropped a fly ball in the first inning yesterday and made a potentially costly mistake at the plate in the third.
He stepped out of the batter's box just as Willie Wilson and Lance Blankenship broke on a double-steal attempt.
The play didn't have any immediate cost, because home plate umpire Drew Coble called time, but it cost the A's a chance to take the initiative in a close game. They did not get another.
The error of their ways
Henderson's error in the first inning was the 15th of the series, which ties a playoff record set by the Boston Red Sox and California Angels in 1986.
On the run
Wilson stole second base in the third to give the A's 14 stolen bases for the series.
That broke the playoff record of 13 they set in 1989 against the Blue Jays. Ruben Sierra added to the record with a steal in the sixth.
Home run record
The Blue Jays won the playoffs with an unprecedented home-run barrage. Toronto hitters launched 10 homers in the six-game series to set a playoff record for one team. The Jays and A's combined for 14 homers, one shy of the record for two teams set by the Detroit Tigers and Minnesota Twins in 1987.
The team that scored first in each of the six games of the series went on to win. . . . The Blue Jays ended a string of five straight pennants for the AL West (three by Oakland and two by the Minnesota Twins).
AL playoff MVPs
1980: Frank White, Royals
1981: Graig Nettles, Yankees
1982: Fred Lynn, Angels
1983: Mike Boddicker, Orioles
1984: Kirk Gibson, Tigers
1985: George Brett, Royals
1986: Marty Barrett, Red Sox
1987: Gary Gaetti, Twins
1988: Dennis Eckersley, A's
1989: Rickey Henderson, A's
1990: Dave Stewart, A's
1991: Kirby Puckett, Twins
1992: Roberto Alomar, Blue Jays