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Seattle-Toronto First Ever Matchup 45 Years Ago Was Not As Dramatic As Wild Card Game Game

Toronto Bench Coach Casy Candaele Got His Start Under Seattle Manager Scott Servais

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Baseball fans just witnessed one of the most remarkable comebacks in the history of the postseason or, if they were rooting for the home team, one of the all-time examples of a meltdown. The Seattle Mariners, at one point down by eight runs, rallied the eighth and ninth to beat the Toronto Blue Jays and capture the first round of the American League Wild Card Series.

Almost as unbelievable as the comeback, the two clubs had never before met in the postseason. Even in the late Eighties and Nineties, when the Blue Jays were perennial contenders and the Mariners had superstar Ken Griffey, Jr., did the teams square off against one another.

What the two teams do share, however, is their birth date. Both the Blue Jays and Mariners joined Major League Baseball in 1977, the sport's first expansion in almost a decade. Even then it took over a month for them to play one another, a game that was not nearly as noteworthy as the postseason matchup from last weekend.

They first met 45 years ago in Toronto, only it was in Exhibition Stadium instead of the Rogers Centre.

The Blue Jays and Mariners were both in seventh place, the first teams in Major League Baseball history to be in seventh and last place at the same time.

Just like in the recent postseason matchup, that May 9, 1977 game was won by the team who scored ten runs. On that occasion it was the Blue Jays on the winning end, routing the visiting team 10-4.

Things did not look promising for the eventual winners, as All-Star outfielder Ruppert Jones singled twice and scored twice in the first four innings. Juan Bernhardt added a home run in the fourth, helping the Mariners to a three nothing lead.

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The Jays were able to run away with it after the Seventh inning stretch, thanks to three straight singles by Pedro Garcia, Bob Bailor and Al Woods. Toronto first baseman Doug Ault hit had hit a three run home run earlier, tying the game as they headed to the fifth.

No matter how disheartening was the postseason loss for Toronto, it pales to the tragedy regarding Doug Ault. The first Blue Jay to ever hit a home run had a promising future back in 1977, but he fell way short of those high expectations.

His career would last just three more seasons, after which he suffered a series of failed business ventures. Then in 1994, a decade and a half removed from the home run that tied the first game ever between the two expansion teams, Ault committed suicide.

When put in perspective, blowing an eight run lead in the postseason does not seem all that bad.

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