TORONTO (AP) – All these years later, Joe Carter has only one complaint about the home run he hit to win the 1993 World Series: It doesn’t draw the attention it deserves.

The former Toronto slugger said baseball fans and historians rank his Game 6, bottom-of-the-ninth, three-run homer off Philadelphia closer Mitch Williams below moments such as Kirk Gibson’s pinch-hit homer off Dennis Eckersley in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

Highlights of big home runs by Bill Mazeroski and Bobby Thomson often get shown far more than Carter’s shot, too.

“Mine, it will make the top 10 but it’s never No. 1, it’s never been No. 2, it’s always been in the middle of the pack,” Carter said Thursday. “Had it been for the Yankees or the Dodgers, then I think it would have been No. 1. But because it was in Toronto, it has not gotten the respect that I think it really should deserve.”

“I know what it meant to myself, my teammates and to the country of Canada,” he said. “I know that, up here, it would be No. 1. It gets the respect here.”

He made his comments as the Blue Jays announced plans to recognize their back-to-back World Series championship teams of 1992 and 1993 with a reunion weekend Aug. 7-9. More than 30 players and coaches will attend, including current manager Cito Gaston, who also guided the World Series teams.

Carter said fans on both sides of the border still ask about his home run, telling him where they were when he hit it. He said he also gets letters from teenage fans who were born that year and named Carter in his honor.

Carter was born in 1960, the same year Mazeroski’s Game 7 homer broke a 9-all tie in the ninth inning to gave Pittsburgh the World Series title over the New York Yankees. Carter and Mazeroski are the only players to end a World Series with a homer.

“Every year I watch the World Series, not the first three or four games, but I’ll always watch that last game of the Series and hope the home team does not win because that way it can’t end on a home run,” Carter said.

Watching other people’s reactions to his homer was “the biggest thing” Carter got from the milestone blast.

“CBS gave me a tape from every camera that was on that night,” he said. “Sure, the home run was great, but to see the excitement on one, my teammates, two the fans, listening to what people were saying, the sheer joy, that’s what a player lives for in baseball. Me rounding the bases, I thought that was secondary to all the players’ and the fans’ response. I thought about that probably the most, that’s what comes to mind. You see the sheer joy and excitement that all the fans felt. I felt it and they felt it just as much as I did.”

Carter still talks occasionally with Williams, and got the better of the reliever in a celebrity bowling match in 1998. Williams, an accomplished bowler who owned the alley where the match was held, did not know Carter had grown up bowling regularly with his dad.

“I went out there in the first game and bowled a 245 and just killed him,” Carter said. “I killed him three straight games, it just demoralized him. After I threw the first ball between my legs and threw it for a strike, (Mitch’s) best friend said, ‘I’ve got $1,000 on Joe.”‘

Notes: Blue Jays interim president Paul Beeston said he is down to “five legitimate candidates” in his search for a full-time replacement. When he was hired last October to replace the departing Paul Godfrey, Beeston pledged to hire a new president by spring training. He now hopes to fill the job before the end of this season. “I’m satisfied with the way (the search) is going,” Beeston said. “It’s going a bit slowly but it’s moving in the right direction.”

AP-ES-04-02-09 1734EDT

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