The Toronto Blue Jays recently held a rally for season ticket holders and vowed publicly that this is a do or die year for the team, promising that if the franchise doesn’t play baseball in the fall of 2015 and make the postseason, big changes lie ahead. The team made that known even before said rally, by trading away young talent in favor of signing more proven commodities this winter. To say the least, the team seems a century removed from its days as a perennial contender in the American League East and defending World Series champion. Then again, a 22-year championship drought isn’t too long considering some pro sports franchises have gone a whole century without winning a title (Chicago Cubs anyone?). No matter what the situation is now, it’s nevertheless important to look back upon some of the good times.
It is in honor of looking back at said good times that we acknowledge the 10 best Blue Jays of all time. Some of these guys were consistent over a long period of time and earned their keep because of it, while others only stayed for a essentially, a cup of coffee and yet experienced some of their best days in Toronto. Included in this list is one of baseball’s all-time flamethrowers, a hitter who won the World Series with one swing of the bat, and a second baseman that helped redefine the position, both in the field and at the plate.
While most of these legends are retired today, there is one man who still has time to move up on this list, and he’s already pretty awesome considering he was drafted in the 20th round, yes the 20th round. Read the list and find out where he fits in now…
10 Roger Clemens
Rogers Clemens only spent two out of 24 career MLB seasons with the Blue Jays, but he did enough in those two years to get himself on this list. He won the American League Cy Young Award in both seasons, thus locking down his spot in both corresponding All-Star games. Winning 20 games on a team that was mediocre at best in the late 90s is no small accomplishment. Just ask the hitters who struck out an average of 10.2 times per 9 innings while The Rocket was on the mound for Toronto. Say what you will about his steroid problem, Clemens was unstoppable in a blue and white uniform. A few more seasons in Toronto and he may have crept to the top of this list.
9 Dave Stieb
Dave Stieb was the Blue Jays' ace during the 80s. He spent all but one of his 16 seasons with the team. Stieb tossed the only no-hitter in Blue Jays history with a 3-0 win over the Cleveland Indians on September 2, 1990. A couple years earlier he had come as close to one strike from a no-hitter on two occasions, within the span of six days, on September 24 and 30th in 1988.
He took a no-hitter into the ninth on an additional two occasions, one being broken up after 24 outs, and one on the final out, in 1985 and 1989 respectively.
8 George Bell
George Bell is the only Blue Jay ever to win the American League MVP Award, which he did in 1987. That season, he hit a franchise record 47 home runs. Bell also batted in 134 runs that year and finished his Jays career with a healthy .286 batting average. Bell was also a member of the Jays’ first ever playoff team, which played an integral role in the team’s history and undoubtedly laid the foundation for the team’s first World Series run. The 1985 Blue Jays lost in seven games to the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS. They would lose the ALCS in five games to Oakland in 1989.
7 Pat Hentgen
6 Carlos Delgado
5 Tony Fernandez
4 Roy Halladay
3 Jose Bautista
2 Joe Carter
1 Roberto Alomar
The best Blue Jay of all time is second basemen Roberto Alomar. A switch hitter who was seemingly impossible to strikeout from either side of the plate, Alomar could also flag down almost any ground ball hit in his way, which made him a regular Gold Glove Award winner throughout his career. He only played in Toronto for 5 years, but Alomar was as big a part of the Jays’ championship seasons as any other player on the team. He also represented the team in the All Star Game in every single one of those seasons. Alomar wasn’t just the typical contact hitter we’re used to second basemen being…he won a Silver Slugger Award in Toronto too. He’s the only Blue Jays player in the Hall Of Fame wearing the team’s hat in his picture and it will take a generational talent to knock him off of this top spot.
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