Toronto Blue Jays

Toronto Blue Jays

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All-Time Team – Toronto Blue Jays

First Base – Carlos Delgado

John Olerud had one of the greatest offensive seasons in franchise history in 1993, when he hit 24 home runs, knocked in 107 runs, scored 109 others, accumulated 200 hits, and led the American League with 54 doubles, a .363 batting average, a .473 on-base percentage, and a 1.072 OPS.  But that was Olerud’s only exceptional year for the Blue Jays.  Meanwhile, Carlos Delgado had nine standout seasons for Toronto, at least two of which could be compared favorably to Olerud’s best year.  Delgado hit more than 40 home runs for Toronto three times, knocked in more than 100 runs six times, scored more than 100 runs five times, batted over .300 twice, and compiled an on-base percentage in excess of .400 on four separate occasions.  The slugging first baseman holds franchise records for most home runs (336), runs batted in (1,058), runs scored (889), hits (1,413), and doubles (343).

Second Base – Roberto Alomar

The finest all-around player ever to wear a Blue Jay uniform, Roberto Alomar spent five seasons in Toronto, during which time he earned five All-Star selections, five Gold Gloves, and three consecutive sixth-place finishes in the league MVP voting.  Alomar batted over .300 for the Blue Jays four times, scored more than 100 runs twice, and posted an on-base percentage that exceeded the .400-mark twice.  He had his best year with the team in 1993, when he hit 17 home runs, knocked in 93 runs, scored 109 others, stole 55 bases, batted .326, and compiled an on-base percentage of .408.

Third Base – Kelly Gruber

Kelly Gruber started at third base for the Blue Jays for six seasons, posting solid but unspectacular offensive numbers for them much of the time.  However, Gruber had one exceptional season that earned him the starting job on our All-Time Team here.  After making the All-Star Team for the first time in his career one year earlier, Gruber hit 31 home runs, drove in 118 runs, scored 92 others, and batted .274 in 1990, earning in the process a fourth-place finish in the A.L. MVP voting.  He also won the only Gold Glove of his career.

Shortstop – Tony Fernandez

Outstanding in the field and solid at the bat, Tony Fernandez earned three All-Star selections and four Gold Gloves in his six full seasons as Toronto’s starting shortstop.  The lithe and graceful Fernandez had his best year for the Blue Jays in 1986, when he batted .310, scored 91 runs, collected 213 hits, and stole 25 bases.  He performed extremely well the following year also, batting .322, scoring 90 runs, and stealing 32 bases.  During his time in Toronto, the sure-handed shortstop put together back-to-back seasons in which he committed a total of only 15 errors.

Left Field – George Bell

Although he struggled sometimes in the field, George Bell’s potent bat won him the starting left field job on our All-Time Team.  Bell hit a total of 202 home runs in a little over seven full seasons in Toronto, while also knocking in 740 runs and batting .286.  He had his biggest year in 1987, when he earned A.L. MVP honors by hitting 47 home runs, driving in a league-leading 134 runs, scoring 111 others, batting .308, and topping the circuit with 369 total bases.  Bell finished fourth in the voting two other times.

Center Field – Vernon Wells

Vernon Wells got the nod here over Lloyd Moseby and Devon White for his superior hitting ability.  Wells hit 223 home runs, knocked in 813 runs, and batted .280 for the Blue Jays, averaging 25 home runs and 89 RBIs over the course of his nine years as the team’s starting center fielder.  He hit more than 30 homers, drove in more than 100 runs, and batted over .300 three times each, having his best year in 2003, when he hit 33 home runs, knocked in 117 runs, scored 118 others, batted .317, and led the American League with 215 hits, 49 doubles, and 373 total bases.  Wells earned three All-Star selections and three Gold Gloves during his time in Toronto.

Right Field – Joe Carter

I thought seriously about going with Jesse Barfield here because of his outstanding power and superior defense.  But Joe Carter posted significantly better overall offensive numbers over the course of his seven seasons in Toronto.  Shawn Green also merited a great deal of consideration since he compiled two of the finest offensive seasons of any Blue Jay outfielder.  Once again, though, Carter’s overall numbers were far superior. Carter hit a total of 203 home runs for the Blue Jays, knocked in 736 runs, scored 578 others, collected 1,051 hits, and accumulated 218 doubles.  He hit more than 30 homers four times and drove in more than 100 runs six times.  And, of course, who will ever forget the home run he hit against the Phillies to win the final game of the 1993 World Series.

Catcher - Ernie Whitt

Ernie Whitt earned the starting assignment behind the plate with the 131 home runs and 518 runs batted in he compiled for the Blue Jays between 1980 and 1989.  He had his best year in 1987, when he hit 19 homers, knocked in 75 runs, and batted .269.

Designated Hitter - Paul Molitor

Although he spent only three years in Toronto, Paul Molitor got the nod at the DH spot because of the superb hitting he displayed in each of his first two seasons with the Blue Jays.  Molitor earned a second-place finish in the 1993 A.L.MVP voting by hitting 22 home runs, driving in 111 runs, scoring 121 others, batting .332, and leading the league with 211 hits.  He followed that up by batting .341 during the strike-shortened 1994 campaign.

Starting Pitcher – Roy Halladay

The greatest pitcher in franchise history, Roy Halladay posted an overall record of 148-76 over parts of 12 seasons with the Blue Jays.  The right-hander won at least 20 games twice, surpassing 16 victories another four times.  After going 19-7 with a 2.93 ERA the previous year, Halladay won the A.L. Cy Young Award in 2003 by leading the league with a record of 22-7, 266 innings pitched, nine complete games, and two shutouts.  He finished second in the voting in 2008, when he went 20-11, with a 2.78 ERA and a league-leading nine complete games and 246 innings pitched.

Starting Pitcher – Jimmy Key

Steady and reliable, Jimmy Key won at least 12 games for the Blue Jays eight straight years between 1985 and 1992, during which time he also threw more than 200 innings on six separate occasions.  The left-hander had his best year for the team in 1987, when he finished 17-8, with eight complete games and a league-leading 2.76 ERA.  Key posted an overall mark of 116-81 for the club over the course of nine seasons.

Starting Pitcher – Dave Stieb

A key member of Toronto’s starting staff for more than a decade, Dave Stieb won more games in a Blue Jay uniform than any other pitcher.  The right-hander surpassed 17 victories on four separate occasions, winning 16 games another two times.  Stieb led the American League with 19 complete games, 288 innings pitched, and five shutouts in 1982, before topping the circuit with a 2.48 ERA in 1985.  Yet, he had arguably his best season in 1990, when he finished 18-6 with a 2.93 ERA, en route to earning the last of his seven All-Star nominations.  Stieb ended his 15-year run in Toronto with a record of 175-134, along with a 3.42 ERA.

Starting Pitcher – Roger Clemens

Roger Clemens spent only two years in Toronto.  Yet, he accomplished enough in those two seasons to earn a spot in the All-Time Team’s starting rotation.  Clemens won the Cy Young Award both years, capturing the pitcher’s Triple Crown both times.  He led all A.L. hurlers in 1997 with a record of 21-7, a 2.05 ERA, 292 strikeouts, 264 innings pitched, nine complete games, and three shutouts.  Clemens followed that up by going 20-6 in 1998, with a 2.65 ERA and 271 strikeouts.

Starting Pitcher – Pat Hentgen

Pat Hentgen barely edged out Juan Guzman for the final spot in the starting rotation.  Hentgen won 100 games for the Blue Jays from 1993 to 1999, surpassing 15 victories on three separate occasions.  After winning 19 games for Toronto’s 1993 world championship team, Hentgen had his best year in 1996, going 20-10, with a 3.22 ERA, 177 strikeouts, and a league-leading 10 complete games, three shutouts, and 266 innings pitched.  He was rewarded for his outstanding performance by being named the American League’s Cy Young winner.

Closer – Tom Henke

B.J. Ryan had a couple of very good years for Toronto, but Tom Henke was better over a longer period of time.  Henke saved a total of 217 games for the Blue Jays between 1985 and 1992, surpassing 30 saves on four separate occasions.  After leading the American League with 34 saves in 1987, the big right-hander had his best year in 1989, posting a record of 8-3, compiling a 1.92 ERA, saving 20 games, and striking out 116 batters in 89 innings of work, while allowing the opposition only 66 hits.

Manager – Cito Gaston

Although a period of 10 years separated his two managerial stints with the team, Cito Gaston has spent a total of 12 seasons managing the Blue Jays.  Toronto has compiled an overall record of 894-837 under Gaston’s direction, for a winning percentage of .516.  Those numbers may not seem particularly impressive, but consider that Gaston has led the Blue Jays to four division titles, two pennants, and two world championships – the only two in club history.

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