Friday, August 07, 2009

All Time Blue Jay Lineup

With the reunion this weekend of the Blue Jay back-to-back World Series wins in 1992 and 1993, I thought I would post my picks for the top Blue Jay by position. Then you realize the mediocre owners have failed to fund a winner in 17 years. Oh well, it's been 42 years for the Maple Leafs.

1st base – Carlos Delgado

Carlos Delgado ranks first among Blue Jay hitter is a number of categories including 336 home runs,1036 RBI's and 343 doubles; he also ranks 2nd with 1413 hits. After a slow start he hit 30+ HR every year from 1997 through 2004. He also had six consecutive 100+ RBI seasons, and three others with 90+. His best season was 2000, when he hit .344 with 57 doubles, 41 HR, 115 R, 137 RBI, and a .470 OBP. He is easily the best slugger the Blue Jays have had to date.

Honourable mention: John Olerud, John Mayberry, Willie Upshaw, Fred McGriff

2nd base – Roberto Alomar

Roberto Alomar is the Blue Jays all-time leading hitter with a .307 average. He only played for Toronto from 1991-1995, but he hit .295 or better every year and stole plenty of bases. In 1993 he hit .326 with 17 HR, 93 RBI, 109 R, and 55 SB. He was an all-star and won Gold Gloves every year. Most people believe he was the Jays best all round player.

Honourable mention: Damaso Garcia, Aaron Hill, Orlando Hudson

Shortstop – Tony Fernandez

Tony Fernandez retired as the Blue Jays all-time leader in games (1,450), at-bats (5,335), hits (1,583), triples (72), second in doubles (291), third in runs (704), total bases (2,198), and average (.297), fourth in walks (439) and stolen bases (172) and fifth in extra-base hits (425). Tony Fernandez also won four straight gold gloves at shortstop (1986-1989). Ironically, his trade to the Padres along with Fred McGriff for Carter and Alomar strengthened the team and made it a World Series contender.

Honourable mention: Alfredo Griffin, Alex Gonzalez

3rd base – Kelly Gruber

I’ve always felt that the Blue Jays have always been weak at third. For me only two players stood out and for only a limited period. I didn’t even consider Scott Rolen who played like an all star – for one half of a season. So I chose Kelly Gruber who was a fine fielder, and had some power, but really only had one outstanding season, 1990, when he hit .274 with 31 HR and 119 RBI. But he also played more games at third than any other Blue Jay, so he is my pick.

Honourable mention: Ed Sprague

Catcher – Pat Borders

Pat Borders was never was an all -star nor a Gold Glove winner but he will always be a hero in Toronto for outshining all of the stars and future Hall of Famers on the Blue Jays and Braves during the 1992 World Series. After having a solid ALCS, he was the World Series MVP in 1992, when he went 9-20 with three doubles and a home run. I know Ernie Whitt had a better track record during the regular season but winning the World Series is what it’s all about and Borders was a giant-killer.

Honourable mention: Darren Fletcher, Ernie Whitt

Right field – Joe Carter

Joe Carter is second in team history with 203 home runs and third in RBI's with 736. Carter hit the game winning home run in the bottom of the 9th inning in game 6 of the 1993 World Series to give the Blue Jays the title. I think there have only been two walk off homerun wins in the World Series and Carter has one of them. So he edges out the terrific Jesse Barfield for right field. Carter had seven full seasons in Toronto, hitting 30+ HRs four times and 100+ RBIs six times. In 1992 he was third in the MVP balloting after hitting 34 HR with 119 RBI.

Honourable mention: Jesse Barfield, Shawn Green

Centre field - Vernon Wells

This selection is controversial considering Wells’ recent play. But he has already had several all-star seasons, including three Gold Gloves and a Silver Slugger award and the former 5th overall pick in the 1997 draft looked like he was becoming MVP material but has slumped the last few years.

Honourable mention: Devon White, Lloyd Moseby

Left field – George Bell

In nine seasons with Toronto George Bell ranks second in club history in total bases (2201), runs batted in (740), extra base hits (471); third in home runs with 202 and fourth in hits with 1294. He was voted the American League Most Valuable Player in 1987 when he hit .308 with 47 home runs and 134 RBI's. He also holds the Blue Jays single season home run record with 47.

Honourable mention: Shannon Stewart

DH – Paul Molitor

Paul Molitor left Milwaukee to replace Dave Winfield and hopefully get a World Series ring. And he did everything they could ask from him. He actually had an MVP caliber season (finishing second to Frank Thomas.) hitting .391 with a 1.777 OPS in the ALCS.
In the World Series he played DH, 3B and 1B, hit .500 with a 1.571 OPS with 2 homers and was named MVP.

Honourable mention: Dave Winfield, Cliff Johnson

Starting pitcher – Roy Halladay

I only picked one starter as opposed to an entire starting rotation and it was easy. Roy Halladay is already the best pitcher the team has ever had and one of the few actual franchise players. He holds the Blue Jays all-time season record with 22 wins and ranks 2nd all-time with 142 wins. Halladay the 2003 American League Cy Young Award when he went 22-7 and recorded 15 straight victories (He shares the team record with Roger Clemens). Dave Stieb is the team leader in most pitching categories and is a Hall of Famer but Halladay will eclipse many of his records if he remains a Blue Jay for a few more seasons.

Honourable mention: Dave Stieb, Pat Hentgen, Jimmy Key, David Wells, Jim Clancy Roger Clemens (with an asterisk)

Reliever – Tom Henke

The Blue Jays did not have a consistent closer until Tom Henke arrived from Texas. From 1986 through 1992 Tom "The Terminator" was amongst the league's best, saving 20-34 games each year, often with an ERA well below 2.50. Henke and Duane Ward were the best one-two punch the team has ever had. Staying healthy is always a factor for a closer. Both Ward and B.J. Ryan might have been able to surpass Henke if not for injuries.

Honourable mention: Duane Ward, Mark Eichorn, B.J. Ryan

No comments: