The 10 Blue Jays Every Fan Needs To Know

Jays From the Couch brings you a look at the all the all time great Toronto Blue Jays players everyone should know.

 

Every Blue Jays fan has a list. That list of players that have shaped the history of the team. They are the players that redefined the team, that changed the course, that helped propel the Blue Jays to victory. They are the standouts. So who are the 10 Blue Jays every fan should know (so far)?

The first on the list is George Bell. He was a Blue Jay in 1981 and from 1983-1990. He made his MLB debut as a Jay April 8, 1981 after being selected in the Rule 5 draft. In 1988 he became the first in MLB history to hit 3 homers on Opening Day and in 1989 he had an incredible walk off homer in the final game at Exhibition Stadium. He also had a home run in the first game played at the Sky Dome – now the Rogers Centre. Up until 2015, Bell was the only Toronto Blue Jay to ever win an American League MVP Award. He did so in 1987. He is enshrined on the Level of Excellence at the Rogers Centre and was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013.

Credit: C Stem
Credit: C Stem

Next up is Roberto Alomar. A Blue Jay from 1991-1995. He is a twelve time All Star, a two time World Series Champion, the ALCS MVP for 1992 and an incredible ten time Golden Glove Award winner. He won the Silver Slugger Award as a Blue Jay in 1992 though he won the award three more times. Alomar batted over .300 nine times in his career! His number 12 was the first Blue Jays number to be retired and he is enshrined at Rogers Centre Level of Excellence. Alomar was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the first Blue Jay with this honour.

Tony Fernandez played for the Blue Jays sporadically throughout his career. He had his MLB debut as a Jay on Sept. 2, 1983, was a Blue Jay from 1983-1990, 1993, 1998-1999 and 2001. It was Oct 7, 2001 that he made his last MLB appearance. Fernandez is a five time All Star, World Series Champion in 1993 and a four time Golden Glove Award winner. Fernandez, in 1985, was the first full time short stop for the Blue Jays and in 1986 held the record at the time for the most hits in a single season (213). He also drove in nine runs – a record – in the 1993 World Series.

Roy Halladay made his MLB debut as a Blue Jay in 1998, and played on team until 2009. He is a two time Cy Young winner, and an eight time All Star. He got his nickname “Doc” in Toronto from then Blue Jays announcer Tom Cheek. He was consistently a leader in complete games and innings pitched, and in 2007 pitched a ten inning shut out against the Detroit Tigers. An amazing pitcher, he had his tenth career shut out in 2008 and held the team record for Opening Day starts on 2008. He was named one of baseball’s 50 greatest players by Sporting News and had an incredible 24 inning scoreless streak in his career.

Carlos Delgado also had his MLB debut with the Blue Jays in 1993 and is a two time All Star, three time winner of the Silver Slugger Award, winner of the Hank Aaron award, and the Roberto Clemente Award. He was the AL RBI leader in 2003 and magically hit four home runs in a single game in 2003. His stats while a Blue Jay are crazy. He had 336 home runs, 1058 RBI, 827 walks, 889 runs, 690 extra base hits and he reached base 2362 times. He was also hit by a pitch 122 times, though that did nothing to slow him down. He had been enshrined on the Level of Excellence at Rogers Centre.

Joe Carter is a name known to most, and tops many lists of famous Blue Jays. He played with the team from 1991-1997, was a five time All Star, two time World Series Champion, two time Silver Slugger Award winner and an AL RBI leader. In 1991 he hit the game winning single allowing the Blue Jays to clinch the AL East Championship. He didn’t stop there. He hit two home runs and recorded the final out for the 1992 World Series – the first time a World Series ended with a bunt. He is one of only two Blue Jays to hit two home runs in one inning – Edwin Encarnacion being the other in 2013. Joe Carter is most famous for his role in the 1993 Blue Jays World Series win. In a 2-2 count, trailing the Philadelphia Phillies 6-5 with two runners on base, he hit a three run walk off home run to win the series. That made him the only one to record the final out in one World Series and a series clinching walk off in another. He too is on the Level of Excellence at Rogers Centre.

Credit: S Doyle
Credit: S Doyle

Dave Stieb made his MLB debut as a Blue Jay in 1979 and played for the team until 1992, returning for a season in 1998. He is a seven time All Star, was named Pitcher of the Year by Sporting News in 1985, and was also the AL ERA leader in 1985. Stieb had many close no hit games throughout his career and threw a successful no hitter against the Cleveland Indians on Sept. 2, 1990, the franchise’s only one. He won 150 games in the 1980’s, the second highest total by a pitcher, and holds career records in Toronto for wins, games started, shut outs, strike outs and complete games. He received a World Series ring in 1992 from the Blue Jays for his contribution to the team.

Jimmy Key played for the Blue Jays from 1984-1992. He is a four time All Star, World Series Champion and the MLB ERA leader in 1987. Key became a starter for the Blue Jays in 1985, and helped lead the team to their first post season that year. His final start for the Blue Jays was game four of the 1992 World Series where he let only one run in over 7 2/3 innings pitched, leaving the Blue Jays up 3-1. He left to a standing ovation from the crowd. He did come in as a reliever in the 10th and 11th innings of the deciding game six for which he recorded another winning decision.

Jesse Barfield made his MLB debut as a Blue Jay on Sept. 3 1982 and played with the team until 1989. He is remembered as the best outfield arm of the eighties and recorded the first ever pinch hit grand slam in Blue Jays history. Amazing to watch, he was the first
player to have 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in one season. Barfield wasn’t without awards, he won the Golden Glove, was a two time Silver Slugger Award winner, an All Star and the AL home run leader at the time.

Jose Bautista is the only current Blue Jay on this list so far. He has been a Blue Jay since 2008, and hopefully – depending on who you ask- will continue with the team beyond the 2016 season. He is a six time All Star, two time MLB home run leader and three time Silver Slugger Award winner. He has won the Hank Aaron Award twice and has made it to the top ten in MVP votes four times. Between 2010 and 2015 Bautista has hit more home runs than any other player in the Major Leagues. He has since become most famous for his epic bat flip in the AL Division Series. The flip has gone down as a great moment in Blue Jays history, getting its own t-shirt, memes, and a banner outside of the Rogers Centre. To many current fans, Bautista has in some ways become the face of the franchise.

While this list of Blue Jays players fans need to know is at 10, there are many others that could have easily made the list, and have for many fans. Roger Clemens (1997-1998) and Tom Henke (1985-1992) are just two that came
to mind.

Let’s face it Blue Jays fans, the list is going to forever grow to include the likes of Marcus Stroman, Edwin Encarnacion, and Josh Donaldson, not to mention all the other players that have made the Blue Jays the great team they are today. One day even David Price could make this list for his help in getting the Jays into their first playoff run in 22 years! Our Blue Jays history is definitely one to know..our Blue Jays future is looking bright.

 

 

 

 

 

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Catherine Stem

Catherine Stem is a Blue Jays fan and writer who has combined both of these great things by writing for Jays From the Couch. Through all the ups and downs of baseball, all aspects of the game are explored. Keeping a close eye on the Blue Jays Triple A team, the Buffalo Bisons has also become part of her make-up.