Jays From the Couch brings you videos of the Greatest Moments in the history of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Moments is the word of the season for The Toronto Blue Jays. There are moments banners up at the Rogers Centre and the use of the hashtag #OurMoment is being used by fans when talking anything Blue Jays. We all know it’s the moments of fantastic plays that ignite both a team and a fanbase, so what are some of the best moments in Blue Jays history so far?
In no particular order – a great moment is a great moment- the first that comes to mind would have to be the first ever Opening Day, April 7, 1977. The Blue Jays beat the Chicago White Sox 9-5 in a game where a zamboni had to clear the field at Exhibition Stadium of snow before it started. Yes, they borrowed it from the Toronto Maple Leafs. Despite the freezing conditions, 44,649 fans braved the cold to cheer on their hometown team for the first time ever.
It is in the run that has come to be known as “The Drive of ’85”. Toronto Blue Jays Doyle Alexander pitched an amazing complete game against the New York Yankees on October 5, 1985 at Exhibition Stadium. It was the game that would clinch the AL East Pennant for the Toronto Blue Jays, a first for the team. The Blue Jays won that game 5-1 with George Bell catching the final out and dropping to his knees.
Next up is the famous walk-off home run from the bat of Joe Carter. It was Game 6 of the World Series. The Blue Jays were facing the Philadelphia Phillies and were trailing 6-5 in the bottom of the ninth inning. On a 2-2 count with fellow Blue Jays Rickey Henderson and Paul Molitor on base, Joe Carter hit a three-run walk-off home run and suddenly the Blue Jays were back to back World Series winners.
Joe Carter gets the nod for the next great moment as well. It was Saturday, October 24, 1992, Game 6 of the World Series. The Blue Jays played into an 11th inning, the Atlanta Braves tying the game in the bottom of the ninth. Going into the bottom of the 11th inning with a two-run lead, the Braves scored, tying the game. With the tying run on base, two outs and Otis Nixon batting, Mike Timlin fielded the ensuing bunt, throwing to Joe Carter at first base. That final out clinched the World Series for the Blue Jays.
The year was 1990 and Dave Stieb was pitching for the visiting Toronto Blue Jays against the Cleveland Indians. Despite two previously broken up no-hitters in the ninth innings in 1988, Stieb stayed focused and pitched the first no-hitter in Blue Jays history, defeating the Indians 3-0.
Called “the catch” by many long time Blue Jays fans, the amazing glove by Devon White makes the list for great moments for sure. It was Game 3 of the 1992 World Series. Juan Guzman on the mound sends a fastball to David Justice of the Braves, driving it deep into Centre field. Devon “Devo” White was there to not only make the catch while careening into the wall, but to fire the ball back to the infield almost getting a triple play out of it. Although Kelly Gruber insisted he made the tag, the play at second was ruled safe. Many Blue Jays fans believe that had there been video review at the time, the triple play would have been called.
There is no way to mention a catch like Devo’s without bringing up another great catch – let’s face it there have been many- by Blue Jays centre fielder Kevin Pillar. The game was April 15, 2015 against the Tampa Bay Rays and Tim Beckham hit what should have been a home run deep into left field. Pillar comes running full speed, scaling the wall, his glove in the air to make a fantastic catch.
The year was 2003 and Toronto Blue Jay Carlos Delgado stepped up to the plate against Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Jorge Sosa looking for his 300th career home run. He hit a three-run home run in the first inning and in each of his next three at bats – he only had the four at bats in the game- making him the 15th MLB player to hit four home runs in a single game and the only one to do so in just four at bats.
Jose Bautista, or Joey Bats as he is affectionately known, hit his 50th home run of the season on September 10, 2010 becoming part of the slugging elite – the 26th to do so – in the first inning against Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez. Bautista launched the ball right to his teammates in the bullpen. It was the lone run in a 1-0 win for the Blue Jays.
The next great moment comes from Fred McGriff in the very first game at the SkyDome, now called the Rogers Centre. McGriff hit the first home run ever – and a two-run homer at that – in the Blue Jays new home, the SkyDome. The game against the Milwaukee Brewers was attended by over 48,000 fans who got to witness the 435-foot blow to left field June 5, 1989. An exciting moment despite the eventual 5-3 loss.
The last on this list, but most certainly not the last that belongs, is the Toronto legend that is known as the bat flip. It was on October 14, 2015 in the seventh inning of Game 5 of the ALDS when, after falling behind (after a crazy errant throw back to the pitcher) to the Texas Rangers in the winner-take-all game, Jose Bautista stepped up to the plate against Sam Dyson. Jose Bautista hit a three-run homer into the 200 level of the Rogers Centre. In a moment remembered by everyone who witnessed it, he looked up at the ball, flipped his bat and began to run the bases. The crowd went crazy, the cheers feeling like the roof would be lifted right off it’s hinges. The Blue Jays winning the series in a spectacular fashion extending their first playoff run in 22 years.
There we have 11 of the greatest moments in what has been an amazing 40 years of Blue Jays baseball, but as most fans know, there are so many more. There are so many more to come. What moments would you include?
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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.