Posted 1 month ago

Blue Jays television broadcasters, Scorebook Magazine 1983 vol. 7

Don Chevrier had a great voice, was very knowledgeable, and was a supremely versatile play by play man (check out the list above). As his obit in the Toronto Star noted, “If there was a sport Don Chevrier couldn’t call, it was probably only because he hadn’t been asked.” He called the very first Blue Jays game on CBC in 1977 and carried on broadcasting the team’s games for 20 years.

Tony Kubek was also a real pro, getting high profile World Series, ALCS, and All-Star game assignments for NBC. He was honored by the Baseball Hall of Fame with the Ford C. Frick Award in 2009. He was the first Frick winner whose broadcast career was solely in television, and the first to have called games for a Canadian team (he did colour for the Jays from 1977 to 1989).

Fergie Olver was a real dolt. On top of his beside-the-dugout reporting, he was also the host of a Canadian game show called Just Like Mom from 1980 to 1985 that was a kid/mom version of The Newlywed Game. Here is some footage from the show where you won’t believe how pervy/creepy he looks.

Posted 1 month ago

Toronto ‘91 All-Star Game program

This looks cut-off on the right because it was a gatefold, with the pitchers continuing on.

Posted 1 month ago

Al Capone looks a lot like Dioner Navarro

What is that which gives me joy? Baseball! A man stands alone at the plate. This is the time for what? For individual achievement. There he stands alone. But in the field, what? Part of a team. Teamwork… Looks, throws, catches, hustles. Part of one big team. Bats himself the live-long day, Babe Ruth, Ty Cobb, and so on. If his team don’t field… what is he? You follow me? No one. Sunny day, the stands are full of fans. What does he have to say? I’m goin’ out there for myself. But… I get nowhere unless the team wins.

- infamous bat scene from the Untouchables

This image was whipped up by my Catalan friend Daniel, who recently took in his first live baseball game (7-6 Blue Jays walk-off win over the Yankees) and more than fulfilled my dream of seeing if Capone would look like Navarro with a Jays hat on.

Daniel’s Tumblr

Posted 2 months ago

Danny Ainge, 1982 Topps

In a previous post we saw that Garth Iorg is the Blue Jay that has played the most games with the club without playing for any other MLB teams (931) - but he was drafted by the Yankees. And we saw that Russ Adams, who was a Blue Jays draft pick, played all of his MLB games with the Jays (286) - but he finished his career in the minor league systems of the Padres and Mets.

Believe it or not, Danny Ainge with his 211 games (1979-81) is the all-time Blue Jays organization lifer (i.e. drafted (1977, round 15), played in the bigs, and retired all as a member of the Blue Jays organization). Not quite Carl Yastrzemski territory (3,308)!

Note: as of this posting, Adam Lind (2004, round 3) has played all of his 905 MLB games as a Blue Jay, but we’ll have to wait until he retires before crowning him the new champ.

Posted 2 months ago

Russ Adams, 2006 Topps card

In this post we learned that Garth Iorg is the Blue Jays all-time leader in games played (931) having only played at the MLB level for the Jays. However he wasn’t originally drafted by the Blue Jays. As far as being picked by the Blue Jays, coming up through the farm system, then only playing at the MLB level with the Jays, this is your all-time leader.

Russ Adams was drafted out of UNC Chapel Hill in the 1st round in 2002, with the 14th overall pick. The next 3 picks were Scott Kazmir, Nick Swisher, and Cole Hamels (ouch). He progressed rapidly, playing for 2 levels in 2002, 2 more in 2003, and hitting .288 in AAA in 2004 to earn a September call up. He got a great start to his MLB career with a hit in his first plate appearance, and went 12 for his first 27 at bats (.444).

He posted a decent rookie campaign in 2005 (commemorated on this card), but that was as good as it got, as he posted negative WAR totals in parts of 3 more seasons. All in all, Adams played all of his 286 games with the Blue Jays (2004-09).

But he was released in 2009 and ended up playing AAA for the Padres that season, and more AAA (Buffalo) for the Mets in 2010 and 2011 before retiring. So another post is forthcoming to find out the Blue Jays’ all-time Derek Jeter who was drafted, played, then retired a Blue Jay.

Posted 2 months ago

Garth Iorg, Scorebook Magazine cover, 1984

With the Jays currently playing Derek Jeter and the Yankees and the recent passing of Tony Gwynn, I’ve been thinking of players that have played their whole MLB careers with only one team. With free agency and rising payrolls (and a plain old decline of employee/employer loyalty in our society), it just doesn’t happen so much anymore.

As far as Blue Jays go, Garth Iorg is your all-time Blue Jay in this regard, at 931 games with the team from 1978-87. (For context, Gwynn was 2,440 games with the Padres, and Jeter is at 2,663 and counting.) But the Blue Jays picked up Iorg from the Yankees in the expansion draft , so he wasn’t quite a Blue Jay for life. I’ll save that for another post.

Posted 2 months ago

SkyDome naming contest winner, ScoreBook Magazine 1989

Kellie Watson and her husband Rob, of Wallaceburg, Ontario (306 km west of the SkyDome) were both 27 when Kellie had her name drawn from the 2,000-plus contestants who had suggested the winning name for Toronto’s new domed stadium. There’s a fun article in the Toronto Star today talking about 25 years of memories, but here’s a little snapshot from back then:

Kellie teaches computer classes at night and runs a bookkeeping business out of the house by day. She is a stay-at-home mom for their two children, Adam, 3 1/2, and Julie, 1 1/2, and takes her turn teaching Sunday school at her local church. Rob is a stock broker, co-manager of the Chatham office of Levesque Beaubien Inc. He’s active in the local Rotary Club.

According to the rules of the contest, the Watsons can’t take any money for their tickets. They can only lend the seats to others. Rob figures they’ll visit their SkyDome seats at least a couple of times a week, driving in from Wallaceburg for at least the first season - a three-hour trip in their big Oldsmobile.

I wouldn’t mind having me one of those t-shirts.

Posted 2 months ago

First Homestand at SkyDome, ScoreBook Magazine 1989

Originally, the stadium was meant to open for the first Blue Jays game of 1989. However, labour strikes pushed back the deadline… On the night of nights, hosts Alan Thicke and Andrea Martin are scheduled to bring on stage the likes of comedian Andre-Philippe Gagnon, jazzman Oscar Peterson, the rock group Glass Tiger, singer Tommy Ambrose, Teresa Pitt from Toronto Symphony Orchestra. The segments are also to feature up to 7,000 dancers recruited from fitness clubs and other venues.

A capacity crowd was expected at $57 to $252 a ticket ($5,000 for a 12-seat SkyBox)… The night is meant to earn a million dollars for charity.

Happy 25th birthday to SkyDome. Apparently there could be many more, as the article mentions a projected lifespan of two to three centuries, “based on weather-resistant materials used.”

Posted 3 months ago

Lloyd Moseby leaping for a ball, OK OK Blue Jays book

Top 6 Blue Jays players that were born in the 1950s (in order of games played). There were 133 players from that decade overall.

Lloyd Moseby - 1,392
Ernie Whitt - 1,218
George Bell - 1,181
Rance Mulliniks - 1,115
Willie Upshaw - 1,115
Jesse Barfield - 1,032

The Shaker tops this list, which I expanded to 6 since only 10 Blue Jays have played in 1,000 games for the team (and because Jesse Barfield is my favourite player).

I still find it remarkable that Bell (Oct 21), Barfield (10/29), and Moseby (11/5) were all born within 15 days of each other and would each go on to play over 1,000 games for the same team - often side by side in the same outfield. I looked it up and there were 145 major leaguers born in 1959, and only 5 others were squeezed in between these dates.

Here are the lists for players born in the 1940s and 1930s.

Posted 3 months ago

John Mayberry, 1981 Scorebook Magazine Vol. 5 No. 3

"Big John" was the first Blue Jay to hit 30 home runs in a season. I love how locked and loaded he looks here, and I’m digging the CBC logo in the background. I’m also a big fan of his cap and helmet combo (and now that Juan Pierre isn’t on a MLB roster in 2014 we may have seen the last of this glorious combo).

But the real reason for this post is to show you the top 5 Blue Jays players that were born in the 1940s (in order of games played). There were 36 players from that decade overall.

John Mayberry - 549
Buck Martinez - 454
Cliff Johnson - 400
Sam Ewing - 137
Jesse Jefferson - 127