Posted 1 week ago

Melky Cabrera doing that thing that Kawasaki imitated

Since we all miss Melky a little after his season-ending injury, I thought I’d post a video of him doing his look-the-ball-into-the-cather’s-mitt-and-freeze thing. Munenori Kawasaki’s imitation of this (as filmed by Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion) made the rounds earlier this year.

Posted 1 week ago

John Mayberry, 1980 Scorebook volume 4 no. 13

Seeing as his son made his Blue Jays debut last night, it’s as good a time as any for another “Big John” cap and helmet combo photo. 

John Mayberry was arguably the best Blue Jay of the early years. He came to the Jays in 1978, from the strong Royals teams of the mid ’70s where he was a two-time all-star, and the AL MVP runner-up in 1976. He still holds the Royals’ single season record for walks with 122 in 1973. The 30 HR he hit in 1980 was the Blue Jays record until 1986, and when he left for the Yankees after the 1982 season (Willie Upshaw was ready to become the starting 1B), he was the team’s all-time leader in HR and RBI.

After all these years, Big John is tied with George Bell for 8th all-time in Blue Jays career OPS+ at 119 (minimum 500 games). I would love it if John Mayberry Jr. would wear the cap-helmet combo for a home game as a homage to his dad.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Topps 2012 Blue Jays team set

It’s amazing that this set came out only 2 years ago, and of the 16 players in the set, only 4 (Bautista, Cecil, Encarnacion, Lind) will be playing meaningful time down the stretch. Two. Years. Ago.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Blue Jays 1988 top prospects, Baseball Digest March 1988

On the day when the September call-ups arrived for action, here were the top Blue Jays prospects heading into the 1988 season. In honour of Dalton Pompey, there’s even some Canadian content on this list.

When you look at how long this group stuck around in the majors, it’s a pretty good list.

Wells - 53.5 career WAR, 21 seasons
Stottlemyre - 21.1 WAR, 14 seasons
Myers - 7.4 WAR, 18 seasons
Ducey - 3.3 WAR, 13 seasons
Campusano - 0.0 WAR, 3 seasons

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 2 months 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 2 months 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 3 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 3 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.