Ranking the Top Five Toronto Blue Jays of All-Time
As the new MLB season gets going and the Toronto Blue Jays find themselves as one of the best teams in the American League, we thought it would be a good time to rhyme off our list of top five Jays players of all time.
And you might be surprised – they all are not part of those World Series teams from the early 1990s. All right, a few of them are.
The team didn’t experience a lot of success, through the later 1990s and into the 2000s. That started to change around 2015. Now, as a drafted core built around Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero, Alek Manoah and Danny Janssen matures, and is complemented by A-List free agent signees and trade recruits like Matt Chapman, George Springer, Kevin Gausman, Daulton Varsho, things are exciting for bettors here.
Oddsmakers have the Jays in the Top 5 on most World Series betting sites futures list.
At the beginning of the season, BetMGM had the Jays at 1.36 to make the playoffs, and 3.20 to miss out. Eighty-six per cent of the handle was on the Jays making the playoffs.
So who laid the groundwork to get us to where we are today?
If you were basing this on statistics, like WAR, you could make an argument for a different five best Blue Jays. But we are going beyond stats with this.
Top 5 Players in Toronto Blue Jays History
The original pioneer, steady as they come. Stieb was a starting pitcher for the Jays from 1979-92, so he was able to be part of that World Series-winning team.
He was a seven-time all-star, and except for 1986, won at least 11 games right through the 1980s.
Stieb pitched 2,822 innings for the Jays between 1979 and 1992, was first in the American League in innings pitched in 1982 and 1984, and had a career ERA of 3.44.
Stieb was the team’s first all-star (the Blue Jays came into existence in 1977) and had a memorable no-hitter in 1990.
We were there for Game 6 in Toronto in 1993 when Carter hit that home run off Mitch Williams to beat the Phillies and win the World Series.
Carter was the emotional backbone of those back-to-back championships, winning Silver Slugger awards in 1991 and 1992, and was a five-time all-star in Toronto.
He was with the Blue Jays for seven seasons, from 1991 through 1997. We are going to go beyond the stats with Carter because when you look at those, you see that he only hit over .300 once in his career and wasn’t exactly Devon White defensively in the outfield. He didn’t take a lot of walks either.
What Carter did was hit home runs and drive in runs. He had over 100 RBIs in 10 of his 16 MLB seasons. From 1986 to 1996, he was in the Top 10 of AL home runs seven times. And he hit one of the biggest in baseball history, with all the pressure and all the spotlight on him, in 1993.
Toronto Blue Jays the most bet on team in Ontario's first year of sports betting.
Alomar and Roy Halladay are in the MLB Hall of Fame. Was there a bigger talent-for-talent trade in the history of baseball than the one orchestrated by the Blue Jays and San Diego Padres in 1991 – Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff going to San Diego for Joe Carter and Alomar?
Alomar raised his batting average to over .300 during those two World Series years – finishing third in the 1993 AL batting race with a .326 average, won ALCS MVP honours in 1992, and hit a combined .354 in four post-season series during those championship seasons.
As teammate Dave Winfield said, everyone could see Alomar’s skills on the field. He was acrobatic and had his own style, Winfield added.
Halladay won the 2003 Cy Young Award and was The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year that season as well.
Halladay pitched 2,044.8 innings between 1998 and 2009, and his 8.1 WAR in 2003 is the third-best in club history.
Halladay did great things with the Philadelphia Phillies after being traded there in 2009, including pitching a no-hitter in the 2010 NL Division Series, and winning another Cy Young.
He is one of only five pitchers in Blue Jays history to strike out more than 1,000 batters during their career in Toronto (1,495), second only to Stieb (1,658), and has the best career winning percentage in Blue Jays history at .661.
Baseball Winter Meetings Put the Blue Jays in the Spotlight
This summer, “Joey Bats” comes home to take his rightful place among the Level of Excellence player banners around the Rogers Centre.
His bat flip after a home run in Game 6 of the AL Divisional Series against the Texas Rangers in 2015 ranks as one of the top Toronto sporting moments in the past 50 years.
Bautista was a beast at the plate, a six-time all-star, and hit 288 home runs with the Blue Jays.
Greatest Toronto Blue Jays: Honorable mentions
Carlos Delgado, Tony Fernandez, Jesse Barfield, Lloyd Moseby, Jimmy Key, George Bell.
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