Submitted and Written by: Scott McKague
Bell, Alomar, Carter, Steib, Delgado. Every franchise has its hero’s from the past.
Toronto’s team may not have been around as long as most, but after 2 World Series victories, An AL MVP, 2 AL ROY awards, countless Silver Sluggers, Gold Glovers, and newspaper covers, I contend amidst the sneers and jeers of Boston and Chicago fans that the Blue Jays are at true franchise status. Blue Jay fans love their team and can rhyme off the great players and moments in time with ease.
The memorable snapshots in history like Joe Carter’s WS walk off, Kelly Gruber’s tag on the heel of “Neon” Dion Sanders to finish what will always be a triple play for me, Junior Felix hauling in the last out capping off Dave Steib’s no-hitter that he deserved SO badly after coming so close in previous attempts, and the list goes on and on.
In this blog however, I want to take some time to remember the lesser-known Jays, the franchise-builders, the cogs in the Blue Jays machine. Let’s face it; Rogers will never open a “Danny Cox Restaurant” in the 500 level. There will never be a Luis Leal Bobble Head Day or a Tilson Brito jersey hanging in the Jays Shop but all these guys share one thing, they got to the SHOW.
They all came out of the locker room one sunny summer day wearing a Jays jersey, they all were cheered (and maybe booed) by some of us, and while their stats can’t hold a candle to some major leaguers, they followed the dream and played for the team we all love.
In my youth, I studied the stats on the back of a Mark Whitten baseball card just as long as I did Jimmy Key’s and read up on Jim Acker and Fred McGriff equally as a kid. So let’s not forget the Jays who may have played smaller roles, but who’s hearts were undoubtedly as committed as any player to winning and representing our north-of-the-border baseball franchise on the world stage.
Cheers to the Cliff Johnson’s, the Geno Petralli’s, and the Alexis Infante’s of the world! Kudos to Russ Adams, Mookie Wilson, Huck Flener and Rob Bulter! Above all else, thank you Rance Mulliniks! Your scorecard said “Utility”, but you were a backbone! The #5 tattoo in power blue on my leg says it all.
I will sell you my Felipe Crespo autographed baseball for $4,600, and only because for the money I can go buy a season’s pass to get more balls signed by future cogs in the machine of the Toronto Blue Jays franchise!