When most people are asked about who their favourite all-time Jays player is, most of the time it is the hitter who hit the most home runs or pitcher who had the most wins. In relation to the Jays, that could have been anyone from George Bell to Joe Carter to Jose Bautista, or Jack Morris to Roger Clemens to Roy Halladay.
But I always liked the player who could do a bit of everything and do it well: have a good batting average, score runs, steal bases, lay down a bunt, move the runner, play good defense, and be a game-changer in a way where he can effect the outcome of a game many different ways.
For these reasons, that is why my favourite all-time Jay is Roberto Alomar.
Most of Alomar’s best statistical years did not take place in Toronto; in fact, they took place in Cleveland. That being said, Alomar’s impact on the franchise and city has been long-lasting and surpassed his years as a Jay as evident last year on Roberto Alomar Day, where, I, being lucky enough to be in attendance, gave the man who provided so many awe-dropping plays a standing ovation that felt like an eternity.
The plays Alomar made are forever engraved in the minds of Blue Jays fans: his diving stop at second vs. Atlanta in the 1992 World Series, his effortless defense and how he got to balls that look impossible to get to, and his clutch hitting – highlighted by a game-tying two-run home run of Dennis Eckersley in the 9th inning of the 1992 American League Championship Series, which the Jays ended up winning and then beat the Atlanta Braves for their first World Series title.
Highlights aside, the most admirable trait that Alomar brought to the Jays during his five year tenure was consistency and playing all-out every game, every at bat, every inning. In his five years in Toronto, every year he made the All-Star team and won a Gold Glove for fielding excellence.
As a young kid growing up playing baseball, I tried to model my play after Alomar, even taking on his stance. I wanted to be the kind of player that could affect the game a number of different ways and would do anything to help my team win. If the Jays can find their modern-day Alomar, perhaps a World Series will be closer than we think.