I’ve collected a lot of Blue Jays stuff over the years. Maybe too much at times. Hats, cards, posters, shirts, key chains, you name it. If it had the Blue Jays logo on it somewhere I probably wanted it. That’s the excuse for the 19 Blue Jays hats I currently have, which I’m guessing actually pales in comparison to some die-hard collectors in Canada.
Living on the far east coast of Canada has made it difficult to find Jay gear at times. During the World Series years Jays stuff was everywhere, but in the late 90′s and through to the mid-2000s the amount of stuff you were able to find declined quite rapidly. It picked up a bit again after the release of the new logo in 2004 and really took off since they went back to the old look logo heading into this season. Even now it still sucks to know that there is so much more available at the Jays Shop in Toronto than I can find here or even online at BlueJays.com
Putting together this list wasn’t easy. I went around the house making a list of some of my favorite Jays pieces and when I was finished it was a pretty long list. Many cuts had to be made to whittle it down to 10. I made sure to keep my top favorites in there, while also making sure to keep in a few unusual pieces that some people may have never seen before. I also cheated a little bit by lumping a few items together in groups.
10. Blue Jays Duster
Have you ever been to a Blue Jays game with a give away? Maybe the first 25,000 fans in the door got a bobble head, a hat, a Blue Jays gym bag or a Blue Jays team card set? I’ve been to nearly a dozen Blue Jay games in my life and one of them was a fan give away. Instead of a hat or a bat or a bobble head I got this …
On August 11, 1996 the Blue Jays hosted the Texas Rangers on Rubbermaid Fan Duster Day. The first 25,000 fans through the turnstiles received a Blue Jays 20th Anniversary Rubbermaid Fan Duster, as shown in the picture above. I don’t have a crazy photographic memory by the way. I still have the pocket schedule from the 1996 season which lists all fan giveaway days, including Fan Duster Day.
During the game the dusters were used more as noise makers than cleaning implements. The few fans in the 500 level were especially loud throughout the game, banging their dusters against the metal railings. If someone did a list of worst fan prize giveaways this would probably make that list. I’d love to know if anyone else has one of these dusters collecting dust in their basements.
9. Blue Jays Albums
During the glory years in the 1990s the Blue Jays were so popular local entertainers and radio D.Js got together each season with the Variety Club of Ontario to release The Blue Jays Album. Each edition was a mix of a few originals songs and parodies of mostly classic rock songs about the Blue Jays as a team or certain players. A few examples of songs on the albums include Wham, Bam, Blue Jay Gang, Help Us Mookie, The Ballad of Tom Henke and Rockin’ Robbie. If you’re wondering what some of the songs that are parodied on the Jays Albums were a few include Help Me Rhonda, Sloop John B, California Sun, We Will Rock You and Achy Breaky Heart for some reason.
The most well-known Jays song, the 7th inning stretch song OK Blue Jays is also included in a few editions of the Blue Jays album. That’s the full version of OK Blue Jays by Keith Hampshire and The Bat Boys which charted 47th when it was released in 1983.
I remember picking up the first Blue Jays Album I have at the local library. The other two cassettes I bought at Zellers, while the only edition I have on CD was bought through either Columbia House or BMG CD clubs. I don’t remember which one. If you’re too young to know what that is just Google it and check out the insanely inconvenient way us old guys used to buy CDs. Listening to the songs now they’re not as fun or as funny as I found them to be when I was 10 or 11 years old, but what is? Still, they’re an interesting piece of Jays history that likely will not be seen again.
I don’t know how many editions of The Jays Album there are. Trying to find information on the history of The Jays Album is extremely difficult. If anyone has another edition of The Jays Album different than the one’s I’ve got let me know. I’d really like to do a Jays Listed Top 10 Blue Jays Album songs one day as well, but can only rip the 12 songs on the CD to post them. If anyone knows an easy way to turn a cassette into MP3s send me a note on how.
8. First Blue Jays hat/ Blue Jays lapel pins
I don’t remember when I got my first Jays hat, but if I had to guess I’d say it was probably either 1989 or 1990. It was your basic youth size Blue Jays hat with the white front, the original logo and the old mesh style backing which is now called a trucker hat.
I can’t remember the last time I actually wore the hat. I don’t think I should actually try and put it on because the mesh might tear or the snapback clasp might break apart. I’ve actually had those old snapbacks break on me, so whoever came up with switching them out with Velcro, which is now the norm, knew what they were doing.
Since I don’t wear the hat anymore I currently use it to hold my collection of Blue Jays pins. I’ve collected pins in general for as long as I can remember, but my Blue Jays ones are my favorite. Obviously. Some of the pins on the hat include the different logos through the years , Cy Young pins for Clemens and Halladay, a special characterture set of Jack Morris, Roberto Alomar, Kelly Gruber and Joe Carter I got on The Shopping Channel and a glow in the dark logo pin. I’m still looking for a new Jays logo pin so if anyone out there’s looking to get me a gift, hint, hint.
7. Blue Jays catchers helmet
For Christmas in 1992, I got a real catchers helmet from my dad. It was done up in the official Blue Jays colors and was basically the same helmet Pat Border wore behind the plate or the ear flap-less helmet John Olerud wore when he played first base. Dave Winfield also wore it at plate and that’s I liked to think I was when I wore it.
The Helmet had a Blue Jays logo sticker on the front as well. It was a little bit too big for my head when I first got it, but it fits really well now thanks to the foam cushioning inside. Yes, I have a small head! I posted a pic of the helmet on Twitter earlier this season and got some pretty cool reaction. Whenever I get back to Toronto again I’m going to wear the helmet to a game. I would have loved to get one of those replica helmets when they gave them out this season to add to the collection. If anyone knows how to pick one up send me a note.
6. Blue Jays Pennants
When I was a kid there was a baseball card store I visited often to buy and trade cards. On the wall of the store they had a complete circle of pennants of various teams , but mostly Red Sox pennants. I’m not sure how many pennants you need to make a complete circle, but one day I hope to have enough Blue Jays pennants to do it. I’m not quite there yet. Actually not even close.
Right now I have five pennants, which forms just over a quarter of a circle when you put them together on a wall. They include an original logo pennant I got at a sports store in Maine back in 1991, a 1993 World Series pennant, a cool pennant with an actual Blue Jay on it my brother got me in Toronto, a pennant with the second Jays logo and one with the logo they dumped prior to this season. Next on the list to buy is a pennant with the new logo. I’d also like to try and pick up some older pennants to add to the wheel. They showup on Ebay every now and then. If you’ve some old pennants send me a pic on Twitter. I’d love to see them.
5. Blue Jays Christmas ornaments
In 1992 when the Blue Jays won their first World Series they released white Christmas ball ornaments commemorating the championship win. I have two of those but they’re not the ornament I’m referring to.
In Halifax leading up to Christmas time there are a number of Christmas shows that sell all kinds of crafts and ornaments. They also have a ton of great food, which is the main reason I go. Every year at at least one of the shows are the nut ornament people. They probably have a real name for their business but I don’t know what it is. They sell ornaments like the ones shown above.
They sell players for almost every team in every sport as well as comic book characters, cartoons and other fun characters. But this is a Blue Jay blog so let’s just focus on them. I got my first Blue Jays nut ornament during the World Series years. On the back of that one is the name Roberto Alomar and the number 12. A few years ago I picked up the other nut with the twitter bird logo. Hopefully this year I’ll be able to get another one with the new logo. I also have one other Blue Jays nut ornament they sold at Christmas time,1994 holding an On Strike picket sign. Here’s a pic below with another all wood ornament I picked up over the years.
4. 1991 All-Star Game Ruler
When Toronto hosted the All-Star game in 1991 there was a large number of All-Star game memorabilia. I remember getting a beach towel with the All-Star game logo, but it’s since gone to rags after repeated use. One All-Star game souvenir I still have is this ruler I picked up in the same sports store in Maine where I got my first Blue Jays pennant. It’s seen better days and has turned from white to yellow over the years, but at least it’s still in one piece.
The Ruler has the 1991 All-Star Game logo in the center with the starting lineups for the American and National Leagues on the sides. It also lists the final score of the game and the game MVP, Cal Ripken Jr. The lone Blue Jay in the starting line up that year was Roberto Alomar at second. The Expos actually had a starter as well, with Ivan Calderon in left field. Other Jays who appeared in the game, but don’t appear on the ruler include Joe Carter and Jimmy Key.
3. Kraft 1992 World Series Wall Hang
I mentioned this piece in my first article on Back in Blue, but these are the first pictures of it. I don’t remember how I got this, but since it has the Kraft logo on it I’m guessing it was some kind of UPC offer that companies used to offer all the time back in the 80s and 90s. Maybe it was peanut butter or Kraft dinner, but I’m not sure.
Anyway, the wall hang folds up to the size of a magazine, but can be folded out with different pictures on both sides. On one side it shows a double picture of what I believe is the first World Series game in Canada, a few celebration pictures and a short essay on the Jays championship season. On the other side it has a individual rundowns on all six World Series game, including the box score and a picture of a pivotal moment in the game. A few examples include Ed Sprague’s home run, the near triple play and Dave Winfield’s series-winning hit.
2. Blue Jays autographs
If you heard Bob Elliott’s Baseball Hall of Fame induction speech a few weeks ago you might have heard his story about sending a form letter to baseball players when he was a kid to get autographs. Well, back in the early 90′s I did the same thing with the Blue Jays. I got a book from the library on ways to get autographs that listed the mailing address for every professional sports team. I sent a ton of letters that basically said the same thing “you’re my favorite player, blah, blah, blah, along with a card and a self-addressed stamped envelope. I actually got some of those cards back autographed. It was great as a kid to see your self-addressed stamped envelope return in the mail wondering whose card was inside.
The autographs I got through the mail included Mookie Wilson, Dave Stieb, Jimmy Key, John Olerud and Kelly Gruber. I also was able to get a few autographs in person, including Roberto Alomar, Pat Borders and Carlos Delgado at Sky Dome and Dave Winfield and Juan Guzman when they visited Nova Scotia. Also earlier this year during the 2012 Jays Winter Tour I got scrawls from Alomar, J.P. Arencibia, Eric Thames and Brett Cecil.
I also picked up autographed baseballs through other means. I got a Pat Borders autographed ball to go with my card by sending in a few proofs of purchase from Maxwell House Coffee. A number of years ago my dad bought me an autographed baseball at an auction that included the signatures of Joe Carter, Kelly Gruber, Dave Stieb and some guy named Clarence Gaston. I also have a ball signed by everyone on the 2012 Winter Your and Juan Guzman.
1. Blue Jays T-shirt Blanket
This isn’t exactly a piece of Blue Jays memorabilia, it’s really a few pieces made into one. It’s also a one-of-kind and since it’s my list it goes right to the top.
The only problem with being 11 and 12 years old when your favorite team wins the World Series, well two World Series, is that the winning gear, shirts mostly, only fit you for a few years. I had a number of Blue Jays World Series shirts when I was a kid that wouldn’t come close to fitting me today.
My mom keeps everything and many years later those old shirts were still packed away somewhere in the old house. A few years ago they got new life in the form of a T-Shirt blanket my mom made for me. The blanket actually included more than just Blue Jays shirts, but never mind those since this is a Blue Jays blog. The pictures of the blanket itself is above and each individual Jays shirt are below. Here’s a rundown of what they are. The first one is a Kelly Gruber shirt obviously, my favorite player growing up. Then there’s my first ever Blue Jays jersey, also bought at that same store in Maine many years ago. There’s also a 1992 World Series Shirt, a 1993 World Series shirt and a Back to Back shirt celebrating both championships. The last one is an XXL 25th Anniversary shirt I got for applying for a Blue Jays credit card at Sky Dome in 2005. I was declined by the way.
Honorable Mention: Value Village stash:
Over the last year or so I’ve come to find that Value Village (basically a second-hand store for anyone who doesn’t know) is a great place to hunt for old Blue Jays stuff. If you’re looking for some hard-to-find or old-time Jays memorabilia I recommend scouring the shelves of your local Value Village. Unless you’re in Nova Scotia, because that stuff’s mine! Here’s some of the stuff I’ve picked up cheap at Value Village in Halifax and Dartmouth recently
Do you have your own special piece of Blue Jays memorabilia? Or, maybe a rare piece that you’ve never seen anywhere? Or, maybe just a great Blue Jays memorabilia story? Feel free to share it in the comments section and tweet some pics to @pokerdave04 and @backinblue2012