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(Toronto Blue Jays)

(Toronto Blue Jays)

2023 Season

Season Preview:  Is this the year the Jays go all the way? Many experts believe so. They improved their pitching by adding Chris Bassitt to the rotation and some new players who will help on defense. In 2022, Toronto sometimes struggled against right-handed pitchers. In 2023, they will have lefties Daulton Varsho, Brandon Belt, and Kevin Kiermaier to balance the lineup. Of course, the team’s “three sons” will be expected to take another step forward. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, and Bo Bichette are now veteran players who know what it takes to win.

2022 Season

Season Recap: The Blue Jays won 92 games and made the playoffs, but lost the Wild Card series to the Mariners. A 10–9 defeat by Seattle—after the Jays had a seven-run lead—left a bad taste in the mouths of Toronto fans, ending an otherwise exciting season. Bo Bichette, George Springer, and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. were the leading hitting for the club, with newcomer Matt Chapman chipping in 27 home runs. Alek Manoah led the team with 16 wins and was named AL Pitcher of the Month for September, while Jordan Romano saved 36 games.

Season Preview: Toronto gets to play all of its home games at home this season following two years of COVID restrictions. They go into battle led by young stars Vladimir Guerrero Jr., George Springer, Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, and Teoscar Hernandez. Cy Young Award winner Robbie Ray left the team as a free agent, but the Jays added veteran Kevin Gausman and also have talented starters Jose Berrios and Hyun Jin Ryu—along with closer Jordan Romano. Does this add up to an AL East title? Many experts say yes. A few are even picking Toronto to win the World Series.

2021 Season

Season Recap: Toronto went down to the final day of the season before being falling just short of a playoff chance. The Jays were led by pitcher Robbie Ray and slugger Vladimir Guerrero Jr., who became the youngest home run champion in 56 years (he tied with Salvador Perez of the Royals with 48). Toronto also got big years out of Marcus Semien, Teoscar Hernandez, Bo Bichette, Steven Matz, and Jordan Romano. Injuries to George Springer and Cavan Biggio kept them off the field for half the season, which probably cost the Blue Jays the wins they needed to reach the playoffs.

September 29, 2021: Marcus Semien hit his 44th home run to set a new record for second basemen. The old record was held by Davey Johnson, who hit 43 in 1973.

July 13, 2021: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. was named MVP of the All-Star Game, who homered in a 5¬2 win for the American League. Guerrero’s home run was the 200th in All-Star Game history.

Season Preview: The Jays will score a ton of runs in 2021, thanks to the additions of Marcus Semien and George Springer. Hyun-Jin Ryu leads a pitching staff that features Ross Stripling, Steven Matz, and Tanner Roark. Fans will be watching the defense closely, with a couple of players getting used to new positions.

2020 Season

Season Recap: The Blue Jays played all of their home games in Buffalo, New York because the Canadian government did not want the players traveling in and out of the US during the coronavirus pandemic. They made it to the playoffs thanks to sensational seasons from their three outfielders—Teoscar Hernandez, Randal Grichuk, and Lourdes Gurriel—and pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu. Unfortunately, the Jays could not get past the Tampa Bay Rays in the Wild Card round, losing 2 games to 0.

Season Preview: The excitement in Toronto for 2020 won’t actually be in Toronto: The Canadian government won’t let the Jays go back and forth across the US border because of COVID-19 fears. The club moved into an old stadium in Buffalo, New York, a few hours away. Buffalo baseball fans will get to see some of the game’s up-and-coming stars this season, including Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette, and Nate Pearson.

2019 Season

Season Recap: Although the Jays dropped 95 games, their season gave fans moments of hope for the future. Thirteen players reached double-digits in home runs, including rising stars Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio—all three sons of former major league stars. Reliever Ken Giles got his career back on track as a top-notch closer and teenager Elvis Luciano showed he might be ready for stardom in 2020.

August 6, 2019: Rookie Bo Bichette became the first player in history with 10 extra-base hits in his first 9 games.

May 24, 2019: Cavan Biggio and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. became the first teammates in history with Hall of Fame fathers (Craig Biggio and Vladimir Guerrero Sr.).

March 31, 2019: 19-year-old pitcher Elvis Luciano played his first big league game against the Tigers, making him the first major leaguer to be born in the 2000s. Luciano was born February 15, 2000 in the Dominican Republic.

Season Preview: Toronto fans don’t expect their team to finish ahead of the Red Sox and Yankees, but they can’t wait to see the young stars who will get them to the top of the AL East one day. Catcher Danny Jansen and infielders Lourdes Gurriel and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. should make their marks this year, while minor leaguers Bo Bichette and Nate Pearson might see playing time in September.

2018 Season

Season Recap: Injuries and up-and-down pitching slowed Toronto all year long, which prevented them from competing with the Red Sox and Yankees. In July, the team traded its best pitcher, J.A. Happ, to New York. The Jays did hit the baseball—11 players hit 10 or more home runs, including Justin Smoak and Randall Grichuk, who led the team with 25 each.

April 10, 2018: Roberto Osuna saved his 100th career game. At 23 years and 62 days, he became the youngest pitcher in history to reach 100 saves.

Season Preview: The Jays will go as far as their pitching will take them. Starters Aaron Sanchez, Marco Estrada, J.A. Happ, and Marcus Stroman have the potential to win 50-plus games. The lineup suffered from a power outage in 2017. In 2018, the hitters are a year older, which may not be a good thing. Josh Donaldson needs to stay healthy all year, and Toronto’s minor-league prospects need to contribute as soon as they are called up to the big leagues.

2017 Season

Season Recap: Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak teamed up for 71 homers, but it wasn’t enough to get the Jays into the postseason after making the playoffs in 2015 and 2016. Reliever Roberto Osuna saved 38 games, but Toronto’s starting pitchers took a step backwards after a heroic 2016 season.

July 30, 2017: Steve Pearce became the first player in history to hit two walk-off grand slams in a week.

July 11, 2017: Justin Smoak was the starting first baseman for the AL in the 2017 All-Star Game. He had a hit and a walk in two trips to the plate.

2016 Season

November 1, 2016: Toronto finished tied for second in the AL East to earn a spot in the Wild Card Game with the Orioles. Edwin Encarnacion won the game with a 3-run homer in the bottom of the 11th inning. The Jays swept the Texas Rangers in the Division Series before falling to the Indians in the ALCS. It was a disappointing end to a fun season that saw eight hitters reach double-figures in home runs, and two pitchers—J.A. Happ and Aaron Sanchez—go 35–6.

June 21, 2016: Marco Estrada set a new record for starting pitchers when he pitched his 11th game in a row giving up five hits or fewer.

2015 Season

April 10, 2015: Mark Buehrle defeated the Orioles for the 200th victory of his career. Only 115 players in history have won 200 or more games.

April 5, 2015: The four sluggers in the middle of the order—Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Russell Martin, and Josh Donaldson—should be good for 100-plus homers. If speedy Jose Reyes can stay healthy and some of the team’s young pitchers improve, the Jays could make their long-awaited return to the playoffs.

2014 Season

November 1, 2014: From late May to early July, the Blue Jays held the top spot in the AL East. They could not keep up their torrid pace, and eventually sank to third, but there was plenty to cheer about in Toronto. Jose Bautista had another big year at the plate, as did Edwin Encarnacion. Young starters Drew Hutchison and Marcus Stroman also showed they were ready to big things in the future.

March 31, 2014: Injuries and poor seasons destroyed Toronto in 2013. The same team takes the field in 2013. Will they be healthier? Will they play better? Depending on who you ask, the Jays are a playoff team or a last-place team. It should be an interesting season north of the border!

2013 Season

October 1, 2013: Despite high hopes and new faces in new places, the Blue Jays were the only team in the AL East without a winning record. Jose Reyes, Emilio Bonifacio, and Melky Cabrera each lost two months to injuries, and slugger Jose Bautista hit just 28 home runs. Bright spots for the Jays included a career year from Edwin Encarnacion and 34 saves from closer Casey Janssen.

March 30, 2013: Blockbuster trades and free agent signings made the Blue Jays instant contenders. R.A. Dickey, Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Emilio Bonifacio, and Melky Cabrera have given Toronto the look of a winner.

2012 Season

October 3, 2012: The Blue Jays finished fourth in the AL’s toughest division, but there was plenty to cheer about in Toronto. Several young hitters showed they were ready to become stars, including Edwin Encarnacion, who blasted 42 homers.

August 13, 2012: Relief pitcher Steve Delabar faced seven Chicago White Sox players and struck out six of them in an extra-inning victory. He fanned four batters in the 10th inning; catcher Jeff Mathis dropped a third strike and the runner reached first. No one had ever struck out four batters in an extra inning before.

April 5, 2012: The Blue Jays won the longest Opening Day game in history. They defeated the Cleveland Indians 7–4 in 16 innings. The old record was 15 innings, set in 1926 and tied in 1960.

March, 2012: The Blue Jays have a new closer. Frank Francisco signed to play with the New York Mets in 2012, so the Blue Jays traded for Sergio Santos to take his place. Santos saved 30 games for the Chicago White Sox last season, and from 2010 to 2011 he made 30 appearances on the road without allowing a run.

More Go-To Guys

Jesse Barfield takes a big cut. He was one of the most powerful athletes in the game during the 1980s. (Author’s Collection)

The Blue Jays often had portraits of players on their scorecards. This one shows Devon White. (Toronto Blue Jays)

Pat Hentgen signed this photo. He was fun to watch—he really knew what he was doing out there on the mound. (Author’s Collection)

  • Jesse Barfield — Outfielder
    Born: 10/29/1959
    Played for Team: 1981 to 1989
    Jesse Barfield was one of the strongest players in team history. He had a powerful throwing arm and an explosive bat. In 1986, he led the American League with 40 home runs.

  • Lloyd Moseby — Outfielder
    Born: 11/5/1959
    Played for Team: 1980 to 1989
    Lloyd Moseby was a good clutch hitter and fast runner. He stole more than 250 bases for the Blue Jays and led the AL in triples in 1984.

  • Devon White — Outfielder
    Born: 12/29/1962
    Played for Team: 1991 to 1995
    Devon White was one of the game’s greatest defensive center fielders, winning Gold Gloves every year he played with the Blue Jays. In the playoffs and World Series, he became a dangerous hitter. White was a key to Toronto’s championships in 1992 and 1993. In Game 3 of the 1992 World Series, he made an amazing catch that Toronto fans are still talking about.

  • John Olerud — First Baseman
    Born: 8/5/1968
    Played for Team: 1989 to 1996
    John Olerud was a great hitter and pitcher in college. The Blue Jays used him as a first baseman, where his bat and glove could do the team the most good. Olerud won the batting championship in 1993 and was one of the top defensive players at his position.

  • Pat Hentgen — Pitcher
    Born: 9/13/1968
    Played for Team: 1991 to 1999 & 2004
    Pat Hentgen won 19 games for the Blue Jays in his first full year with the team and beat the Philadelphia Phillies that fall in the 1993 World Series. He won 20 games in 1996 to earn the Cy Young Award. Hentgen was not afraid to challenge hitters with his fastball, but often got them out by changing speeds and locations.

  • Shawn Green — Outfielder
    Born: 11/10/1972
    Played for Team: 1993 to 1999
    Shawn Green had a beautiful swing that produced 77 homers for the Blue Jays in 1998 and 1999. Green also had one of best throwing arms of any outfielder in the big leagues.

  • Shannon Stewart — Outfielder
    Born: 2/25/1974
    Played for Team: 1995 to 2003 & 2008
    Shannon Stewart triggered the Toronto offense by batting .300 and scoring 100 runs each year from 1999 to 2002. He also stole 166 bases during his Blue Jays career.

  • Ricky Romero — Pitcher
    Born: 11/6/1984
    Played for Team: 2009 to 2013
    Ricky Romero led his college to a national championship, and then kept winning when he reached the majors. He had 42 victories in his first three seasons with the Jays and was an All-Star in 2011.

  • Vladimir Guerrero Jr. — First Baseman
    Born: 3/16/1999
    First Season with Team: 2019
    Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the son of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero, a tall and slender slugger. Vlad Jr. is more powerfully built, but he is at his best when he cracks lie drives all over the field.

More Fun Facts

It was a play like this that cost Aaron Hill most of the 2008 season. (Black Book Partners)

  • YA MON!
    Devon White was only the second big leaguer to be born in Jamaica, and just the fourth as of 2011. The others are Chili Davis, Rolando Roomes, and Justin Masterson.

    In 1992, David Cone joined the Blue Jays after spending most of the year with the Mets. He struck out 214 batters with New York and 47 more with Toronto. Even though Cone led the majors with 261 strikeouts, he was neither the NL or AL champion.

    In May of 2008, Aaron Hill suffered a concussion in a collision at second base and missed the rest of the season for the Jays. In 2009, he hit a career-best 36 homers and played in the All-Star Game. No one was surprised when Hill was named Comeback Player of the Year.

    In 1992, Jack Morris became the first Blue Jays pitcher to win 20 games. In 1993, he set a big-league record when he started his 14th Opening Day in a row.

League Leaders

This is a great picture of Fred McGriff. It wasn’t easy for photographers to catch him smiling, but my friend John Klein did. (Black Book Partners/John Klein)

Roy Halladay looks in for the catcher’s signal. It’s a shame the Blue jays never made it to the playoffs when he was on the team. (Black Book Partners)

  • Home Runs
    1986 — Jesse Barfield — 40
    1989 — Fred McGriff — 36
    2010 — Jose Bautista — 54
    2011 — Jose Bautista — 43
    2021— Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. — 48*

    *Tied with another player

  • Batting Average
    1993 — John Olerud — .363

  • Runs Batted In
    1987 — George Bell — 134
    2003 — Carlos Delgado — 145
    2015 — Josh Donaldson — 123
    2016 — Edwin Encarnacion — 127*

    *Tied with another player

  • Stolen Bases
    No Blue Jay has led the league in stolen bases

  • Wins
    1992 — Jack Morris — 21
    1997 — Roger Clemens — 21
    1998 — Roger Clemens — 20
    2000 — David Wells — 20
    2003 — Roy Halladay — 22

  • Strikeouts
    1997 — Roger Clemens — 292
    1998 — Roger Clemens — 271
    2008 — A.J. Burnett — 231
    2021 — Robbie Ray — 248

  • Earned Run Average
    1985 — Dave Stieb — 2.48
    1987 — Jimmy Key — 2.76
    1996 — Juan Guzman — 2.93
    1997 — Roger Clemens — 2.05
    1998 — Roger Clemens — 2.65
    2015 — David Price — 2.45*
    2016 — Aaron Sanchez — 3.00
    2021 — Robbie Ray — 2.84

    *Also played for Tigers

Playing for the Championship

1992 Atlanta Braves Won 4–2
1993 Philadelphia Phillies Won 4–2

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