Toronto Blue Jays

Wed, 05 Nov 2008 21:52

The history of the Toronto Blue Jays

Information about the MLB team Toronto Blue Jays.

Toronto, Canada’s team in Major League Baseball is the Blue Jays. The Blue Jays are the only remaining MLB team outside the United States after the Montreal Expos moved to Washington to become the Nationals. The Toronto Blue Jays have many distinctions aside from being the only MLB team in Canada. They are also the only team outside the United States to win a World Series. The Blue Jays are also the fastest expansion team to win a World Series. The Blue Jays joined the American League in 1977 together with the Seattle Mariners. The city was already looking for a franchise before that year, with the San Francisco Giants showing interest but was eventually revoked.

The Toronto Blue Jays: The early years

To prepare the new franchise, the owners of the Toronto Blue Jays, the Labatt Breweries, hired Paul Beeston to become the vice president of business operations. They would also get Peter Bavasi and Pat Gillick as general manager and assistant, respectively. The team would get their name from a contest, wherein “Blue Jays” successfully won. The newly christened Toronto Blue Jays played their first match on April 7, 1977 versus the Chicago White Sox. The team would win the game but would end up in last place for the entire season. Pat Gillick then took over the General Manager post after 1977.

The team would continue to improve by hiring good talents to their roster. They got Alfredo Griffin, who became the co-winner of the Rookie of the Year award in 1979. However, the team would continue to hover in the bottom part of the standings from 1979 to 1981. Bobby Cox would then become the team manager in 1982. He made a significant impact by making the team win 78 games as compared with previous seasons’ wins of 37 and 67. The team’s roster also improved as the Blue Jays developed around Dave Stieb, Luis Leal, and Jim Clancy. They also had the services of Lloyd Moseby and Jesse Barfield.

The Toronto Blue Jays improved again the next season as they placed fourth in their division, winning a total of 89 games. In 1984, the Blue Jays would come in second place in their division behind the eventual World Series title holders Detroit Tigers. In the off-season, the Blue Jays lost Alfredo Griffin to the Oakland Athletics. However, this event allowed the emergence of Tony Fernandez, who would become a crowd favorite in Toronto. The Blue Jays eventually won their first American League East title in 1985. They would then lose to the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship Series but this signified the start of new things in Toronto.

The team did not qualify for the playoffs from 1986 to 1988. However, by 1989, the Toronto Blue Jays would be constant contenders for the titles. A new stadium called the SkyDome was created during that season and it proved to help the Blue Jays in their quest for a championship. The team would win the American League East title and go on to face the Oakland Athletics in the Championship Series. They lost that match-up but it helped the team discover the missing pieces of their roster. The Blue Jays would not make the playoffs in 1990, thus prompting them to get good players for a championship run.

Before the start of the 1991 season, the Blue Jays traded players with the San Diego Padres. The team sent Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff for Joe Carter and Roberto Alomar. The Blue Jays also acquired Devon White. The team won in their division that year but would lose to the eventual World Series champions, the Minnesota Twins. The Blue Jays knew that it was only a few players away from becoming champions thus they continued their upgrade during the 1992 off-season. They would get Jack Morris, a World Series MVP, and future Hall of Fame inductee Dave Winfield.

The Blue Jays easily won their division title in 1992 and would face the Oakland Athletics in the American League Championship Series. In a hard-fought series, the Blue Jays would win the match-up to square off against the Atlanta Braves in the World Series. The key players in this battle would be Ed Sprague, Candy Maldonado, Jimmy Key, Mike Timlin and Dave Winfield. In the end, the Blue Jays would win their first World Series. This would be the start of two consecutive World Series titles for the Blue Jays. In the off-season, the team allowed Dave Winfield and Tom Henke to move to other teams. Yet, they would get Paul Molitor and Dave Stewart as suitable replacements.

The 1993 All-Star team was dominated by players coming from the Blue Jays. The lineup was composed of John Olerud, Roberto Alomar, Joe Carter, Devon White, Paul Molitor, Pat Hentgen and Duane Ward. During the mid-season, the team acquired the services of Rickey Henderson from the Oakland Athletics. They would then win the division title to face the Chicago White Sox in the American League Championship Series. The Blue Jays won 4-2 and moved on to match up with Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series. The Blue Jays got their second World Series title by beating the Phillies 4-2.

The team was a monster force to be reckoned with and many analysts thought that the Blue Jays would consider a “three-peat”. However, the Blue Jays fell to third place before the 1994 player strike. Some of their players were already losing their touch but there were also young talents who showed promise such as Alex Gonzalez, Shawn Green and Carlos Delgado. Pat Gillick, the Blue Jays’ general manager for 17 years, would resign before the start of the 1995 season. He was replaced by Gord Ash, the Assistant General Manager of the team. Although the team had almost the same cast of players, the Blue Jays would fall to last place in their division.

There was a significant drop in attendance due to the Blue Jays’ losing ways. Some fans no longer supported their team and the ticket revenue suffered. To regain their fan base, the Blue Jays acquired Roger Clemens from the Boston Red Sox. The Blue Jays already have Cy Young award winner Pat Hentgen and adding good players to the team would certainly improve their winning chances. However, the team still remained in last place at the end of the 1997 season. By the start of the 1998 season, the Blue Jays have added Randy Myers and Jose Canseco to their roster. They would improve their winning record but it was not enough to give them a shot at the playoffs.

The team continued to acquire good talents over the years. In 1999, the Blue Jays got David Wells, Horner Bush, and Graeme Lloyd from the New York Yankees for Roger Clemens. The team remained in last place during that season but posted another winning record 84-78. The Blue Jays contended for the division title in the year 2000 but still did not make the playoffs. By the end of 2001, the Blue Jays have lost most of their veteran players such as Alex Gonzalez, Billy Koch, Brad Fullmer and Paul Quantrill. The team tried to rebuild around their young players such as Eric Hinske and Felipe Lopez. The team is still to reach the playoffs since their last appearance in 1993.