Best Ever Blue Jays Players
The Toronto Blue Jays are Canada’s baseball team, and since 1977, Toronto has been building a culture of the sport in the Great White North – quite literally, since the first Blue Jays game was played in the snow. Generations of Jays players have inspired Canadian kids across the country to take to the diamond – some of which have become Big Leaguers themselves, such as Toronto-area kids Joey Votto and Jordan Romano.
After some tough early years, Toronto managed back-to-back World Series Championship victories in 1992 and 1993, cementing baseball in the hearts of Canadians forever. Flash forward 30 years, and the Jays have one of the most exciting young teams in the Major Leagues and are looking to add to their two pennants. Bodog regularly feature the Blue Jays high up in our MLB betting boards and we’re hopeful that soon they can go all the way.
To honour the great history of the Toronto Blue Jays, we’re looking back at five of the best ever Blue Jays players. From the early pioneers playing in Exhibition Stadium to today’s star-studded roster, we’ll break down the players that have had the biggest impact on the team and stand apart from all other Blue Jays players.
It’s hard to find a player that exemplifies the Toronto Blue Jays better than Roberto Alomar, and he simply had to feature on our list of the best ever Blue Jays players. The second baseman is arguably the best second baseman of all time, batting for a career .300 average, 210 homeruns and 1,134 RBIs, with 474 stolen bases over 16 seasons, while winning 10 Gold Gloves in the process.
The Jays acquired Alomar following the 1990 season, along with Joe Carter, for Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez. Alomar immediately became the cornerstone of the Jays’ roster, hitting second in the lineup and adding a dimension to the Blue Jays that we’ve not seen since. Statistically, Alomar amassed 55 home runs, 206 stolen bases and a .307 average while playing for the Jays over five seasons. But his post-season performances in 1992 and 1993 are what makes Alomar stand apart the most. In the 1993 postseason, he hit .388 with a .944 OPS, and added 10 stolen bases and 8 runs scored over 12 games. Alomar was a pillar of consistency for the Jays and was the key player in their back-to-back championships.
While he didn’t play with the Jays for long, moving to Baltimore and then Cleveland, there’s no question that Alomar and the Jays are synonymous. In 2011, the infielder was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and was the first player depicted as a Toronto Blue Jay on a Hall of Fame plaque.
Arguably the Toronto Blue Jays’ best ever pitcher, and a serious contender in the best ever Blue Jays players bracket, Dave Stieb was selected in the fifth round of the 1978 draft and played all but one of his 16 big league seasons with Toronto. Famously, Stieb missed out on three no-hitters with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, including in two-straight games in 1988, and a perfect game in the bottom of the ninth the season after. Finally in September 1990, Stieb accomplished the feat and no-hit the Cleveland Indians, which was the first, and remains the only, no-hitter thrown by a Blue Jays pitcher.
Stieb was on some very bad Blue Jays teams during his career, but still managed to amass a 176-137 record with Toronto, with a 3.44 ERA in 433 games. He also leads Toronto in nearly every statistical pitching category with 175 wins, 2,873 innings pitched, 1,658 strikeouts, 408 starts, 30 shutouts and 103 complete games. Despite being one of the best pitchers of his generation, Stieb never won a Cy Young and received only one look on a Hall of Fame ballot.
The only pitcher that’s in the same conversation for top spot in Blue Jays franchise history is Roy ‘Doc’ Halladay. Halladay was the 17th pick overall in the 1995 draft and was the best pitcher in baseball through the 2000s. He came onto the scene in 1998 and nearly had the franchise’s second no-hitter as a 21-year-old, but surrendered a two-out homerun in the bottom of the ninth versus the Detroit Tigers. The next couple of seasons saw Halladay go back to the minors and reinvent himself. When he came back to the Majors in 2001, it was clear that Halladay would be the Ace of the Jays’ rotation for years to come.
2002 and 2003 were some of Halladay’s best statistical seasons with the Blue Jays; the righty won the 2003 AL Cy Young Award and was named 2003’s Pitcher of the Year. He led the league in wins with 22, complete games with 9, and pitched an insane 266 innings in 2003. Halladay never made the playoffs as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays and was eventually traded to the Philadelphia Phillies ahead of the 2010 season. There, Halladay won another Cy Young award and pitched in two postseasons, including throwing a no-hitter in his first playoff game.
Sadly, Halladay died in 2017 following a plane crash. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2018 with a career 203-105 record and a 3.38 ERA in 416 games.
There have been few players as consistent in the batter’s box as Blue Jays first baseman Carlos Delgado. The Jays signed the big lefty out of the Dominican Republic as a 16-year-old and when he left Toronto in 2004, Delgado was first in most offensive categories for the franchise.
While Delgado never made a postseason appearance for the Blue Jays, he was called up at the end of 1993 season, played in a couple of games and earned a World Series ring. Over the next 11 seasons, Delgado worked to establish himself as the Jays’ everyday first baseman and became one of the MLB’s most feared sluggers. Delgado hit 30 or more homeruns in eight straight seasons with the Jays and over 100 RBIs in six straight seasons.
Delgado went on to play for the Florida Marlins and New York Mets, and had a long postseason run in 2006 with New York. Delgado had over 6,000 plate appearances with Toronto, which is a franchise record, and has the franchise record for homeruns (336), RBIs (1058), and total bases (2786).
Another big-time slugger that can’t be overlooked in Jays’ history is Jose Bautista. Bautista famously kicked around several teams in the early part of his career until landing with the Jays in 2008. His first season with Toronto was nothing special, but in 2010, Bautista caught lightning in a bottle. He cranked out 54 homeruns seemingly out of nowhere and set a franchise record for single-season dingers. Bautista led the Majors in homeruns in two straight seasons and had several more very productive seasons in Toronto. His offensive prowess also led Toronto to their first playoff appearance in 22 years in 2015, which included one of the most iconic moments in Jays’ history with Bautista’s bat flip versus the Texas Rangers.
So there you have it, Bodog’s list of the best ever Blue Jays players? Have we missed anyone? Let us know on Twitter.