100 Things Blue Jays Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die

100 Things Blue Jays Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die

by Steve Clarke

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Overview

100 Things Blue Jays Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die by Steve Clarke

Whether a die-hard booster from the days of John Mayberry or a new supporter of Jose Bautista, these are the 100 things every Toronto Blue Jay fan needs to know, and do, in their lifetime. Author Steve Clarke has collected every essential piece of Blue Jays knowledge and trivia, as well as must-do activities, and ranks them all, providing an entertaining and easy-to-follow checklist as readers progress on their way to fan superstardom. Most Blue Jays fans have taken in a game or two at Rogers Centre, have seen highlights of a young Dave Stieb, and remember where they were when Joe Carter hit his World Series–winning home run in 1993. But only real fans know who spent two decades as the team’s BJ Birdy mascot, can name the opposing player who was once jailed for hitting a seagull with a thrown baseball at Exhibition Stadium, or how long it takes to open the Rogers Centre roof. 100 Things Blue Jays Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die stands as the ultimate resource for true fans of Canada’s sole major league baseball team.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781629374123
Publisher: Triumph Books
Publication date: 04/01/2017
Series: 100 Things...Fans Should Know Series
Edition description: Revised and Updated Edition
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Steve Clarke is a writer whose work has appeared on Comcast.net, Fanball.com, Going9Baseball.com, and Rototimes.com. He often appears on the fantasy baseball Going 9 Baseball Show on Sirius/XM. He lives in Milton, Ontario.

Read an Excerpt

100 Things Blue Jays Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die


By Steve Clarke

Triumph Books LLC

Copyright © 2017 Steve Clarke
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-63319-770-1



CHAPTER 1

The 1993 World Series

"There's a swing and a BELT, LEFT FIELD ... WAY BACK ..."

You could sense the exact millisecond announcer Tom Cheek realized that this ball — hit with one out in the bottom of the ninth — was headed into the seats. It was the same precise moment Blue Jays fans across Canada realized they were watching history, just the second time a World Series had ever been won with a walk-off home run.

"BLUE JAYS WIN IT! The Blue Jays are World Series champions, as Joe Carter hits a three-run home run in the ninth inning, and the Blue Jays have repeated as World Series champions ..."

The country rejoiced as Carter leapt and bounded toward first base, arms extended in the air as far as they could reach. Cheek was aware of what this home run meant.

"Touch 'em all, Joe! You'll NEVER hit a bigger home run in your life!"

The Blue Jays had won 95 regular season games in 1993. Fuelled by the contributions of seven All-Stars (Roberto Alomar, Joe Carter, Pat Hentgen, Paul Molitor, John Olerud, Duane Ward, and Devon White), they won the American League East crown by that same number of games. Olerud had made a run at .400 this season, finishing with a .363 average. Teammates Molitor (.332) and Alomar (.326) finished second and third in the batting race — the first time in a century that the top three finishers in batting average played for the same team. Bottom line? This was hardly a gang of underdogs. "We've got a team of All-Stars," Carter said.

With this potent offence and a highly capable collection of pitchers, the Blue Jays headed into their second consecutive World Series, this time against a gritty gang from Philadelphia. The Phillies battled hard but suffered a critical blow in Game 4, as the Blue Jays overcame 12–7 and 14–9 deficits. Their relief corps was drained by the length of the match, which included an eighth inning in which 10 batters came to the plate. The Jays won that game in Philadelphia, swinging the momentum firmly in their favour.

But the memory that lingers in the minds of fans — both in Toronto and Philadelphia — is of Game 6 in Toronto, where the Blue Jays trailed the Phillies 6–5 entering the bottom of the ninth. Phillies closer Mitch Williams walked Rickey Henderson, which was followed by a Molitor single.

Then Joe Carter came up to bat.

With a 2–2 count, "Wild Thing" Williams delivered, and Carter smashed the pitch into the left-field seats in the SkyDome for a stunning three-run walk-off home run. Williams dropped his head and walked to the Phillies clubhouse. The stadium erupted while players spilled onto the field. Carter bounced around the bases. A swarm of bodies encircled Carter as he crossed home plate. Among the most emotional was Molitor, the eventual Hall of Famer who had joined the Jays prior to the season. "I've waited so long for this," he said while tears streamed down his face.

Henderson had experienced the championship feeling before, but he was equally thrilled. "I'll cherish this ring as much as the ring with Oakland," he said. Pitcher Dave Stewart had also won the 1989 World Series with Henderson on the Oakland A's, but even those talented A's squads could not repeat as champions, like the Jays did. "[Opposing] teams got close, we found a way to pull away," he said. "When we fell into second, we found a way to get back to first. We just did the right things at the right time."

Cito Gaston, manager of the team for its second straight World Series championship, said the win spoke volumes about the squads's focus. "Teams don't repeat because players aren't willing to go through the bull you have to go through," he said. "If you don't have 25 guys willing to go through all the hard work, the problems, the distractions, you're not going to repeat."

Asked if he painted the town red that night, Carter said his post-game celebrations were primarily limited to the clubhouse. Remarkably, his teammates didn't leave him — the man of the hour — any bubbly. "Unfortunately, we didn't have a chance to really celebrate after the game. Yonge Street was too crowded, and I had to go do about 10,000 interviews and I came back, and everyone had taken the champagne [from the clubhouse]," he said. "I didn't really get a chance to celebrate with the guys. I just went upstairs, grabbed a bite to eat, and went home to sleep, because we had a parade the next day. That was just about it."

Molitor, who played his previous 15 years with the Milwaukee Brewers, remained in the clubhouse in his champagne-drenched uniform until after 2:00 am. His eyes were red and swollen from tears. His voice was raspy from hooting, hollering, and speaking with endless reporters. "I didn't want to say anything before, but now that we've won it I can say it's the best year I've had," he said. "It just all worked out."

CHAPTER 2

A Championship for Toronto

Funny, isn't it, that the Blue Jays' first World Series victory is filed behind the second in the collective memory of Toronto fans? Dave Winfield, whose double down the left-field line against the Atlanta Braves might have been remembered for decades as the Blue Jays' greatest moment, has now become more of a footnote in team history when compared to Joe Carter and his headline-grabbing home run. The 41-year-old designated hitter had been searching for a World Series ring for each of his first 18 seasons in the big leagues and finally got his prize. If not for a bad pitch by Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams, the gentle giant's "Winfield Wants Noise" slogan might be remembered as the team's signature quote, rather than "Touch 'em all, Joe."

But regardless of whatever heroic feats would later rewrite the history books, the Blue Jays' very first championship is a historic tale of its own, considered by many to be one of the finest Fall Classics ever. More than 45,000 patrons filled the SkyDome in Toronto to watch Game 6 — an astounding number, considering they were there to watch the game on television. Besides that crazy crowd assembled to watch the game on the Jumbotron, more than 4 million other fans would cross the SkyDome turnstiles in the 1992 regular season, setting a major league record.

The late-night victory in Atlanta marked the first time in history the World Series banner would fly north of the border. It was also the first time in the history of baseball that an African American manager would win the World Series, as Cito Gaston led his band of stars — formerly stigmatized as the "Blow Jays" — to postseason victory.

It was the first World Series victory for Winfield, one of baseball's biggest stars of the '70s and '80s, who was nearing the end of his career and looking to overcome a negative image foisted upon him during a turbulent tenure with the New York Yankees. "Winfield used one hit — one stinking little hit," The New York Times wrote, "to exorcise a decade of demons and heartache."

"When I played for the Yankees, a lot of disparaging things were said about me and done to me," Winfield said. "Things that hurt my career, hurt my life. It took a couple years to regain some of the things that were taken away. But now, tonight, everything is so good for me. Finally."

That one stinking hit capped a season filled with memorable moments in Blue Jays history. Earlier in October, Alomar collected the most timely hit in Blue Jays history (to that point, at least) against the Oakland Athletics. The Jays' All-Star second baseman belted a two-run home run off fireman Dennis Eckersley to tie Game 4 of the American League Championship Series, a blast which swung momentum firmly in Toronto's direction. Fans remember Alomar running to first with his arms raised in celebration, as the ball cleared the fence. The Jays closed them out two games later, winning the series in six games.

The next series took tension to an even higher level. The Jays dropped the first game but were redeemed by Ed Sprague's homer in Game 2. Equally notable was the bizarre start to that game, in which Canadian singer Tom Cochrane messed up his homeland's anthem and a member of the U.S. Marine's colour guard accidentally flew the flag of Canada upside down. Not to be outdone, Kelly Gruber infuriated the Atlanta fandom by mocking its Tomahawk Chop as he ran off the field. Toronto fans loved it. The Atlanta fans? Not so much.

Game 3 featured an infamous near triple play, and Alomar serving up a mock Tomahawk Chop of his own as he scored the winning run on a Candy Maldonado single.

The Blue Jays won Game 4 2–1 on a Jimmy Key gem against Tom Glavine. Catcher Pat Borders was the Jays' offensive hero, socking a third-inning homer, while Whyte scored Gruber for the winning run in the bottom of the seventh.

Game 5 wasn't much of a contest, as Lonnie Smith of the Braves crushed a grand slam off Toronto's Jack Morris in the Braves' 7–2 victory.

Then came Game 6 in Atlanta. The 11-inning affair featured a multitude of lead changes, but the Jays were primed for victory heading into the bottom of the ninth. Toronto brought in reliable closer Tom "the Terminator" Henke to close things out, but Atlanta shortstop Jeff Blauser got on base, and an Otis Nixon single scored him, sending the contest into extra innings.

It all came together for Toronto, though, in the 11 inning. With one out, Whyte was hit by a pitch, after which Alomar singled to centre field. Carter made the second out of the inning for the Jays. Then, with two outs, Winfield stepped into the batter's box. The veteran worked pitcher Charlie Leibrandt to a full count before making history. Winfield muscled a liner down the left-field stripe, scoring both Whyte and Alomar and springing the Jays into a 4–2 lead.

Fans in the SkyDome went nuts, jumping and embracing in celebration. But it wasn't done yet.

Key returned to the mound for the bottom of the 11 and allowed a run before being replaced by Mike Timlin with two outs. Nixon, a future Blue Jay, stepped to the plate, finding himself in position to potentially tie the game for the second time. Instead, Nixon's drag bunt was fielded by Timlin, tossed to Carter, and the victory was sealed.

The Toronto Blue Jays were world champions.

While fans celebrated in Ontario streets, the Jays closer spoke to the battle the Braves had fought in this epic Fall Classic. "Atlanta would not give up," Henke said. "This was great for baseball."

"People just don't realize just how hard it was," relief pitcher Duane Ward said. "We had the pressure of a country — not just the city of Toronto, but we had the pressure of the country — to produce and to win a World Series."

Winfield reflected on his game-winning double. "I'm just so pleased," Winfield said, as champagne rained down on him. "I said a couple of extra prayers going up there. Normally you rely on your own skills, but I had to look above for some extra help. I mean, nothing was falling. I had no luck — except buzzard's luck. But fortunately that one went in.

"I didn't care to be a hero or anything, because we've had so many guys to get us here, to get us through," Winfield said. After all the struggles he experienced in a Yankees uniform, Winfield was on top of the world. Asked to sum up the moment's significance to his body of work, Winfield called it "my biggest game, my best day in baseball." Pat Gillick, Toronto's general manager said, "Dave's a great human being who hasn't been treated in his career as well as he should have been. It was probably a little bit of redemption that his hit won this championship for us."

Carter was equally impressed. "That was awesome," Carter said. "It couldn't have come to a better end." Nope — a World Series couldn't possibly come to a better end, could it, Joe?

CHAPTER 3

Joe Carter's Home Run — Differing Perspectives

It's one of baseball's most iconic moments.

When Joe Carter hit the second walk-off, World Series-winning home run in baseball history, a three-run shot off Mitch Williams to win the 1993 championship for the Blue Jays, it was euphoric for Toronto fans and gut-wrenching for Philadelphia Phillies fans.


Philadelphia:

"As soon as it left my hand, I knew I made the mistake." — Mitch Williams

"The moment after Joe Carter's home run was the first time I ever blatantly cursed in front of my parents. My emotional fifth-grade self took the Nerf Turbo football I'd been clutching like a stress ball throughout the game, hurled it at Carter's face, and yelled "Fuck!" as loud as I could before bursting into tears." — Carl, Phillies fan, Phillysportshistory.com

"I was in Atlanta, Georgia, with the Sixers [as a broadcaster] staying at the Marriott Hotel. A few of us were watching the game. We saw the shot. We saw him run ... we saw the gallop ... we saw the leap. Poor Mitch." — Philadelphia 76ers Hall of Famer Julius "Dr. J" Erving

"[Mitch] Williams is supposed to be the Phillies closer, their firefighter. But instead of putting fires out, he often tosses hand grenades into them." — Dave Anderson, The New York Times

"Unfortunately, he just didn't get the job done." — Phillies manager Jim Fregosi on Williams' performance

"I said, 'There's no way we're losing this game.' Apparently, I lied to him." — Phillies first baseman John Kruk, on the conversation he had with Williams before he took the mound

"I was in the fourth grade — almost 10. At the conclusion of Game 6, I locked myself in the bathroom and cried for a half an hour." — Michael O, Phillies fan

"I wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy." — teammate and pitcher Curt Schilling, who raised the closer's ire by wearing a button on his cap after Game 4 which said "I survived watching Mitch pitch in the 1993 World Series."

"Mitch has been our whipping boy all year. What people don't realize is, without Mitch, we're not here. People can say what they want about him, but he's given us our share of thrills in this clubhouse, and we're not blaming him for anything." — Kruk

"As I told Mitch after the game, he's the one that got us here. He saved over 40 games for us. He's the guy. That's the situation I use him in." — Fregosi

"I was standing next to Mayor [Ed] Rendell, when Carter ended both the Series and the '93 Beaux Arts Ball. There had to be a 60-foot screen at the convention center. That ball goes out, and the party ends hours earlier than expected." — Bill, Phillies fan

"I stink. There is no other way to put it." — Williams


Toronto:

"CBS gave me a tape from every camera that was on that night ... Sure, the home run was great, but to see the excitement on one, my teammates, two, the fans, listening to what people were saying, the sheer joy — that's what a player lives for in baseball. Me rounding the bases, I thought that was secondary to all the players' and the fans' responses. I thought about that probably the most. That's what comes to mind." — Joe Carter

"In the ninth inning, we were hoping for Mitch to come in. We know he has a tendency to be a little wild. We were hoping that he would walk a couple of guys and then throw one over and he did." — outfielder Rickey Henderson

"Every year I watch the World Series, not the first three or four games, but I'll always watch that last game of the Series and hope the home team does not win, because that way it can't end on a home run," — Carter

"I cried like a baby. In fact, I still get emotional when I see replays. It was like a miracle." — Carson Loridan, a computer networking administrator in Windsor, Ontario

"You see the sheer joy and excitement that all the fans felt. I felt it, and they felt it, just as much as I did." — Carter

"It might have been the biggest moment in Toronto sports history." — Kasia S., a research and development specialist in Burlington, Ontario

While attending Carter's Toronto charity golf tournament in August of 2012, Charlie Sheen, a friend of Carter's, was asked where the home run ranks on the list of all-time greatest home runs. Sheen, standing beside Carter, said "Number one!" But, when Carter turned away, Sheen leaned into the microphone and whispered, "Okay — it's tied for number one. Gibby [Kirk Gibson] ... Game One ... 1988."

"Every single day someone asks me about the homer. Not a day goes by. I never get sick of it. It's one of the great moments in all of sports — especially in Canada, where it ranks up there with Paul Henderson's goal, and Sid the Kid having that goal in the Olympics. It ranks at the top." — Carter


The Joe Carter Classic

Joe Carter has a magnetic personality. His smile is as big as it is genuine, and he has a warm disposition to match. There's little wonder why so many of sport's biggest celebrities join him at his Joe Carter Classic charity golf tournament in Toronto, an annual event since 2010.

Among the celebrity attendees in 2016 were Dan Marino, Barry Larkin, Bret Saberhagen, Tim Raines, Cito Gaston, and comedians Chris Tucker and George Lopez. Past guests include Charlie Sheen, Ozzie Smith, Vince Coleman, Bo Jackson, Kenny Lofton, Fred McGriff, Dave Stewart, and Kelly Gruber. Entertainer Alan Thicke and Shark Tank's Robert Herjavec also attended past events, as did basketball's Charles Barkley, football's Marcus Allen, Jerome Bettis, and Jonathan Ogden.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from 100 Things Blue Jays Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die by Steve Clarke. Copyright © 2017 Steve Clarke. Excerpted by permission of Triumph Books LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xi

1 The 1993 World Series 1

2 A Championship for Toronto 4

3 Joe Carter's Home Run-Differing Perspectives 8

4 The Blue Jays Are Hatched 12

5 The Bat Flip 15

6 Trader Pat vs. Stand Pat 18

7 The Dome Is Born 22

8 The Discovery of Dave Stieb 25

9 WAMCO 27

10 The Drive of'85 29

11 Cito Gaston and the Kindness of Strangers 31

12 Paul Beeston 36

13 The Trade 38

14 The Toronto Giants? 42

15 The Seventh Inning 46

16 One Mother of a Catcher 50

17 Rembrandt of Rule 5 54

18 Why the Celtics Despise die Blue Jays 58

19 Why Joe Brinkman Hates the Blue Jays 60

20 Watch a Game From the Stadium Hotel 63

21 The Redemption of Augie Schmidt 66

22 Roberto Alomar Is Enshrined 69

23 Doug Ault, Overnight Hero 71

24 Opening the World's First Retractable Roof 74

25 The Arrest of Dave Winfield 76

26 Take a Tour of Epy Guerrero's Training Complex 78

27 No Beer for You 81

28 The Emergence of Joey Bats 82

29 The EdWing 85

30 The Rocket's Red Glare 89

31 Toronto's Own Tom and Jerry 92

32 The Blunders of J.P. Ricciardi 94

33 Find Babe Ruth's First Professional Home Run Ball 97

34 Redhead Redemption 99

35 ElCabeza 102

36 The Vernon Wells Trade 105

37 Celebrate Jays Legends in Cooperstown 108

38 Three Outfielders, Born 15 Days Apart 111

39 Dave Stieb's Agonizing Pursuit of a No-No 113

40 Visit the Steam Whistle Brewery 117

41 The jays Promote Anthopoulos 119

42 Ricciardi Passes on Tulo 121

43 Leading the League in Mormons Since 1977 123

44 Sit in the Jose Canseco Home Run Section 125

45 The 1976 Expansion Draft 126

46 A.A. Reshapes the Jays 131

47 Listen to the Birds All Day Podcast and Visit the Tao of Stieb 135

48 Little White Lies 137

49 Visit the Jays' Minor League Affiliates 142

50 The Football Star and the Beauty Queen 144

51 Toronto's All-Star Game 148

52 The Collapse of 1987 150

53 Weird Injuries 152

54 Up in Smoke: Damaso Garcia 154

55 J.P. Ricciardi Feuds with Adam Dunn 157

56 Josh Donaldson's MVP Season 159

57 Three Strange Days 162

58 Watch a Game From the CN Tower Edgewalk 166

59 The Pearson Cup 168

60 Buck Martinez's Broken-Legged Double-Play 170

61 Attend a Dominican Winter League Game 172

62 John Olerud Makes a Run at .400 174

63 The Bizarre Departure of Alex Anthopoulos 177

64 A Key Figure 180

65 "OK Blue Jays" 182

66 Rick Bosetti-a Whiz in the Outfield 184

67 Derek Bell's Jeep and Other Tales of Mischief 185

68 Delgado's Big Day 186

69 Ed Barrow: Toronto's Baseball Pioneer 190

70 BJ Birdy Gets Tossed 192

71 The Slugfest 194

72 Capturing the AL East in 2015 197

73 Take a Rust Belt Blue Jays Road Trip 199

74 The Alomar/Hirschbeck Incident 202

75 The Mysterious Man in White 205

76 2016 AL East Pennant 207

77 Canadians on the Jays: Position Players 211

78 Canadians on the Jays: Pitchers 214

79 Bobby Mattick, Al LaMacchia, and Don Welke 216

80 Award-Winning Arms 219

81 Managers Through the Years 222

82 2015 Postseason Run 225

83 Evolution of the Jays' Draft Philosophy 230

84 Harbour Sixty 232

85 An Upper Deck Shot 234

86 A Game Full of Strange Memories 236

87 The 2016 Postseason in Haiku 238

88 World's Fastest Grounds Crew 243

89 Attend a Canada Day Game in Toronto 245

90 Today's Attendance: 746 247

91 Gillick and LaMacchia Meet the Upshaws 248

92 The Dreaded Curfew 250

93 Visit the Site of Toronto's First Ballpark 252

94 The Ones That Got Away 254

95 John McDonald Hits One for Dad 256

96 The Trade Il 259

97 Consolidating the Rogers Empire 261

98 Learn From Jays Legends 263

99 Barfield Wants Booty 265

100 Rising Stars 266

Sources 271

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