All-Time Blue Jays Line-Ups

Ryan and Michelle's Line-Ups Duel it Out

By Ryan and Michelle Giesen

Not all the best were on these teams | Photo by Robert Taylor

Not all the best were on these teams | Photo by Robert Taylor

Each spring, every baseball team and its supporters believe they have a chance to win it all. Every time a new season is upon us, fans undoubtedly couple their excitement for the future with reflections on past successes of their favourite players. 

Whether or not they play Fantasy Baseball, true loyalists (at some point) have informally created their own all-time roster of players from their hometown team. 

We don’t claim to be anything but true baseball fans. 

Sometimes, however, lists take on a life of their own. We initially sat down to write out our top 5 favourite Blue Jays players, and it turned into each of us secretly building our own all-time team by position and Ryan building on that even further by creating batting orders. 

Internal, emotional battles were waged deciding between “best” and “favourite.”

What can we say? We are very thorough individuals. Granted, Ryan is more logical in his choices and Michelle leans more toward emotional and nostalgic decision making. Naturally, there are myriad combinations and permutations that lend themselves to creating stellar lineups. In no way are these the be-all and end-all! Pretty sweet to live in a town that has such a deep well of talent.

Regardless, we feel that both these teams would kick ass in the Post-Season! 

 

Ryan’s All-Time List:

(Player - Position - Reasons)

Carlos Delgado - 1B
All-time team Blue Jays’ leader in HR, 2B, RBI, BB, OPS

Roberto Alomar - 2B
If Michelle had left the great number 12 off her list, that would have been grounds for divorce!

Josh Donaldson - 3B
Only the second player in franchise history to win the AL MVP. Plus, that hair!!

Tony Fernandez - SS
Not only one of the smoothest In-Fielders in the history of the game, he is the Blue Jays all-time leader in hits with 1583.

Russell Martin - C
This was a tough choice between him and fan favourite Ernie Whitt, but I had to go with his offensive numbers and his overall toughness behind the plate.

Edwin Encarnacion - DH
In what world do you not take Dave Winfield or Paul Molitor as your best DH?? A world where Edwin walked his parrot for 8 years at the Rogers Centre! 

Rickey Henderson - LF
Greatest base-stealer in the history of the game! Nuff said!

Devon White - CF
Probably the smoothest and most confident Center Fielder I have ever seen play. There is a love affair between Kevin Pillar and Blue Jay fans and rightfully so. He has been nicknamed “Superman” by his loyal followers for his countless diving plays in the outfield. Difference is, Devo never had to dive for the ball. He got there before he needed to!

Jose Bautista - RF
Why not have the League’s most hated player on the list!? No one hates an average player.
Also: responsible for the most iconic hit in Blue Jays’ history. Bless that 7th inning Bat Flip. 

Joey Bats

Joey Bats

Batting Order:

1) Rickey Henderson
2) Roberto Alomar
3) Josh Donaldson
4) Edwin Encarnacion
5) Carlos Delgado
6) Jose Bautista
7) Devon White
8) Russell Martin
9) Tony Fernandez

Rickey Henderson Card 

Rickey Henderson Card 

Pitchers:

Roger Clemens
Ignore the PED talk people! This was one of the greatest pitchers in the game before he (allegedly) started sticking needles in his butt when he arrived for his 2 years in Toronto.

Roy Halladay
The debate rages on! Halladay or Stieb as the franchise greatest pitcher? Well with this list we won’t have to decide. (see #4)

David Price
It was short, but it sure was sweet! Can’t think of a better left-hander to place in the middle of a rotation surrounded by righties.

Dave Stieb
The debate rages on! Halladay or Stieb as the franchise greatest pitcher? Well with this list we won’t have to decide. (see #2)

Phil Niekro
I love a Knuckle-Baller! I love to watch them throw. While Phil “Knucksie” Niekro only appeared in 3 games for the Blue Jays, his career span was 24 years. With all due respect to R.A. Dickey and his ability to give you 200 innings, Niekro threw for over 300 innings in 4 seasons with the Atlanta Braves in the 70’s. Not to mention winning a total of 318 games! 

Duane Ward
(Set-up Man)
This was my version of an honourable mention considering the role of the set-up man (in my opinion) is highly over-rated. But you cannot hide the fact that Ward was as dominant as Henke. So good was he that when Henke left to pitch closer to home in St. Louis, Ward stepped in and stepped up to help the Blue Jays close games in 1993, the year they won their second title in back to back seasons.

Tom Henke
(Closer)
The “Terminator.”  Franchise leader in saves. Michelle?? Do we need to schedule a sit down with our lawyers??
 


Michelle’s All-Time List:

(Player - Position - Reasons)

John Olerud - 1B
My favourite of all time. The most beautiful swing! Plus that whole batting .400 thing...

Roberto Alomar - 2B
Thank goodness he’s on my list. It’s too soon for a divorce. Plus we went to Cooperstown to see his face on the HOF wall, thus: best.

Josh Donaldson - 3B
MVP, All-Star, Bringer of Rain, Viking

Tony Fernandez - SS
Ryan always pretended to be him growing up when he played Shortstop himself, so that’s an obvious choice. 

Ernie Whitt - C
My brother’s favourite. He’s mandatory. Plus one of the greatest catchers so, I’m not off the mark here.

Carlos Delgado - DH*
Blue Jays Level of Excellence, holds several all-time records in hits for the team and apparently a super nice dude. 
*I know he was a first baseman, I just couldn’t make a team without him on it and Olerud is my favourite player. Plus at some point in his career he was a DH, so there.

George Bell - LF
MVP; one-third of “Bell, Moesby and Barfield” - arguably the best Jays’ outfield of all time.

Vernon Wells - CF
The first baseball jersey I was gifted was a Wells jersey and he totally tipped his cap when I yelled out his name at CF. Plus, you know, a really great ball player and devoted to Toronto.

Shawn Green - RF
Sigh. Marry me. (Sorry, Ryan.) Also, great bromance with Delgado. Oh and fun fact #1: My friends and I were on the jumbotron in 1996 with a “We Love You Shawn Green!!!!” sign.
Honorable mentions:  Reed Johnson (LF), Marco Scutaro (SS) Rob Butler (OF) 
(because of handsomeness and I wanted them to be my baseball boyfriends. Not to mention, Scutaro hit a homerun at every game I saw him play. For me. I’m convinced.)

Batting Order: (Thank you, Ryan!)

1) Tony Fernandez
2) Roberto Alomar
3) Josh Donaldson
4) Carlos Delgado
5) George Bell
6) Vernon Wells
7) Shawn Green
8) John Olerud
9) Ernie Whitt 

4 Robertos

4 Robertos

Pitchers

Roy Halladay
To me, the Blue Jays’ best pitcher...plus, he rejoined the team for one day in order to retire as a Jay. What a guy! 

Dave Stieb
When he finally got that no-hitter, Stieb secured the hearts of Toronto fans. He improved greatly over his career with the Blue Jays to become one of the city’s most beloved pitchers ever.  

Pat Hentgen
A HUGE asset to our ‘93 World Series win, and the first Toronto pitcher to win the Cy Young Award. My sister and I also liked to call him “Hang Ten” and thought he was pretty cute. An important character trait for this gal. 

Juan Guzman
All-star, World Series hero in ‘92 and ‘93 and one of the first pitchers I actively followed as a young gal. Fun Fact #2: When Ryan was a wee boy, he sent in a bunch of baseball cards to get signed by the players and Juan Guzman was the only one to mail back an autographed card! 

Marco Estrada
Current Post-Season pitching hero demonstrating amazing focus under pressure, very consistent throughout the regular season and hot damn if that guy doesn’t wear a baseball hat like a stud, am I right, Ryan?? 

Duane Ward (Set-up Man)
‘93 All-Star, major contributor to our post-season wins and set-up man for our chosen closer! What a team! 

Tom Henke (Closer) 
Ryan, I’m with you. Tom Henke: the best closer in Toronto history. Thankfully, no calls to lawyers necessary. Whew. 

Championship Arm 

Championship Arm