Tag Archives: Toronto Blue Jays

Manly, Magical Mustaches – Pat Borders

19 Nov
1989 Donruss - Pat Borders

1989 Donruss – Pat Borders

So, we are now well into Movember, and a lot of people look creepy.  Pat Borders, the 1992 World Series MVP, is something of a mentor – a legend, if you will – for anyone with a creepy mustache.

A few things you might not know about Pat Borders, besides the fact he thought he looked really, really good in the photo for this baseball card:

-Played for six different teams with whom he played just one season with 150 or fewer at-bats.  Dude got around.
-Won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.
-Was still playing Major League baseball (well, he was playing in Seattle, so Major League is up for debate) in 2005 at the age of 42.

Movember, keeping ordinary people away from toy stores and elementary schools in November for over a decade.

PS. donate to Movember.

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Names I Can’t Believe Aren’t Famous – Goose Gozzo

1 Jul
1990 Topps - Goose Gozzo

1990 Topps – Goose Gozzo

In August and September 1989, the Toronto Blue Jays were battling their way back to an AL East division crown and an 89-73 record after starting the season just 12-24.  From August 8-22, a rookie pitcher named Mauro “Goose” Gozzo picked up four wins for the Jays, including three in a row in his only three starts of the season.  For that very brief time, Goose captured the hearts of Jays fans.  It was an entertaining team, and he had some competition in terms of names – Junior and Mookie and so on.

However, it wasn’t all rainbows and kittens for Goose.  On the final day of the season, Goose allowed five runs, blowing the save and preventing his team from winning 90 games.  He didn’t pitch in their five game loss to Oakland in the ALCS, and never pitched for the Blue Jays again.  There’s a great summary of his career over at The Greatest 21 Days.

These days, Goose runs a baseball organization called “Goose’s Gamers,” which isn’t a ridiculous name at all.  If you’re going to go by a nickname like Goose, you might as well get full mileage out of it.

Badass Beards – Roy Howell

27 Feb
1981 Topps - Roy Howell

1981 Topps – Roy Howell

Did you know that Roy Howell was an American League All-Star in 1978?  I’ll bet you didn’t – but now you do.

Did you also know that Roy Howell, while rocking the shit out of the no-flap helmet, had an absolutely spectacular beard for a guy with almost no visible eyebrows?  Now you do.

Roy was one of the best players on some absolutely brutal baseball teams in Toronto, and set the stage in the city for another guy who had some success with the no-flap helmet, even though that guy wore it in the field.  Still, good job, Roy.

Manly, Magical Mustaches – Fred McGriff

22 Aug

1990 Upper Deck – Fred McGriff

Fred McGriff had a pretty good career in the Major Leagues of Baseball.  He hit 493 career home runs, which is more than all but 26 men in history.  He averaged over 100 RBI per 162 games, which used to mean something.  He hit .303 in 188 career postseason at bats, including a World Series win with Atlanta (yes, they actually won one).  So, yeah, not bad.

However, he has always been underrated in one crucial category: the mustache.  It wasn’t imposing, didn’t dominate your attention when you looked at him.  But it was there.  In an era of Goose Gossage, Wade Boggs, and Eddie Murray, McGriff easily flew under the mustache radar.  When you look at it though, that’s kind of hard to believe.  It was well-manicured without being fancy and full without going overboard.  It was a subtle and consistent compliment to a subtle and consistent ballplayer – and it deserves to be recognized as such.

Take a moment, raise your glass, and salute the underdog owned by the Crime Dog: the Manly, Magical Mustache of Fred McGriff.

Fantastic Fashions – Joe Carter’s Cleats

7 Aug

1992 Pinnacle – Joe Carter

So, the crew over at Getting Blanked has made us aware of Bryce Harper’s new cleats.  It’s impressive that they noticed, because the cleats are camouflage, which obviously makes them incredibly difficult to see.  Nothing says baseball better than camouflage, if you ask me, so Harper has made a wise decision.

Now Bryce Harper might be a connoisseur of high fashion, with his eye black and his mohawk, but if you go back about 20 years, a gentleman named Joe Carter rocked the hell out of the high-top cleats, and had himself some fairly productive seasons, if you recall.

Bottom line: Joe Carter was bringing cool to the Major Leagues before Bryce Harper was born.  Chew on that, bro.

Out of Place – Juan Guzman

14 Jul

2001 Topps – Juan Guzman

Juan Guzman was one of the Blue Jays’ best pitchers in the early 1990’s.  From 1991 to 1993, he compiled a record of 40-11 with a 3.28 ERA and 482 strikeouts in 540.1 innings pitched (8.0 K/9).  Not a bad few years.  He’s definitely remembered as one of the keys to Toronto’s success throughout that time, including some great postseason performances in the ALCS and World Series.  His success in a Blue Jays uniform makes this card of him with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays fairly disturbing – for more reasons than just the fact that he was lacking his classic Guzman flow.

Here are a few interesting facts (to me anyway – this is about me, not you) about the last few years of Guzman’s career, after he was traded from the Blue Jays in 1998:

-He pitched 32 games in Baltimore, 12 in Cincinnati and just one in Tampa Bay
-In his one and only game in Tampa, he allowed 8 earned runs in 1.2 innings for an ERA of 43.20.
-He was traded in 1999 by Baltimore to Cincinnati for Jacobo Sequea and some guy named BJ Ryan, who would eventually end up in Guzman’s original MLB home in Toronto.  Ah, the circle of life.
-He was paid $6 million by Tampa Bay in 2001 to play 2 games with their AA affiliate in Orlando and 10 with their AAA affiliate in Durham.

So there, now you know a bunch of new stuff.

Out of Place – Kelly Gruber, California Angels

3 Jul

1993 Upper Deck – Kelly Gruber

In 1993, Kelly Gruber took his fantastic flow to Anaheim to play 18 games for the California Angels.  These are the same California Angels who were once the Los Angeles Angels, and were later the Anaheim Angels and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.  Their next obvious natural evolution: The Anaheim Angels of the Los Angeles, California Area.

As for Gruber playing for anyone other than the Blue Jays, it’s just wrong.  Check out the great Gruber nostalgia over at Mop Up Duty, and you’ll understand what I mean.  He might have gone just 2 for 19 in the 1992 World Series – but oh, what a 2 it was.

Gruber also spent some time with the Orioles organization in 1996, but he never cracked the Majors outside of Spring Training, and never wore that goofy orange bird on cardboard, thank God.  The Blue Jay is the only bird for Kelly Gruber… well, other than this one, maybe.

Fantastic Fashions – Dave Lemanczyk

29 Jun

1978 Topps – Dave Lemanczyk

This was obviously 1977 class picture day for the Toronto Blue Jays.  As you can see, Dave Lemanczyk’s mother dressed him exceptionally well for it.  The collared shirt underneath the jersey was reserved at the Lemanczyk household for picture days, Christmas Dinner, and Easter Sunday, when sometimes, it would be partnered with a clip-on tie.  That would just be overkill for class picture day, though.  Dave’s mother wouldn’t want the other kids to tease him too much.

Brothers From Another Mother – C(h)ris Carpenter

3 Jun

1990 Upper Deck – Cris Carpenter

2010 Topps – Chris Carpenter

How we know they’re different people:

Cris Carpenter pitched for four different teams (St. Louis, Florida, Texas and Milwaukee) in a career that featured 291 Major League appearances between 1988 and 1996, 13 of which were starts.  He was a pretty middling middle reliever for a few years, and according to Baseball-Reference.com, had a similar career to Oscar Villarreal, John Frascatore, and Donn Pall, earning just over $2.2 million in the process.  Wikipedia tells us that he now teaches social studies at Gainesville High School in Gainesville, Georgia after.

Chris Carpenter was the 2005 National League Cy Young Award winner.  He has consistently been one of the best starting pitchers in the league when healthy, compiling a career record of 144-92.  He has been outstanding in the playoffs in helping the St. Louis Cardinals win two World Series titles (2006, 2011), and has career earnings of over $77 million.  He is currently on the disabled list battling back from yet another injury – thus far injuries have cost him the 2003 season as well as most of 2007 and 2008.  From all of this, it would seem that Cris and Chris Carpenter are actually different people.

How we’re not sure they’re different people because we’ve never seen them in the same room together:

Cris Carpenter was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays but spent the majority of his career, achieving the most success, with St. Louis.  Chris Carpenter was also drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays, but has spent the majority of his career, achieving the most success, with St. Louis.  This seems like too much of a coincidence to be true, doesn’t it?  You’d think he could have done more than just add an “h” in his name for the second go-round, which started in 1997, the year after “Cris Carpenter” retired.  Hmmm…

JP Arencibia: AL Player of the Week

21 May

2012 Topps Heritage – JP Arencibia

So, JP Arencibia was named the AL Player of the Week this week, and as John Lott points out in the linked article, promptly thanked his dog as well as the Man in White at the Rogers Centre.  Congrats to JP on the award and thanks for the humour.  (If you’re unclear on that, educate yourself and read this post from The Blue Jay Hunter from last summer when this first became “news.”)

Now, that said, what I really want to know is whether or not he will receive a trophy similar to the one on this baseball card?  This particular golden award was bestowed upon him for being a “Topps 2011 All-Star Rookie,” which everyone knows is pretty much the baseball equivalent to the Medal of Honor.  Don’t argue with me.  It just is.

If there is no trophy like the one above, I’m afraid this Player of the Week Award is a little hollow.

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