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Apr 1, 2011; Toronto, ON, Canada; 2011 Hall of Fame class inductees former second baseman Roberto Alomar and general manager Pat Gillick before the game between the Minnesota Twins and the Toronto Blue Jays at the Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

The History of Our Home Openers: 1991


And Sir Pat Gillick looked upon his defeated team and said nay!!! Thus, without fear or shame, he blowed it up real good. We tried so hard to win with the same core of players but it wasn’t working. Fan favourites Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff were sent to San Diego in a shocking trade that netted Toronto RBI machine Joe Carter and up-and-coming second baseman Roberto Alomar. It was a stunning turn of events and there were a lot of fans not happy with the deal. Fans never are when they are summarily unaware of the players being received. We knew of Carter and his low batting average and high RBI numbers but Roberto Alomar, though known as a great talent, had not truly made a name for himself yet in Major League Baseball…yet we all know now how that turned out.

One of the moves made that seemed to get glossed over at the time was the trade of Junior Félix, Luis Sojo and a player to be named later to the California Angels for Devon White, Willie Fraser and Marcus Moore. This was two days prior to the mega-deal but maybe even more important, we had a gifted defensive outfielder who would blossom under the lights of the Dome. So with these new characters in place (and a few others) we rode the talent to an AL East victory with a 91-71 record. Did the Home Opener give glimpses of what was to come? Well sorta…

Date: April 8, 1991
Location: The SkyDome, Toronto, ON, Canada
Game: Boston Red Sox vs. YOUR Toronto Blue Jays
Weather: again people…it’s a dome…

I remember being so stoked to see this game which was a battle of two proven elite starters: Dave Stieb for us and pre-HGH pitching stud Roger Clemens. A Blue Jays fan couldn’t ask for a better set-up. Boston has always been a thorn in our sides and these days Stieb was good but definitely not the master of his craft that he was in the eighties. In this instance he gave up 5 earned in 5 innings, the big blow a grand salamander by tough guy DH Jack Clark in a fateful 5 run third. How did Clemens do? 8 innings of 6 hit, 1 run 6 strikeout ball. A prototypical outing for the big lug (I do love that it was light hitting Mookie Wilson who got the only RBI off him). The only thing that would start to show glimpses of the future was Joe Carter smacking a homer in the ninth of Jeff Gray (as anonymous as his name sounds). 5-2 Red Sox…gushdurnit.

It was not our finest hour but the cogs of the machine were there to build towards the coming years: Carter, Alomar, White, John Olerud, Manuel (Don’t call me Manny) Lee, Al Leiter, Mike Timlin, Tom Henke, Duane Ward…all gentlemen who would help push the Blue Jays over there top…sooner rather than later. It would become bedlam in Hogtown the likes that hadn’t been seen since the Leafs glory days…hello to 1992…

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