Courtesy of Topps
Dave Lemanczyk – 1979
Stats – 8-10, .371 ERA, 11 CG, 1.40 K/BB ratio
Needless to say, the early years of the Toronto Blue Jays were incredibly lean in terms of star power. Following the likes of Howell and Fairly, pitcher Dave Lemanczyk was actually a decent upgrade. The 28-year-old was in the midst of the best season of his 8-year career, having posted a pitching line of 7-7 with a 3.33 ERA and 10 complete games in the first half of the season.
Everything looks great so far, right? Well, it goes down hill from there (running theme, yeah I know).
For starters, Lemanczyk was named to the annual All-Star Game, but never appeared in the contest despite the back and forth contest. But there seemed to be a good reason for that.
Perhaps it was the 10 complete games in the first half, but Lemanczyk struggled mightily with his health in the second half. He would make just two more starts after the All-Star break before hitting the disabled list, and made just four overall after the game. He went just 1-3 down the stretch with a 6.79 ERA, pitching just 16 innings during that run.
That all said, the 1979 Blue Jays squad didn’t really present itself with a better alternative for the All-Star nod. Perhaps we could have made a case for Alfredo Griffin, who we could argue would have been a better choice than Boston’s Rick Burleson as a reserve at shortstop.
Of course, 1979 was substantial for another future All-Star, as future Blue Jays ace and 7-time All-Star Dave Steib would make his debut in 1979 and would be just one year away from his first appearance in the Mid-Summer Classic.