Blue Jays Throwback Thursdays: Roy Lee Jackson


A little late then never Blue Jays faithful…Throwback Thursday is here…say hello to Roy Lee Jackson…Yes I picked Roy Lee because of his name. It sounds baseball and the man boy lived a brief but fun baseball existence.

As a wee lad I remember Roy Lee. His charming personality, his pure joy for the game seeping languidly through every pore as he took the mound. He was there when the Blue Jays became more than just an expansion team. Roy Lee was one of those cast offs that found a home for a brief time in Toronto. When you are the newborns to the league you can expect lots of rookies and older veterans filling out the roster as the farm system was being built…though farm system back then sure wasn’t anything like it is these days.

Jackson was born in 1954 and came up through the Mets system back in the late 70’s. I can just imagine his dismay when he changed from the bright lights and busy streets of New York to the rather banal and somewhat bland city of Toronto…a melting pot of a city looking to truly put itself on the map as a burgeoning metropolis. Seems like a pretty good fit…and for a few years it really was. Blue Jays fans took to Roy Lee immediately.

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In 1983 he had a stellar year in relief 97 IP, 8 wins, 6 saves, a LOB% of 72.9% and an ERA of 3.06. He wasn’t just another arm in the pen. He was important to the chemistry and winning ways of the up and coming Blue Jays.

He wasn’t a flame thrower nor was he a finesse pitcher. He gave up less than a hit an inning for his 10 year career, gave up less than a home run per 9 innings, logged a complete game and saved 34 games. He only pitched around 600 innings for his career and finished with a 3.74 ERA. So why does he hold a special place in baseball history? Roy Lee finished a combined one-hitter with Jim Gott against the Baltimore Orioles on May 30, 1982 which happened to be the first game of Cal Ripken’s record-breaking consecutive games played streak. Right here in Toronto at good ol’ Exhibition Stadium. Neat-o.

Every once in a while there is baseball history being made around this team. Roy Lee was a small part in bringing this organization to prominence…that and he sounds like a lead actor of a cool Blaxploitation flick like Shaft or Disco Godfather…thank you Roy Lee. You da man.