Toronto Blue Jays Poll: Best Hitter of All Time, Round 1

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Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

Matchup #1: Vernon Wells vs Ernie Whitt

We kick things off with an interesting matchup. Both of these guys have established themselves in Blue Jays lore. Whitt is arguably the most popular catcher in Blue Jays history. Many have said that Wells is the last truly successful position player the Blue Jays drafted and developed.

Whitt was originally drafted by the Boston Red Sox in June of 1972. He played 12 straight seasons for the Blue Jays starting in their first season in existence- 1977. In 1218 games with the Blue Jays, Whitt hit .253/.327/.420 with 888 hits including 131 HR. He is 5th on the all time list for games played in a Blue Jays uniform. He had his best season in 1989 (his last in Toronto) where he hit .262 and was worth 2.9 WAR and a wRC+ of 116. Defensively, Whitt was never the best at the backstop position, though puts his defense at a surprising value of 82.3 over his career.

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Wells is 3rd on the club’s all time games played list with 1393. He scored 789 total runs, which is 2nd all time. He’s hit 223 home runs, good for 3rd among Blue Jays hitters. And, he ranks 2nd in hits with 1529. The Blue Jays drafted Wells with the 5th pick overall in 1997 at the age of 18. He would make his debut 2 years later and go on to spend 12 seasons with the club.

In his prime, he was easily the team’s best hitter and the Face of the Franchise. The team believed in him so much that they offered him the richest contract in club history: 7yrs/$126M. It was this very deal that became the reason fans took his declining play so hard. His contract was traded to the Angels in 2010. Wells played great defense in center field until the later part of the 2000’s when his mobility became an issue as evidenced by his rapid decline in UZR/150.

Next: Matchup 2: Kickin' It Old School