Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
This matchup features two guys who really rocked the flow from under their ballcaps. Bell is one of the iconic Blue Jays. Everyone knows him. Though, the same can likely be said for everyone on this list. He was part of the outfield in that magical 1985 run. He played in 1181 games for Toronto from 1981 through 1990 before departing for both Chicago teams. He ranks 5th all time in HR with 202. He’s also 3rd in RBI with 740.
During his time in Toronto, Bell finished in the top 10 in MVP voting 4 times and won it in 1987. He was the first MVP winner in Blue Jays history. That year, he hit 47 HR and 134 RBI for a whopping 369 total bases. He also won 3 Silver Slugger Awards for his efforts. He’s a career 20.2 WAR player who hit 5.3 in his MVP season. Bell will not be remembered as a great outfielder, but him going to his knees after catching the out that clinched the club’s first AL East championship ever will be imprinted in the minds of Blue Jays fans forever.
Gruber played 921 games for Toronto from through 1992 and was instrumental in bringing the franchise’s first World Series Championship. You’ll recall that he made the diving tag at the back end of that phantom triple play in the ’92 World Series. To this day, he swears that he tagged Deion Sanders. For his career, Gruber’s TZ rating is 16 at the hot corner. Fangraphs values his career defense at 20.6.
In 1990, Gruber was an All Star, a Gold Glove winner and a Silver Slugger. He finished 4th in MVP voting after having the best year of his career where he hit 31 HR and 118 RBI. That year he was worth 4.3 WAR. In 1988, he was worth 5.3. He’s a career 14.7 WAR player. He didn’t take many walks for his career, never reaching more than 48 in a season. His career rate is 5.7%.
Next: Matchup 7: The Battle of First Base