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

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Delgado on Level of Excellence Credit: S Doyle/Jays Journal

Matchup 7: John Olerud vs Carlos Delgado

This matchup features two of the best players to ever wear a Blue Jays first baseman’s glove. One leads the franchise in nearly every offensive category. The other helped round out WAMCO and deliver a World Series.

Olerud played in 902 games for Toronto from 1989 through 1996. He would spend another 9 years in the big leagues before calling it quits. As a Blue Jay, he’d slash .293/.395/.471. He was an on base threat, for sure. During his time in Toronto, his lowest OBP mark was .353 and that number was closer to .400 more often than not. His best season came in 1993 when he was flirting with hitting .400 for most of the season. He’d end up with a .363 mark with an eye popping .473 OBP. He finished 3rd in MVP voting.

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Olerud’s bat wasn’t the only aspect of his game. He could pick it, too. Over a 16 year career, he only totaled 82 errors and never more than 10 in a single season. His TZ rating for his career is 97. At the end of his career he tallied a total of 19 DRS. Despite this, Blue Jays fans will remember his for his remarkable 1993 season, which brought the second straight World Series.

But, it was the emergence of Delgado that allowed the Blue Jays to confidently part ways with Olerud. He burst onto the scene in 1994 and announced his presence, but it wasn’t until the 1996 season when the club was ready to hand the reigns over completely. When they did, though, he never looked back. Delgado leads the club in HR (336), RBI (1058), doubles (343), SLG (556), was an All Star twice and a Silver Slugger thrice.

Delgado was the face of the franchise through the late 90’s and early 2000’s. He had one of the prettiest swings from the left side of the plate. After the 2004 season, he would go on to play 5 more seasons with the Marlins and Mets. He’s a career 44.2 WAR player. His highest mark came in 2000 when he reached 7.4. That year, he hit an amazing 179 wRC+. Defensively, it wasn’t always pretty to watch as evidenced by his TZ rating of -34 at first base. For his career, Fangraphs lists his defensive value at -209.1. But his offense is what made him so great. Its value is 368.6.

Next: Matchup 8: Old or New?