Matchup 8: Damaso Garcia vs Jose Bautista
On the surface, this might look like an easy vote. And, it might be. Bautista is current. Bautista is the Face of the Franchise. Bautista is the Flipper of Bats. But, let’s not be so hasty, here.
Garcia played 902 games for Toronto from 1980 through 1986. He slashed .288/.312 / .377 over that time. He’s responsible for 1028 hits which, according to basic math, translates to well over 1 per game. He was a contact hitter who played like he was allergic to the base on balls (career 3.2%). But, he also didn’t strike out much with a career rate of 7.8%.
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He was a 2 time All Star with the Blue Jays, once in 1984 and again during the 1985 season that saw the team clinch the franchise’s first AL East title ever. Garcia also won a Silver Slugger in 1982. He was a speed demon that year, stealing 54 bases. In total, he’d steal 194 bags for Toronto. He’s a career 7.4 WAR player, but is really better known for his part in the 1985 title.
He’s stacked up against Jose Bautista whose offensive contributions dwarf most people’s on this list. Picking up Bautista in 2008 might go down as one of the biggest small moves in franchise history. At the time, he was an unknown journeyman. But, some adjustments to his swing here, some regular playing time there and he’s blossomed into one of the most dangerous hitters in club history.
He now sits in 2nd spot with 243 HR as a Blue Jay. Not only is his power a serious threat at any time, we’ve watched him become a very patient hitter who is among the league leaders in walks. He’s twice led the league in that category. Bautista is a 6 time All Star and 3 time Silver Slugger Award.
But, it might be the 2015 Postseason performance that solidified his spot in Blue Jays lore. He did not disappoint in either the ALDS or the ALCS, hitting important home runs in an effort to carry his team. His 7th inning blast in Game 5 of the ALDS against the Texas Rangers will go down as one of the top moments in the history of Canada’s only MLB team. In the end, it might be tough to beat that.
There you have it. This concludes Round 1 of Jays Journal’s Greatest Blue Jays All Time: Hitters. There are some obvious choices of players who were left off and could have easily been included. Fred McGriff and his 125 HR or Shawn Green and his 119 HR very easily could have been here. We welcome you to share your thoughts in the comment section. That is the real purpose of this: to have fun and discuss the Greatest Blue Jays of All Time.