Kelly Gruber’s dominance as a Toronto Blue Jay was relatively short lived, but while it lasted, Gruber was one of the best players in the MLB. Gruber had four good seasons during his 10-year career with 1989 and 1990 standing head and shoulders above the rest.
Like Sprague, a good amount of Gruber’s home runs as a Blue Jay occurred in one season. Gruber slugged 31 home runs in the 1990 season, good enough for 27% of his career total as a Blue Jay. In that same 1990 season, Gruber finished fourth in AL MVP voting behind Rickey Henderson, Cecil Fielder and Roger Clemens.
Gruber also took home his lone Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award, along with being named to his second career, and consecutive, All-Star Game. Outside of the four-year stretch from 1988 to 1991, Gruber slugged a measly 29 home runs in five other seasons with the Blue Jays.
However, what Gruber will likely be remembered for is his performance on April 16, 1989, when he became the first Blue Jay to hit for the cycle. As a Jay, Gruber ranks:
- 15th – WAR – 14.5
- 13th – Triples – 24
- Ninth – Stolen Bases – 80
After his nine-year stint with the Blue Jays Gruber was traded to the California Angels. Due to neck and shoulder injuries, he played just 18 more games before hanging it up.
Most memorable home run: Game tying solo home run in the eighth inning of game three of the 1992 World Series.