September 22md, 1987- Blue Jays Acquired Juan Guzman From The Dodgers For Mike Sharperson
A lot of things went right to put together the championship teams of 1992 and 1993, and one of the more underrated pieces of the puzzle happened in 1987. The Blue Jays made a late-season deal with the Dodgers and sent Mike Sharperson to L.A. in exchange for a young pitcher in High-A by the name of Juan Guzman.
Guzman wouldn’t reach the big leagues until 1991, but once he arrived as a 23-year-old he was dominant right out of the gate. He made 23 starts in his debut season in 1991 and finished second in Rookie of the Year voting. The pressure of pitching for a contender didn’t seem to bother him one bit, as he finished the season with a 10-3 record, a 2.99 ERA and a WHIP of 1.183. He followed that up with another dominant season in 1992, going 16-5 with a 2.64 ERA and earning an All-Star appearance. He was solid again in 1993 as well despite having a little higher numbers.
The playoffs were perhaps the most important contribution of Guzman’s Blue Jay career, as he made eight starts from 1991-93 and went 5-1 with a 2.44 ERA while earning two World Series rings. He impressive in nearly every outing, but I’ll personally never forget his start against the Atlanta Braves in 1992 when he went eight innings, striking out seven and allowing just one earned run.
He had some ups and downs in a Blue Jay uniform from 1994-98, and was eventually traded to Baltimore in ’98, and also made stops in Cincinnati and Tampa Bay before retiring in 2001. It was a bit of a shame that his career was over at just 33 years old, but there’s no denying the crucial impact he made for those championship Blue Jays teams.
As for the return? Sharperson was Toronto’s first-round pick back in 1981 and was taken 11th overall, but he never developed into the star that the Jays or the Dodgers hoped he would be. He did have a couple of good seasons in L.A. in 1991 and 1992 which even included an All-Star appearance (’92), but he struggled the following year, and only played in seven more MLB games after that season.
Jays Journal Site Expert: Chris Henderson