As we struggle to pass the time without baseball, here are some little known or forgotten Toronto Blue Jays facts and stats.
Clu Haywood was a Blue Jay
The power-hitting, tobacco spitting, fu man chu wearing slugger Clu Haywood in the iconic Major League movie was actually former MLB pitcher Pete Vuckovich.
Vuckovich was selected by the Blue Jays in the 1976 expansion draft from the Chicago White Sox. The hurler would pitch two scoreless innings earning the franchises first save during their inaugural snowy home opener on April 07th, 1977.
On June 26th, 1977 Vuckovich would outduel Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer to earn the Blue Jays first franchise complete-game shutout. The burly right-hander would fan 12 batters while only surrendering six hits en route to a 3-0 victory and forever enshrining himself in the record books.
Ainge Trades In Diamond For Hardcourt
The Blue Jays drafted Danny Ainge in the 15th round of the 1977 amateur draft. The Oregon native would spend parts of three seasons from 1979-1981 with Toronto hitting .220/.264/.269 with two homers and 12 stolen bases in 211 career games. During his ball career, Ainge played NCAA basketball for Brigham Young University from 1977-1981.
Ainge would hang up the cleats to pursue a career in basketball after the Boston Celtics drafted him in the 1981 draft. The two-sport athlete would spend eight seasons in the NBA before and is currently the Celtics general manager and President of Basketball Operations. He was also a high school 1st team All-American in baseball, basketball, and football.
Ainge owned the distinction of being the youngest Blue Jays player to hit a home run connecting for his first round-tripper at age 20. That record stood the test of time until a certain slugger named Vladimir Guerrero Jr. recently broke it.
Golden Sombrero Record
Former Blue Jays shortstop Alex Gonzalez once whiffed six times in a contest versus the Cleveland Indians. The six K’s is a franchise record for most strikeouts in a single game by a Blue Jays player.
The unfortunate game for Gonzalez came on September 09th, 1998 at the Skydome versus the Indians. Dwight Gooden started on the mound for the tribe fanning seven en route to a 6-3 win.
Gonzalez batted 8th and went 0 for 6 with the six punchouts giving a whole new meaning to the Golden Sombrero.
Jose Bautista owns the single-season franchise record for strikeouts fanning 170 times in 2017.
Take One For The Team
Outfielder Reed Johnson owns the dubious record for being plunked the most times in a single game in franchise history. Jonhson has been beaned three times in a contest on three different occasions. No other Blue Jays player has even been hit three times once.
The painful trifecta occurred in 2005 and twice in 2006 versus the Rangers, Devil Rays and Yankees. In 2006, Johnson led the league with 21 plunks and was hit 134 times over his 13-year career which ranks him 35th in MLB history.
Shea Hillenbrand has the record for being hit the most in once season being hit by a pitch 22 times in 2005.
Pair Of Rubber Arms
Jefferson attained the feat on May 23rd, 1978 versus the Red Sox going the distance in a 2-1 complete-game victory. Jefferson surrendered one run over seven hits while fanning three.
Stieb actually didn’t factor in the decision during his marathon with the Athletics on May 17th, 1980. Stieb gave up two runs scattered over 10 hits and five walks while striking out just a pair. The Blue Jays would eventually lose the contest 4-2 in 14 innings.
Do you have any forgotten fact or stats, post them below in the comments section?