The last month without Blue Jays baseball has given me a chance to look back. This is the final installment of the Blue Jays All-Time Roster, outfield, designated hitter, and coaching staff.
There have been many worthy candidates over the years and narrowing this down has been challenging.
Nevertheless, I’m happy with my team so with no further ado, here are the final members of my all-time Toronto Blue Jays roster.
Blue Jays All-Time Outfield
Everyone knows that you want your centerfielder to be a player who covers a lot of ground. There hasn’t been anyone in team history who did that more aptly than Devon White.
Acquired from the California Angels in 1990, White was already established as one of the premier defensive outfielders, winning a Gold Glove in 1988 and 1989.
White continued his ascent in 1991, winning the first of five consecutive Gold Gloves, all with Toronto. Known for his athleticism and ability to scale the wall, “Devo” had range like none other.
White worked hard to improve his offensive game over the years. His best seasons were likely 1991-1993, a time when he was named an All-Star, hit at least 15 homers per season, swiped an average of 34 bags, and achieved an MLB-high dWAR of 3.9 in 1992.
When you think of a self-made man, it’s hard to think of someone more fitting than Jose Bautista.
The Santo Domingo native arrived in Toronto in 2008 after toiling, much of the time in the minor leagues, for four different organizations.
Bautista would go on to lead the American League in homers in each of the next two years.
That was just the start of a dominant stretch that saw the outspoken slugger named to six straight All-Star teams and finish as a top-10 MVP candidate four times.
Lastly, there wasn’t a more polarizing early-era Jays player than George Bell.
In 1983 and 1984 the team enjoyed their first taste of success, back-to-back 89-win seasons, the first winning years in club history. Bell was a big part of the second of those years and he broke out with a 26-HR age-24 season
He continued to blossom over the next two years, finishing top-10 in MVP voting and winning the first of three successive Silver Slugger awards.
That led to his monster, MVP-winning season of 1987. He hit .308 with 47 home runs, an AL-leading 134 RBI, and 369 total bases. He became the first Blue Jays player to capture the award.
Although he couldn’t duplicate the magic of that season, Bell’s career in blue was something special. He once told fans to “kiss my purple butt” after being harassed about his less-than-stellar defence.
He indeed wasn’t known as a great defender, so he’ll need to be in the DH rotation, which leads us to the next section.
Blue Jays All-Time Roster: Fourth Outfielder and DH
There’s no way that I was going to not have Joe Carter on my team. He just meant too much to this franchise to be omitted.
Of course, the first thing most people think of when they remember Joe Carter is his home run that clinched the 1993 World Series title. It is one of the most iconic moments in baseball and sports history. Carter also caught the ball at first base that finalized the ’92 Fall Classic.
The other thing that stood out about Carter was his consistency and his durability. Four times, including three straight years from 1989-1991, Joe played in all 162 games. He averaged 156 games played from 1985 to 1993.
There wasn’t a ton of hesitation on my part in naming the designated hitter. Paul Molitor was an inspirational leader and an integral part of the back-to-back championship teams. Frank Thomas and Jose Canseco both had nice career revivals in Toronto. But my choice is Edwin Encarnacion.
A huge part of the 2010’s Jays teams that culminated in consecutive ALCS appearances, Edwin slugged 239 home runs, the third-most in team history.
He led the AL in RBI in 2016, his last season with the Blue Jays. He was a three-time All-Star and finished in the top 15 of MVP voting four times despite primarily being a DH.
Blue Jays All-Time Coaching Staff
To wrap things up my coaching staff would include both Bobby Cox and Cito Gaston. Gaston gets a lot of the credit for the World Series triumphs, as he should, but let’s not forget who led them to some great years in the ’80s.
I’d like to have Molitor as a player/bench coach, who could sub in occasionally in this fictional paradise. To round out my staff, I’d like favourites Gene Tenace, Nick Leyva, Brian Butterfield, Al Leiper, and Pete Walker.
This was a lot of fun putting together. I look forward to moving back into the present day, tracking what’s sure to be an intriguing offseason. Thanks for reading!