The Toronto Blue Jays are set to undergo massive renovations over the next few offseasons, looking to create a better atmosphere that will take away from being the multi-purpose facility it originally was built to be to a true ballpark.
Stadium seats will be replaced, bullpens will be raised, additional social centres and gathering areas within the upper levels, and just a host of other amenities and changes that should add to the overall experience that is taking in a Blue Jays game at the Rogers Centre.
While the Jays are set to go through a boatload of indoor renovations, one change I was hoping the organization would make is the addition of statues around the Rogers Centre, celebrating past players and/or staff who have shaped the organization into what it is today. Not every team around the league has statues at their stadiums, like the Colorado Rockies (they have “the player” but not an official player) and the Arizona Diamondbacks, while some have recently added statues outside their ballparks like the Los Angeles Dodgers (Sandy Koufax).
That’s not to say the Jays don’t have a statue of their own, with “the audience” being found in the northeast and northwest corners of the stadium, being seen by fans as they make their way from Front Street. This is great to see, but also begs the question of why the Blue Jays don’t have statues of former players or front office staff who contributed to the Jays franchise over time.
They do have the Level of Excellence, prominently displayed in the upper tier of the left field wall, but doesn’t really explain why the organization has avoided a physical presence or two around the stadium.
Keegan Matheson wrote a great article on specific Jays’ moments that should be captured in statues, but I am going to look a step further and look at honouring players and their overall contributions rather than one particular moment.
Looking at individuals involved in the front office, I would think Paul Beeston and Pat Gillick would be at the forefront for being honoured in statue form, as well as Tom Cheek and Jerry Howarth for their accomplishments in the radio booth. Cito Gaston would be a shoo-in as well for his accomplishments as the Blue Jays manager.
For players, here are seven candidates I believe fit the bill.