The Toronto Blue Jays have been blessed with outstanding starting pitching much of their 46 year history: two Hall of Famers, a few more guys who have legitimate arguments for inclusion in to Cooperstown, five AL Cy Young awards, and 32 All-Star nods. Current ace Alek Manoah continues that tradition, being named an All-Star and as a finalist for the 2022 AL Cy Young award in only his second MLB season.
But in trying to choose an all-time Blue Jays rotation of pitchers that were never teammates, that embarrassment of starting pitching riches over the years means Cy Young winners, All-Stars and single season ERA leaders get left off the list. Guys like Jim Clancy, Juan Guzmán, Hall of Famer Jack Morris, not to mention Cy Young winners Pat Hentgen, Roger Clemens and Robbie Ray.
Top of Rotation Ace - Stieb or Halladay?
No list of an all-time Blue Jays starting rotation should leave off legends Dave Stieb and Roy Halladay as co-aces; however in a strange twist of fate and for the purposes of this ranking, they were actually teammates briefly in 1998. Stieb was a guest instructor at Spring Training in Dunedin for the Jays in 1998 after four years out of pro baseball, but still had something in the tank, ending up in Triple-A Syracuse, where he posted a 2.73 ERA over 9 starts and 66 innings.
He was called up to Toronto that June and picked up another young Jays starter, Chris Carpenter, in the 9th inning of a 13-6 win over Baltimore on June 18th. He would go on to make make three starts with 16 relief appearances and a 4.83 ERA that season, before finally calling it a career at age 41.
Halladay was a September call-up that fall, making his major league debut in Tampa in a start against the Devil Rays, as they were then called. Stieb would pitch 2.2 innings in relief of the rookie. Seven days later, Halladay came within one out of a no-hitter in his second career start at home against Detroit, before Tiger Bobby Higginson homered. In yet another twist of fate, Stieb caught that home run ball when it ricocheted off the back wall of the bullpen.
So who doesn’t make our all-time list of starters who were never teammates, Stieb or Halladay? One who is in the Hall of Fame and a two-time Cy Young winner, or one who arguably should have won multiple Cy Youngs and been enshrined in Cooperstown, but who pitched in an era that valued wins and ERA more than WAR and quality starts? Add in Chris Carpenter, who would go on to a Cy Young award, ERA title and two World Series titles with the St. Louis Cardinals as another teammate of both Jays greats.
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