Jose Bautista, 4 others with Blue Jays ties featured on 2024 Hall of Fame ballot

Which former Blue Jay and current Jays executive made the cut on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot?

Toronto Blue Jays v Washington Nationals
Toronto Blue Jays v Washington Nationals / G Fiume/GettyImages
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With the recent announcement for the list of players found on the 2024 Hall of Fame ballot, the Toronto Blue Jays find themselves well-represented with four former players, along with one that is currently part of their front office management. These players included: José Bautista, José Reyes, Mark Buehrle, Omar Vizquel, and Victor Martinez. For both Buehrle and Vizquel, they will be looking to stay in contention for another year on the ballot. On the other hand, for Bautista, Reyes and Martinez, this marks the first time that they have appeared on the ballot. 

The Returnees

Mark Buehrle

Buehrle will be entering his fourth year of eligibility, as he managed to stay on the ballot by garnering 10.8% of the votes in 2023. Buehrle was an integral part of the Jays’ starting rotation between 2013-2015 after coming over from the Miami Marlins in the 12-player blockbuster trade that also brought Reyes, Josh Johnson, John Buck, and Emilio Bonifácio to the Jays. In particular, he compiled a strong 15-8 record with a 3.81 ERA in 2015 to help the Jays reach the postseason for the first time since 1993. 

However, most of his established career credentials came all with the team that drafted him in the Chicago White Sox. In total, over his 16 years of MLB service, Buehrle posted a 214-160 career winning record with a 3.81 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, with 33 complete games and 10 shutouts.

Omar Vizquel

It will be Vizquel’s seventh year on the ballot, as he totalled 19.5% of the votes in the previous year. Known for his stellar defence for much of his storied career with his 11 Gold Gloves, Vizquel was also a force offensively in terms of run production. He scored more than 100 runs in a season twice, along with averaging close to 20 stolen bases a year for the majority of the seasons he has played in. 

He finished off his career with the Jays in 2012 at age 45, but by that time, he was more utilized as a leader and mentor in the clubhouse for the players than his play on the field. Overall, in his career spanning a whopping 24 seasons, Vizquel hit .272 with 1445 runs scored, 2877 hits, 80 home runs, 951 RBI, 404 stolen bases while maintaining close to a 1:1 walk to strikeout ratio in the process.

The First-Timers

José Bautista

For Bautista, he was unanimously the face of the franchise for the Jays from 2010-2017 as he helped led the team to two exciting postseason runs in 2015 and 2016. More importantly, he will always be remembered for his ‘bat flip’ home run seen and heard around the world that completed the Jays come back from down 2-0 in the 2015 ALDS to win the series 3-2 over the Texas Rangers. He has also been recently recognized for his significant contributions to the ballclub this past year with his induction into the Jays’ Level of Excellence.

For his 15-year MLB career, Bautista amassed a grand total of 344 home runs and 975 RBI while batting .247 with an OPS of .836 in 1798 games played. A trip to the Hall is not likely in the cards, but if he were able to sneak in, there’s no doubt about which team he'd be representing.

José Reyes

Reyes actually had quite the resumé prior to joining the Jays during his time with the New York Mets. He possessed blazing speed that enabled him to lead the NL multiple times in triples and stolen bases, all while maintaining a strong batting average for much of his career. However, his time with the Jays was marred by his poor defensive play, leading to 41 errors and a -26 DRS in just 303 games played over 2+ seasons with the team. 

But everyone will actually remember him most for being part of the trade package that was sent to Colorado that helped bring Troy Tulowitzki to the Jays to aid them in their postseason runs. Nevertheless, Reyes compiled a strong career stats line of a .283 average, 1180 runs scored, 131 triples, 145 home runs, 719 RBI and 517 stolen bases in 1877 games over 16 MLB seasons.

Victor Martinez

Finally, Martinez is also appearing on the ballot as a first-year candidate in 2024. Currently the Special Assistant to the Organization for the Jays, Martinez put together an impressive MLB career across three teams in the Cleveland Indians (now Guardians), Boston Red Sox, and Detroit Tigers. 

Primarily a catcher to begin his career before eventually transitioning into a first base-designated hitter role, he had always been a prolific contact hitter that rarely struck out, while maintaining a batting average close to .300 over his 16 years in the league. In total, Martinez batted .295 with an .815 OPS, 914 runs scored, 2153 hits, 246 home runs, 1178 RBI, and only 891 strikeouts in over 8166 plate appearances in 1973 games played.

More than likely none of the five aforementioned players will be lucky enough to make it into the MLB Hall of Fame this year. That is because they will be up against tough competition with the likes of Todd Helton, Billy Wagner and Andruw Jones being heavy favourites as they approached the 75% threshold in last year’s ballot. Nevertheless, hopefully we will be able to see another Blue Jay eventually be enshrined with baseball’s highest honour in the not-so-distant future.