When it comes to iconic moments in Toronto Blue Jays history, there have been many that may come to mind. But one that has cretainly stood out among the rest is none other than José Bautista’s “bat-flipping”, game-breaking home run seen and heard around the world in the 2015 ALDS do-or-die game against the Texas Rangers.
Well, it appears as though fans everywhere will have the opportunity to relive the moment that has been etched in lore once again as Bautista is back in town to sign a one-day contract to officially retire as a Blue Jay. For everything that Joeys Bats has done for the ballclub in the past, it just makes the most sense for him to come full circle before officially marking the end to his impressive professional baseball career.
The commemorative celebratory festivities for one of the organization’s most iconic figures doesn’t end just there, as on Saturday, Bautista will be recognized for his exceptional achievements with the ballclub in an on-field ceremony that will see his glorified name added onto the Blue Jays’ Level of Excellence at the Rogers Centre.
Looking back, Bautista had the honour to be a part of the Jays’ organization over the span of a decade. The six-time All-Star, three-time Silver Slugger and AL MVP finalist was instrumental in helping the Blue Jays evolve into a contending team by leading by example with his play and contributions both on and off the field.
In his 10 seasons with the ballclub, Bautista compiled a .253 batting average, .878 OPS, 136 OPS+, with 790 runs scored, 219 doubles, 12 triples, 288 home runs, 766 RBI, 56 stolen bases, 803 walks and 948 strikeouts in 1235 games played. Not only that, known for his powerful throwing arm, the Jays’ faithful will definitely remember spectacular plays on the field like this as well during his tenure with the team.
One could only imagine what it could have been like if Bautista was still in his prime and played together with the likes of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette for the Jays of today. Nevertheless, he can definitely serve as the inspiration to the current Jays’ core, showing how being the “heart and soul” of the ballclub and always giving it your best day in and day out can eventually lead to sustained success for a long time.
Here again, we give our congratulatory salute to Joey Bats and thank him for all the wonderful memories and magical moments he had produced not only for the Jays, but for all that has shown a true appreciation of the sport.