The Blue Jays plan to have a Hall of Famer throw out the first pitch in home opener
By Edward Eng
With the Toronto Blue Jays coming back from a recent long road trip to start the season to get prepared for their highly anticipated season home opener against the Detroit Tigers on Tuesday, there was suddenly an added surprise announcement that was made. The Blue Jays have made the decision to invite back newly-inducted Hall of Famer Fred McGriff to do the prestigious honor of throwing out the first pitch.
McGriff, also known by his nickname “Crime Dog”, played for the Blue Jays between 1986-1990, and became a key contributor with the team starting in 1987. During his four productive years with the Jays, he averaged 31 HRs, 76 RBI, 88 walks, and 123 strikeouts with a .275 AVG. Despite the star-caliber production, he will always be remembered for the trade with Tony Fernández during the 1991 offseason that brought in future Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar and 1993 World Series hero Joe Carter.
McGriff would go on to play 15 more strong seasons with the San Diego Padres, Atlanta Braves, Tampa Bay Rays, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers. With his stellar and consistent career accomplishments, McGriff was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Contemporary Baseball Players Era Committee back in December 2022. Giving him company in the induction was also another former Blue Jay in Scott Rolen, who received 76.3% of the votes to pass the 75% threshold to be elected.
McGriff had already previously shared his fond memories with the Jays’ ballclub, so no doubt, being able to come back now over three decades later to produce another unforgettable, long-lasting memory in front of the hometown fans and next generation Jays’ players is a dream come true for both him and everyone. And who knows, he may even be able to find himself one day on the Jays' Level of Excellence.
The Blue Jays also plan to recognize Alejandro Kirk for his Silver Slugger Award, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. for his Gold Glove and Jordan Romano for his Tip O'Neill Award. Additionally, the club plans to utilize some sort of pre-game tribute to living legend Miguel Cabrera, who will be retiring at the end of the year.