Remembering 5 Random Toronto Blue Jays Vol. 1
Well it’s week two (or three?) without baseball and I’m at wits end. This morning my buddy Blake sent me the following tweet:
This got the blogging juices flowing. Starting today I’ll be blogging five random Blue Jays every Wednesday. To kick things off we have the pride of Maracaibo, Venezuela.
In my eyes, Chacin acts as a bit of a litmus test for true Blue Jays fandom. Random enough that the average MLB fan probably doesn’t know him, but relevant enough in 2005 that lifetime Jays fans remember a time when he was considered a future ace. Drop Gustavo Chacin in casual conversation to weed out the fans who showed up during Donaldson-mania from the day ones.
His age 24 season in 2005 saw Gus finish fifth in AL Rookie of the Year voting while picking up April and July Rookie of the Month honours. The guy was supposed to be the heir apparent to Doc Halladay but ended up washing out of the league entirely by 2007 (only to have a brief, unsuccessful return with Houston in 2010). Even if he didn’t pan out, the young Venezuelan still gave us one of the best giveaways in franchise history.
Eckstein was one of many “answers” to the revolving door that was Toronto’s shortstop position in the 2000’s. You’re sure to see a bunch of these guys in later instalments of this series.
Eckstein only played 76 games in the iconic Toronto black and silver. I for one was pumped at the time to get the two-time all-star, two-time World Series champion. While he got unceremoniously dumped at the ’08 trade deadline for Chad Beck, a player so inconsequential he’s not worth a section in this feature, Ecktein was a fine Blue Jay. He was incredibly average, but a keen eye, a penchant for singles and a dash of grit kept him barely on the right side of the ledger. We’re unlikely to see another Blue Jays shortstop ever choke up on the bat as much as Eckstein.
People forget that Fred Lewis was the leadoff hitter for the majority of the 2010 season. A solid .745 OPS and 17 stolen bases are the highlights. The left field defence… not so much. 2010 was Lewis’s only season in Toronto and his last relevant one as a major league player.
In 2005 Schoeneweis was Toronto’s lefty specialist, appearing in 80 games with a 3.32 ERA. Scotty Schoe spent just a season and a half in Toronto and wasn’t overly memorable. He rocked the floppy hair and soul patch that screamed d-bag but was essentially the uniform look for most bullpen pitchers of the 2000’s.
And now we get to my boy Sal. Third string catcher extraordinaire. What I loved most about Sal is that he looks like in another life he could have been collecting my garbage on Wednesday mornings. Instead he’s a veteran of 11 major league seasons spent with nine different teams. He only played 16 games with the Blue Jays in 2007, but boy howdy what a 16 games. I vividly remember going to a game that season and watching Sal leg out a bunt single. The crowd went ballistic to see the mustachio’d plumber bust down the line. Pure electricity.