If you could pick the best player from every position in Jays history, what would your lineup look like?
It's always fun to do some research and fantasize about having Roberto Alomar and Carlos Delgado playing behind Dave Stieb and Pat Hentgen.
A few notes: I limited my bullpen to just a set-up man and a closer and I avoided specific outfield positions.
Before getting into my rationale, here's my starting lineup:
1. Devon White - CF
2. Roberto Alomar: 2B
3. George Bell - DH
4. Carlos Delgado - 1B
5. Joe Carter - LF
6. Ernie Whitt - C
7. Vernon Wells - RF
8. Tony Fernandez - SS
9. Kelly Gruber - 3B
Not sure about you, but I like that lineup. Here's a look at the rest of the all-time Toronto Blue Jays lineup.
Carlos Delgado is the best Jays position player ever.
In his nine full seasons in Toronto, he hit more than 30 home runs eight times, three of which topped 40.
He had several ridiculous seasons with the Jays, particularly his 2000 campaign where he played in all 162 games, hit .344 with 41 home-runs and 137 RBI.
He's my first-baseman without a doubt.
Was there any doubt about this one?
The first player inducted into the hall of fame as a Blue Jay was one of the most electric players of the last 20 years. He was an all-star and a Gold Glover for every season he spent in Toronto and added two World Series rings.
If he'd spent a few more years in a Toronto uniform, he'd be in the discussion for greatest Jay ever.
He always reminded me of Uncle Joey
He may not have been the most wildly exciting hitter, but Gruber was still a solid, consistent producer.
He was always reliable for a decent batting average, around 15 home-runs and 75 RBI. He never matched his career campaign of 1990, but he played hard and anchored the hot corner in the 1992 World Series.
Jays third-basemen have never been incredibly productive but Gruber is the best of the bunch when you add in his World Series ring.
Fernandez may have spent time with seven different teams, but he'll always be a Blue Jay.
On three separate occasions, Fernandez was acquired by the Jays and he was always a productive, professional hitter and an outstanding fielder.
In the six years that made up the bulk of his time in Toronto, Fernandez hit .290 and averaged 22 stolen bases per year.
The large number of Jays fans who still resent Vernon Wells were probably his biggest fans during his prime.
I'll take his three all-star game appearances, three gold gloves and 221 home runs thank you very much.
As frustrating as it was to watch Wells struggle with consistency, he was a top-end outfielder for nine years in Toronto.
It's not his fault the organization paid him too much money.
What self-respecting Jays fan doesn't love Devo?
All White did while with Toronto was win two World Series, take home a gold-glove for every season he spent with the organization and bring a modesty and professionalism that contributed to a successful "team-first" attitude.
His defensive abilities alone make him an easy candidate to be a part of the All-Jays team.
Carter never hit over .273 and never had an on-base percentage over .330 during his time with the Blue Jays.
But, in case you hadn't noticed, he hit the biggest home-run in Jays history.
Jays fans probably have to thank Mitch Williams as much as Carter, but throw out every other accomplishment he achieved while in Toronto and "Joltin' Joe" would still be on this list.
And those other accomplishments happen to be five all-star games, 203 home-runs and 736 RBI.
Of the hundreds of players ever to be a part of the Toronto Blue Jays organization, Ernie Whitt is the player who has most adopted the Canadian aspect of the team.
He was the last member from the original 1977 Jays to leave the team and was always dedicated to promoting the game in Canada.
On top of that, the guy played baseball the way it is supposed to be played. He could hit, play defence and always did it consistently.
If not for Pat Borders, Whitt would be the easy choice.
The only Jay ever to win the MVP award, Bell may not have left Toronto on a good note but he was one of the most popular players during his prime with the Jays.
His MVP-winning 1987 campaign is still one of the best in Jays history, racking up 369 total bases, while hitting .308 with 47 home runs.
The fact that he was the first and only Jay to win the MVP is still a big moment in the franchise's history.
Set-Up Man: Duane Ward
Closer: Tom Henke
Ward and Henke formed one of the best one-two bullpen punches during the late eighties and early nineties. With these two hurlers, it seemed like games ended in the seventh inning. While Henke was the clear-cut closer, Ward was just as capable and proved it, saving 45 games in 1993.
Their longevity and consistency is something that is rarely seen these days from relievers.
Wouldn't it be nice to have one of these two right now, Jays fans?
1. Roy Halladay
2. Dave Stieb
3. Roger Clemens
4. Jimmy Key
5. Pat Hentgen
The first two starters are locks. Both Halladay and Stieb were dominant, consistent, professional workhorses who anchored their respective pitching staffs. It was somewhat difficult to put Halladay ahead of Stieb so I like to think of that as a 1A / 1B type of situation.
Clemens spent only two seasons with the Jays and his time in Toronto is shrouded in steroid allegations, but the fact remains that he won two Cy Young Awards and won 41 games.
Key and Hentgen round out my starting rotation. Key was very consistent during his time as a Jay and Hentgen, although he struggled in some years, still won a Cy Young in 1996. I'll take that in a fifth starter.
Manager: Cito Gaston
GM: Pat Gillick
Mascot: BJ Birdy
All three of these guys are consummate professionals and, most importantly, winners.