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2011 MLB All-Star Game: Jose Bautista and the Best Ever Blue Jays All-Stars

Jeff WahlCorrespondent IJuly 7, 2011

2011 MLB All-Star Game: Jose Bautista and the Best Ever Blue Jays All-Stars

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    With the 2011 MLB All-Star Game soon upon us and Jose Bautista obliterating the vote record, I began to think about former Blue Jays All-Stars and how they stacked up.

    For the most part the All Star game is much more of a popularity contest.  How else do you explain Derek Jeter playing in so many Midsummer Classics?

    Blech.

    Be that as it may, for the purposes of this slide show I attempted to stick with number of All-Star Game appearances, although admittedly I did stray from these parameters when it suited me.

    By no means is this article heavy on analysis.  If it was as fun for you to read as it was for me to write then I consider this mission accomplished.

     

    As always, follow me on twitter @tdotsportwriter

SP 1: Dave Stieb

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    All-Star Appearances: Seven


    Look at this guy.  The mustache.  The open jersey without an undershirt, chest mane flowing.  The bulge in his jeans that lets the ladies know what time it is (from this picture, it seems to be about 7:00) and the slider that broke more ankles than a Tim Hardaway crossover.

    Dave Stieb is Blue Jays legend on an Arthurian scale. For the purpose of this article, he starts the game.

     

    One of the best Blue Jays blogs out there is dedicated to this mythic beast.

SP 2: Roy Halladay

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    All-Star Appearances: Six


    Quite possibly the greatest pitcher in Jays history, and arguably the best the entire league has seen over the past 15 years (non-Pedro version), Roy Halladay gets relegated to second-fiddle based soley on All- Star appearances (as a Jay—including this year, Doc now has eight)

    Halladay's slider is pure filth and is easily top five in all of baseball right now, but just as the Doc plays second fiddle to Stieb in this article, so does his slider.  Dave Stieb had what some believed to be the best slider in the history of the game.

     

    Click here to read my love letter to Roy Halladay.

SP 3: Pat Hentgen

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    All-Star Appearances: Three

     

    Pat Hentgen is easily the most fearless pitcher in Jays history.  If he couldn't get his curve over or his fastball to run inside, he beat you with nothing more than brains and balls.

    Aside from being the first Jay pitcher to win a Cy Young award in 1996, Hentgen was the winning pitcher in Game 3 of the 1993 World Series.

    Why is that significant?  The series was even at one game apiece and to take Game 3 on the road in Philly was a huge momentum shift.

    Balls man, balls.

SP 4: Juan Guzman

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    All-Star Appearances: One


    A controversial choice, but I can't in good conscience select world class scumbag Roger Clemons. However, I did agonize over Guzman vs. Jimmy Key.

    And by agonize I mean "who had the best hair?"

    Considering Juan "El Guapo" Guzman was the Central American spokes model for Soul Glo, I gave him the edge.

    Oh yea, he could pitch as well.

    In his first three seasons with the Blue Jays, he went a combined 40-11 with a 3.28 ERA, while his playoff record was 5-1 in eight starts with a 2.44 ERA.

    Well done El Guapo.

     

    Follow my associate on twitter: @GuzmansJhercurl

Setup Man: Duane Ward

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    All-Star Appearances: One

     

    One of the best setup men of his era, Ward eventually took over as closer for Toronto in time for their second consecutive World Series title in 1993.

    With a heavy, sinking fastball that dropped like an anchor, Ward still holds the club record for saves in a season with 45.

Closer: Tom Henke

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    All-Star Appearances: One

     

    Bar none, Tom "The Terminator" Henke is the greatest closer in Blue Jays history.  Paired with long time set up man Duane Ward, Toronto had one of the most lethal one-two combos the game had ever seen.

    A fan favorite his entire career, Henke was recently enshrined in to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.  His stat line as a Jay reads as follows:

    ERA: 2.48

    WHIP: 1.025

    Saves: 217

    K/9: 10.3

C: Ernie Whitt

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    All-Star Appearances: One

     

    Phew!!  If Ernie wasn't voted to the game in 1985, I'd be forced to include John Buck in this piece.

    If not for guys like Parrish, Munson, Fisk, Kennedy and Steinbach, Ernie Whitt with his .270/17/70 average stat line as a Jay would have made a lot more Midsummer Classics.

    A leader and fan-favorite, Whitt gets the call as the battery mate for this star-studded rotation.

1B: Carlos Delgado

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    All-Star Appearances: Two

     

    That is a shocking number, particularly when you consider that his career 162 game average is .280/38/120 (and those numbers were hurt as a Marlin and Met!).

    Delgado is a name that reigns supreme amidst the pantheon of great Blue Jays first basemen.  They include names like Willie Upshaw, Fred McGriff, John Olerud and now (potentially) Adam Lind.  Yet in the era of the power hitting corner infielder, Delgado was just another voice in the choir.

    However, a point to ponder is Delgado was one of the very few to come out clean in the Mitchel Report.

     

    Fun Fact: Delgado and I had the same tailor in the late 90's, early 00's.  Talking baseball with a massive man wearing nothing but his skivs is a memory I'll cherish for ever.

2B: Roberto Alomar

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    All-Star Appearances: Five

     

    Yes, that is Robbie Alomar celebrating his game tying home run in the ninth inning of Game 4 of the ALCS against Oakland.

    Suck it Eckersley!

    Quite possibly the greatest Blue Jay of all time, Roberto Alomar was recently inducted in to Cooperstown—the first to do so as a Toronto Blue Jay.

    I think he'll do fine manning second for this game.  But who will be his double play partner?

SS: Tony Fernandez

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    All-Star Appearances: Three

     

    Not only is Tony Fernandez this writers imaginary BFF, he's quite simply the greatest shortstop of all time.  Seriously.  Ozzie Smith, Cal Ripken Jr. and Derek Jeter can all get bent.

    The sweet fielding, side arm throwing dynamo was a stalwart of several contending Toronto teams, including the 1985 squad that came within a win of their first World Series berth.

    In 1993, Toronto made a seemingly minor deal with the Mets to get Fernandez back as their SS.  His world-class defense and steady top of the order offense was invaluable to the Jays as they won their second consecutive WS.

     

    Fun Fact: Tony can trace his lineage back to Genghis Khan, Chaka Khan, Wrath of Khan and Jesus

3B: Kelly Gruber

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    All-Star Appearances: Two

     

    What a grill.  If you were born in Toronto between 1984 and 1992 then Kelly Gruber could very well be your dad.  A true Blue Jay All-Time Hair All-Star, along with greats like Guzman, Hentgen and McGowan, Gruber was always a fan favorite due to his hustle and lovable disposition.

    Oh yea, he was also a Gold Glove winner, a Silver Slugger, an MVP runner/runner/runner-up as well as Southern Ontario's Eligible Bachelor of the Year from 1987-1991.

    Gruber and his bitchin mullet man the hot corner.

     

    follow my associate on twitter: @GrubersMullet

OF: George Bell

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    All-Star Appearances: Two

     

    One of the more prickly characters to don a Blue Jays uniform, George Bell was Toronto's first legit superstar.

    Winning the franchise's first (and still only) MVP award in 1987 (.308/47/134), Bell was a super talented if mercurial outfielder who once hit two monster home runs over the left field roof at Comiskey Park in the same series.

    His 47 home runs was a franchise record that stood for 23 years until Jose Bautista obliterated it last year.

    Once quoted as saying the "fans can kiss his purple a--," Bell nonetheless gets the call.

OF: Joe Carter

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    All-Star Appearances: Five

     

    If I'm not mistaken, that's third base coach Nick Leyva that looks like he's about to get annihilated by Joe Carter.

    Why?  Well, Carter hit a home run that was kind of a big deal.

    Along with Roberto Alomar, Joe Carter came over from the Padres in exchange for Tony Fernandez (sniff) and Fred McGriff prior to the 1991 season.  Over the course of his Blue Jays career, Carter would not only prove to our most prolific outfielder ever, but would etch his name into Toronto Sports lore not once, but twice.

    Carter recorded the final out in the 1992 World Series and hit the game-winning home run the following year to win Toronto's second consecutive World Series.

    He's good.

OF: Vernon Wells

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    All-Star Appearances: Three

     

    Seriously, Wells deserves this spot.  I really, really, really wanted to find a way to get Barfield, Moseby or White on here but neither hand more that a single appearance.

    However, Wells truly was a very good player for us.  We tend to judge him based on the ridiculous contract that J.P. Ricciardi signed him to but that's just not a fair argument.

    Wells played 1393 games in a Blue Jays uniform and over that span averaged (roughly) .280/30/100.  Cut the dude some slack.

IF Bench: John Olerud

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    All-Star Appearances: One

     

    Based solely on appearances, Damaso Garcia should be here with two selections.  Yet I don't recall Garcia ever winning a batting title.

    In my opinion, John Olerud is the greatest hitter that Toronto has ever produced.  Aside from his .363 BA in 1993, Johnny O had one of the sweetest swings and sharpest eyes of the last 30 years.

    With a career K:BB ratio of 0.80(!!!), 5.2 WAR and .398 OBP, Olerud was an incredibly cerebral hitter who had a clear plan for every plate appearance.

    Oh yea, he also won three Gold Gloves.  Damaso Garcia: zero

OF Bench: Jose Bautista

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    All-Star Appearances: Two (including this year)

     

    You thought I forgot about Joey Bats?  C'mon!

    After laying waste to Griffey Jr's 1994 record with 7,454,753 All-Star votes (1.4 million more that KGJ), Bautista has officially arrived as Toronto's newest super star.

    After bursting on the scene last year with 54 home runs, Bats has continued his torrid pace as he leads the Majors with 28 home runs, 70 walks and an insane OPS of 1.154!

    If that's not enough, in 79 games this season Bautista has failed to reach base only five times.

    That's not a misprint.

    I think I'll pinch hit Jose for Wells in the second inning.

All Time Toronto Blue Jays All-Stars

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    Feel free to check my math.

     

    2010 Jose Bautista (OF), John Buck (C), Vernon Wells (OF)

    2009 Aaron Hill (2B), Roy Halladay (P)

    2008 Roy Halladay (P)

    2007 Alex Rios (OF)

    2006 Troy Glaus (3B), Roy Halladay (P), B.J. Ryan (P), Alex Rios (OF), Vernon Wells (OF)

    2005 Roy Halladay (P), Shea Hillenbrand (DH)

    2004 Ted Lilly (P)

    2003 Carlos Delgado (1B), Roy Halladay (P), Vernon Wells (OF)

    2002 Roy Halladay (P)

    2001 Paul Quantrill (P)

    2000 Tony Batista (3B), Carlos Delgado (1B), David Wells (P)

    1999 Tony Fernandez (3B), Shawn Green (OF)

    1998 Roger Clemens (P)

    1997 Roger Clemens (P), Pat Hentgen (P)

    1996 Joe Carter (OF)

    1995 Roberto Alomar (2B)

    1994 Roberto Alomar (2B), Joe Carter (OF), Pat Hentgen (P), Paul Molitor (DH)

    1993 Roberto Alomar (2B), Joe Carter (OF), Pat Hentgen (P), Paul Molitor (DH), John Olerud (1B), Duane Ward (P), Devon White (OF)

    1992 Roberto Alomar (2B), Joe Carter (OF), Juan Guzman (P)

    1991 Roberto Alomar (2B), Joe Carter (OF), Jimmy Key (P)

    1990 George Bell (OF), Kelly Gruber (3B), Dave Stieb (P)

    1989 Tony Fernandez (SS), Kelly Gruber (3B)

    1988 Dave Stieb (P)

    1987 George Bell (OF), Tony Fernandez (SS), Tom Henke (P)

    1986 Jessie Barfield (OF), Tony Fernandez (SS), Lloyd Moseby (OF)

    1985 Damaso Garcia (2B), Jimmy Key (P), Dave Stieb (P), Ernie Whitt (C

    1984 Damaso Garcia (2B), Alfredo Griffin (SS), Dave Stieb (P)

    1983 Dave Stieb (P)

    1982 Jim Clancy (P) 1981 Dave Stieb (P)

    1980 Dave Stieb (P)

    1979 Dave Lemanczyk (P)

    1978 Roy Howell (3B)

    1977 Ron Fairly (OF)

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