Photo of Jose Bautista by The Canadian Press/Mark Blinch
It's another season of the Toronto Blue Jays and great baseball! Let’s look back over the years and find out a thing or two you may or may not have known. Okay Blue Jays, LET’S! PLAY! BALL!
Founded in 1977, the Toronto Blue Jays (or simply the Jays) have been around for 38 years. They played their first game on April 7, 1977 against the Chicago White Sox at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto before a crowd of 44,649 sports fans. The Jays won that game 9-5 even though there was a bit of a snowstorm that started right before the game did!
Pat Borders, left, and Joe Carter share a laugh as they walk off the field after the Toronto Blue Jays World Series team from 1992 and 1993 were celebrated at Rogers Centre on Friday, August 7, 2009. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jim Ross)
The Blue Jays were back-to-back World Series champions in the 1992 and 1993 seasons. Since then the Jays haven’t been able to qualify for the playoffs (that’s 21 consecutive seasons) until recently when they secured their spot in the 2015 playoffs!
Toronto Blue Jays MVP Pat Borders, wearing catchers equipment, piles on top teammates at the Toronto Blue Jays down the Atlanta Braves to win the 1992 World Series in Atlanta Saturday, Oct. 24, 1992. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)
The Blue Jays are the first and only team outside of the USA to appear in, and win, the World Series.
Toronto Blue Jays Joe Carter (right) and Pat Borders leap into the air as pitcher Mike Timlin (left) looks on as the Toronto Blue Jays downed the Atlanta Braves to win the 1992 World Series in Atlanta Oct. 24, 1992. The Blue Jays beat the Braves 4-3 to win the series. (CP PHOTO/Hans Deryk)
The Jays are also the fastest/youngest expansion team in the American League to win a World Series. The team had only been around for 16 years when they became champions in 1992!
BJ Birdy, the first Blue Jays mascot, made his first appearance in the 1979 season. He remained the team’s mascot for 20 years but was replaced in 1999. Late in the 2000 season Jays fans were introduced to a new pair of mascots named Ace and Diamond - until 2003 when Diamond was removed by the team. Ace has remained the mascot ever since.
Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Roberto Alomar is congratulated by teammates after hitting a homrerun against the Oakland A's, at the Oakland Coliseum, May 5, 1992. (AP Photo/George Nikitin)
Former Blue Jay and second baseman, Roberto Alomar, was the first Major League Baseball player inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame because of his service as a Blue Jay. His retired number 12, which is also the first number to be retired by the Blue Jays, hangs above the video board in the Rogers Centre in Toronto.
Dave Winfield salutes the crowd as Toronto Blue Jays World Series team from 1992 and 1993 were celebrated at Rogers Centre on Friday, August 7, 2009. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jim Ross)
In December 1991, the Jays signed 40-year-old designated hitter Dave Winfield for a one year contract. In game 6 of the 1992 World Series, he became known as Mr. Jay as he delivered the game-winning two-run double in the 11th inning (yep, that was one looooong game!) off Atlanta’s Charlie Leibrandt to with the World Series Championship for Toronto. At 41 he became the third-oldest player to hit an extra base hit in the World Series and finally won his first championship.
Photo of Josh Donaldson by AP Photo/Chris O'Meara/File
When Toronto was awarded a baseball franchise in 1976 they needed a name for their new team. They decided to hold a “Name The Team” contest and were swamped with over 30,000 entries that produced over 4,000 individual team names. The Board of directors narrowed down the list to the best 10 and in the end, they picked the “Blue Jays” even though the most popular choice was the “Blues.” But since the University of Toronto already had a “Blues” sports team, the Blue Jays it was! We can all thank Dr. Mills of Etobicoke, Ontario for submitting the name of the team that we still scream out at games - “Let’s go Blue Jays!”