Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The late 70's were lean years in Blue Jay land

Did you ever get a trade package from a fellow blogger and the cards just trigger a flood of memories from your youth?  I had that happen to me today.  I received a package of vintage OPC Blue Jays cards from Trevor, who just started his own blog not too long ago called Supporting The Minnow

It was only 10 cards, but the great memories came flooding back.  The one memory that always sticks out from the lean years of the late 70's was from this guy:

9 RBI's on 9/10/77 vs the Yankees.  5 hits, 2 HR's, 19-3 win over the eventual WS champs.   How bad was it that night for the Yankees?  The Jays had three players that either went 0 for 5 or 0 for 6, and still scored 19.

An even better night for the team came in the '78 season.  6/26/78, the Jays scored 24 runs this night, and yet this fellow failed to get a hit (yes, I'm being unfair since he had only 1 AB)

I'm so glad the Jays brought back this style of numbering

The Jays scored 19 of those runs off of 3 pretty good pitchers...Mike Flanagan, Joe Kerrigan and Tippy Martinez.  The Jays had scored all 24 of their runs by the end of the 5th inning, and things were so bad that the Orioles had Elrod Hendricks pitch 2.1 innings (Elrod didn't give up a run).  Elrod was a catcher for the majority of his career by the way, and that night was the only time he stepped on the mound in his major league career.

How about cards that don't bring back a specific game, but memories of a "stadium" long gone...

Exhibition Stadium.  The mistake by the lake.  Cold as the North Pole in April and October, humid and windy during the summer months, AstroTurf hard as concrete.   Ahhhh, the good old days.  I still remember going to the Dominion grocery store and getting general admission seats for $2 and riding the TTC (public transportation) to the gates of the Ex to watch them play.

There were a few players on this team that went on to have decent careers.   4th from the left, top row is Jim Clancy, who formed a pretty respectable 1-2 punch with Dave Stieb in the early 80's.  Clancy is still, and likely will forever be the only Blue Jays pitcher in team history to start 40 games in a single season.

Rick Cerone (pretty sure that's him, bottom row, 3rd from the right) is another player that suffered through the lean years from 77-79.  Rick you could probably say was the catalyst for the improvement the Jays started to see in the early 80's.  Rick was traded to the Yankees with a couple of other players for Damaso Garcia, Paul Mirabella and Chris Chambliss.  Chambliss was in turn traded to Atlanta for Barry Bonnell and Joey McLaughlin.  Yes, a lot of the players weren't great names, but these were some very respectable players for the Jays in the "formative" years of 80-85 (yes, even Damaso Garcia who will always be remembered for burning his uniform in the clubhouse after a game). 

The Jays won a grand total of 166 games over the first three years of their existence...but for me those memories are some of the best. 

Thanks for bringing those memories back Trevor, I'll have some cards in the mail for you in a day or two.

Thanks for reading, Robert

1 comment:

  1. I absolutely love the 1978 Topps Blue Jays cards. They were the first "new" team that I knew and it was so cool to have cards of players with the team's first season of stats EVER on the back.