"True" Blue Jays Are Rare

With the return of the Jason Frasor, the Blue Jays' franchise leader in appearances, I noted that both he and the Dave Stieb Duane Ward (#2 on that list) both played their entire their career with Toronto except for a two-month stint with the Chicago White Sox and the Atlanta Braves, respectively (h/t to @Bam_86 for noting the error). That brief sojourn out of the Jays franchise have disqualified the two pitchers from lists such as Beyond The Boxscore's All True teams. And taking a look at that list, you could see that the Jays do have a lack of history with regards to keeping their own players for their entire career.

In this mini-post, we'll look at the players who have played a significant amount of time in the Major Leagues but have never played for another Major League team other than the Toronto Blue Jays. Note that some of these players may have played in the minors for another organization.

More after the jump.

For hitters, I have set the minimum playing time as 300 games:

Rk Player G F From To Age PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos Tm
1 Garth Iorg 931 1 1978 1987 23-32 2615 2450 251 633 125 16 20 238 114 9 298 11 21 19 55 23 17 .258 .292 .347 .639 *54/73D68 TOR
2 Adam Lind 621 1 2006 2011 22-27 2534 2331 296 622 132 7 106 367 165 17 497 14 3 21 52 5 4 .267 .316 .466 .782 D73 TOR

For starters, I have set the minimum number of starts as 50:

Rk Player F From To Age G GS CG SHO GF W L W-L% SV IP H R ER BB SO ERA ERA HR BF IBB HBP BK WP Tm
1 Luis Leal 1 1980 1985 23-28 165 151 27 3 6 51 58 .468 1 946.0 968 476 435 320 491 4.14 103 101 4057 24 22 6 23 TOR
2 Ricky Romero 1 2009 2011 24-26 93 93 7 3 0 42 29 .592 0 613.0 557 271 245 241 493 3.60 119 59 2570 5 32 3 33 TOR
3 Jesse Litsch 1 2007 2011 22-26 88 67 2 2 4 27 27 .500 1 417.2 430 214 193 119 239 4.16 104 55 1774 6 21 0 10 TOR
4 Brett Cecil 1 2009 2011 22-24 66 65 2 1 1 26 22 .542 0 389.2 413 214 201 134 273 4.64 92 57 1680 3 12 1 8 TOR
5 Jerry Garvin 1 1977 1982 21-26 196 65 15 1 50 20 41 .328 8 606.0 648 319 298 219 320 4.43 94 74 2624 22 11 3 7 TOR
6 Dustin McGowan 1 2005 2011 23-29 80 60 3 1 5 20 24 .455 0 374.2 365 216 200 154 305 4.80 92 36 1623 6 17 1 31 TOR

And for all pitchers, including relievers, I have set the minimum appearances to 100:

Rk Player F From To Age G GS CG SHO GF W L W-L% SV IP H R ER BB SO ERA ERA HR BF IBB HBP BK WP Tm
1 Casey Janssen 1 2006 2011 24-29 221 22 0 0 54 21 19 .525 9 331.0 350 152 140 90 223 3.81 116 31 1417 8 18 2 13 TOR
2 Jerry Garvin 1 1977 1982 21-26 196 65 15 1 50 20 41 .328 8 606.0 648 319 298 219 320 4.43 94 74 2624 22 11 3 7 TOR
3 Luis Leal 1 1980 1985 23-28 165 151 27 3 6 51 58 .468 1 946.0 968 476 435 320 491 4.14 103 101 4057 24 22 6 23 TOR
4 Jesse Carlson 1 2008 2010 27-29 162 0 0 0 27 8 8 .500 3 141.1 121 60 57 47 114 3.63 120 16 587 12 7 2 4 TOR
5 Mike Willis 1 1977 1981 26-30 144 6 1 0 71 7 21 .250 15 296.0 312 161 151 124 149 4.59 90 36 1295 15 3 1 9 TOR

I have bolded all players still with the team. When Jesse Carlson plays his first regular season game with the Red Sox, he'll come off the last list.

So in total, the Blue Jays have 12 11 players on the list following this criteria (Luis Leal and Jerry Garvin appears twice) (h/t Lutherie for spotting the error). I don't have the time to go through each franchise, but just in comparison, let's look at the New York Yankees. I will limit the date range to 1977-2011 and impose the same minimum playing times as above. In that time period, the Yankees have had 11 batters, surprisingly just 2 starters, and 5 pitchers filling this criteria. Adding it all together and taking away duplicate (or triplicate) entries, we end up with 14 players--not much different from the Jays' number.

The biggest difference is the total number of games the top single-franchise player has recorded: For batters, Garth Iorg leads for the Jays at 931 while Derek Jeter has 2426 for the Yankees. In fact, discounting pitchers from that list, 7 Yankees batters on that list have played more games than Iorg. Ron Guidry's 323 starts also eclipse Luis Leal's 151. And of course, Mariano Rivera's 1042 appearances destroys Casey Janssen's meagre 221. So the Yankees don't just go out to buy free agents, they also do a good job at developing and keeping their own talent.

I am not trying to make any conclusions about the pros and cons of keeping home-grown players for their entire career, I was just interested in taking a look at these numbers. As long as a player does well and wins with the team, I don't think many of us care where else they play in their career. Dave Stieb, George Bell, Tony Fernandez, Joe Carter, Roberto Alomar, Carlos Delgado, Roy Halladay, and Jose Bautista are well-loved Blue Jays and most fans don't love them any less just because they have worn other franchises' jerseys.

It looks like Ricky Romero can (and hopefully will) break Luis Leal's record in late 2013, but will he stay in Toronto for his entire career in order to hold on to it? Similarly, do you think we will see any Blue Jay break Garth Iorg's record? With some folks around here looking to move Adam Lind or to move him to platoon, it is certainly questionable, but if he keeps starting, Lind may hit the mark in early 2014. After Adam Lind among active players is Travis Snider at 232 games (Russ Adams, who retired from the New York Mets organization last spring, is at 286 games).

Source of all data: the great Baseball-Reference.com

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