Former Jay slugger Tony Batista turns 37 today. In 2.5 seasons Tony hit 80 home runs for us. Like our Jose Bautista, this Batista had one massively great season, hitting 41 homers and 114 RBI in 2000 (of course, Jose is going to have several more great seasons for us). Unlike Jose, Tony didn't know how to take a walk, his slash line in 2000 was .263/..307/.519.
Batista had one of the stranger batting stances you will every see. He waited for the pitch in an extreme open stance. He basically stood facing the pitcher, then would step forward, towards the plate, with his lead foot as he started his swing. He swung hard and he didn't worry too much if the ball was in the strike zone or not. But when he connected, the ball went a long way.
When we picked him up in a trade from the Diamondbacks, in the middle of the 1999 season (along with John Frascatore with reliever Dan Plesac) he played shortstop. He wasn't great at the position, not much for range. The next year they moved him over to third. He still wasn't great defensively but if you hit 41 homers, that can be overlooked.
Tony's 2001 season didn't start well, he was hitting .207/.251/.399 and he was making pretty good money, so the Jays put him on the waiver wire and the Orioles picked him up.
Batista had a 11 season MLB career, playing for 6 teams, including the Expos. He hit 221 home runs and drove in 718 runs.
Happy Birthday Tony, I hope it is a good one.