Former Blue Jays center fielder Lloyd ‘The Shaker’ Moseby turns 59 today.
Lloyd was our first round pick in the 1978 draft, number 2 overall. The Braves picked third baseman Bob Horner with the number 1 pick, he turned into a pretty good player too. The Mets picked Hubie Brooks next, he was a pretty ok player too, but his biggest claim to fame (at least in my mind) was he was traded to the Expos for Gary Carter.
Lloyd was rushed to the majors (no reason not to rush him, it wasn’t like we had a lot of good players to block his way), he was brought up in May of 1980 at 20 years old and he was a fixture in our outfield for the next 12 years. His first 3 years weren’t great, but he suddenly figured things out in 1983, hitting .315/.376/.499, finishing 15th in MVP voting.
Lloyd had another good season in 1984, hitting .280/.368/.470. He led the league in triples with 15 and stole 39 bases. He scored 97 runs and drove in 92. He got some MVP votes again. As Bill James said at the time, his strengths were “hitting for power, hitting for average, range, throwing, base running, patience as a hitter. Weaknesses none.”
In 1985 his batting average dropped to .259, but he still walked 76 times, had 18 homers, scored 92 runs and stole 37 bases. 1985 was our first playoff year, we lost out to Royals, Lloyd didn’t have a good series, hitting just .226 in the 7 games. He did score 5 runs and drove in 4. 1986 wasn’t his best year either hitting .253/..329/.418, but he still scored 89 runs and drove in 86, with 21 homers and 32 steals. With his defense, even in a down year, he was a useful player. He made the All-Star team.
1987 was a bounce back year, he had a very good season setting career highs in runs 106, homers 26, RBI 96 and tied for his top season in steals with 39. He hit .282/.358/.473. Lloyd had a small part in baseball history on September 14 when he had a homer in a game where the Jays set a major league record hitting 10 in the game.
His last couple of seasons with the Jays were slowed by injuries to back and legs (the hard playing surface in Toronto didn’t do him any favors, he would have had a longer career if he played on grass) and he was being pushed out of center field by prospect Junior Felix. His last season with the Jays was 1989 and we made the playoffs again that year. Lloyd did well in our 5 game loss to the A’s, hitting .313/.476/.500 with a homer.
After the season, Lloyd signed with the Tigers as a free agent. He played there for 2 years, then went to Japan to play for the Yomiuri Giants for a couple of years.
Moseby was part of the Jays outfield that was the best outfield of the 80’s with George Bell and Jesse Barfield. He had terrific range (he needed the range with George Bell playing beside him) and a decent arm. He never won a Gold Glove but likely should have.
Lloyd was one of those players who did everything well but nothing great, so he didn’t get the attention his outfield teammates got. Unfortunately for him most fans at the time only focused on batting average. When he left the Jays he was the team career leader in games played, runs, hits, doubles, total bases, stolen bases and sac flies.
Moseby was a fun guy to watch. Always happy, smiling, my favorite kind of player, someone that enjoys the game. My youngest son went to a couple of the Jays ‘Super Camps’ and he came away loving Lloyd Moseby. Lloyd great with the kids. My rule has always been, if you are good with my kids, I’m a fan.
Lloyd’s place on the Jays franchise leader board:
- WAR among position players: 6th, 26.0.
- Games played: 4th, 1392.
- At Bats: 3rd, 5124.
- Run scored: 4th, 768.
- Triples: 2nd, 50.
- Home runs: 8, 149.
- RBI: 7th, 651.
- Walks: 3rd, 547.
- Steals: 1st, 255.
Happy birthday Lloyd, I hope it is a great one.