Alan Ashby turns 68 today.
Ashby was an original Blue Jays player. We picked him up in trade from Cleveland November 5th, 1976, five months to the day before our first ever game. Ashby had played parts of the previous four seasons with Cleveland. He hit .227/.304/.320 in 200 games.
He didn’t play in our first game, but he started game 2, batting 9th going 1 for 4 in our franchise’s first loss. Alan would play in 124 games that year, hitting .210/.301/.280 with 2 home runs, 50 walks and 51 strikeouts. On the defensive side, he threw out 48% of base stealers.
In 1978 he played in 81 games, splitting time with Rick Cerone at catcher. He hit .261/.333/.420 with 9 home runs.
After the season Ashby would be traded to the Astros for Joe Cannon, Pete Hernandez and Mark Lemongello.
Cannon was an outfielder who would play 131 games over the next two seasons with the Jays. He hit a big .177/.186/.208 and wouldn’t play in the majors again after 1980.
Hernandez was a utility type player. He would play in 11 games for the Blue Jays, 3 in 1979 and 8 in 1982, getting a total of 9 PA without getting on base.
Lemongello pitched in 18 game, making 10 starts in 1979, going 1-9 with a 6.29 ERA. In 83 innings he allowed 97 hits, 14 home runs, 34 walks and 40 strikeouts. And he wouldn’t pitch in the majors against after 1979.
Ashby would play out the rest of his career with the Astros. He’d play in Houston for 11 seasons hitting .252/.324/.324 in 965 games. His best season was 1987, when he hit .288/.367/.438 with 14 homers in 125 games.
After his career he went into coaching and managing in the Astros’ minor league system. Then in 1998 he became the Astros color commentator for their radio broadcasts, and he kept the job through the 2006 season.
From 2007 through the 2012 season he did the same job for the Blue Jays radio broadcasts, working with Jerry Howarth. I thought he was very good at the job. He was informative and interesting and could be critical if the situation required it.
After 2012 he went back to working on the Astros broadcasts. He retired a few years ago.