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Happy birthday Cecil Fielder, Danny Cox and Jeremy Jeffress

Cecil Fielder #45

We have a few birthdays today.

It is Prince Fielder’s daddy’s, Cecil 56th birthday today. I wonder if Prince is sending him a card? I’ve read that they aren’t exactly close, some troubles because of Cecil’s treatment of Prince’s mother. Cecil was a similar player to Prince, both big slugger types. Prince was the better player but Cecil wasn’t bad himself.

The Jays got Cecil in trade with the Royals for Leon Roberts, but unfortunately for Cecil he came up about the same time as Fred McGriff and Fred was clearly the better player. The Jays also had a number of DH types at the time so Cecil got in a few games in 85 and 86 and then was the platoon DH in 87 and 88.

He had his good year with the Jays in 1987 batting .269/.345/.560 in 175 at bats over 82 games. He hit 14 home runs that season. Then in 1988, in about the same number of at bats, he hit .230/.289/.431 with 9 homers. Seeing that he wasn’t going to get playing time with the Jays Cecil signed with the Hanshin Tigers in Japan and played there for a year before signing as a free agent with the Detroit Tigers.

He had his best seasons with the Tigers hitting 284 home runs with them over the next 7 seasons. 1990, his first season with the Tigers he hit 51 home runs and came in second in the MVP vote. He also came in second the next season when he hit 44 homers.

From Detroit he went to the Yankees for a couple of years then the Angels and Indians for his last season in the majors at the age of 34. Saying he was a big man doesn’t do him justice, he was pretty round, more or less the same build that Prince has.

He was never a high average hitter topping out at .277 in 1990, his career average was .255 but when he did hit he hit the ball a mile finishing with 319 homers in his career. He would take a walk when offered on and had a decent on base, but his job was to drive in runs and he did that well. He had 5 seasons of over 100 RBIs and from 1990 to 1993 drove in 132, 133, 124 and 117.

For the Jays, well he came up at the wrong time, he wasn’t the player Fred McGriff was and his size and lack of conditioning didn’t endear him to the team. But the Tigers could over look that and his low average and got a heck of a player for 7 years.

It is Danny Cox 60th birthday today. Danny came into the majors with the St. Louis Cardinals, playing for them for the first 6 years of his career. He had a couple of terrific seasons as a starting pitcher for them, going 18-9 with a 2.88 ERA in 1985 and then 12-13 with a 2.90 ERA in 1986, but he threw 461 innings between the two seasons. Unsurprisingly, that number of innings led to elbow troubles later. He ended up missing the entire 1989 and 1990 seasons. He made it back the to majors in 1991 with the Phillies but wasn’t the same pitcher he had been before the arm troubles.

The Jays signed him as a free agent and made him a reliever in 1993. Danny was an important part of our bullpen in our second World Series season, going 7-6 with a 3.12 ERA in 44 games. He pitched 5 shutout innings in our ALCS win over the White Sox. He did have a rough outing in game 6 of the World Series against the Phillies, being part of a 5 run Phillies 7th innings that put the Phillies up 6-5. But that just set things up for Joe Carter to hit the biggest home run in Jays history, so he can be forgiven.

Danny’s arm troubles reappeared the next two seasons and he wasn’t as good. 1995 was his last season in the majors. He has worked as a minor league manager and pitching coach after his retirement.

Happy Birthday Danny.

Brian Tallet turns 42 today.

Tallet played in the majors for nine seasons. Well, parts of nine. Three or four of them were full seasons in the majors. Six of the nine seasons were with the Jays.

As a Blue Jay he pitched in 215 games, with 31 starts. He had a 4.75 ERA.

We traded for Tallet in January of 2006 from Cleveland for Bubbie Buzachero (an 80 baseball name, but unfortunately he never made the majors, I’d love to hear Buck say his name).

In 2006 we used him as a lefty out of the bullpen. Manager John Gibbons didn’t use him as just a LOOGY. He pitched 2 innings or more in 10 games and more than an inning in 16 games. He was pretty useful, getting into 44 games with a 3.81 ERA, with 3 wins and 4 holds. Gibby used him mostly in losing efforts.

He had much the same role in 2007, putting up a 3.47 ERA in 48 games. Again pitching multiple innings often, again mostly used when we were behind. In 2008 he had a 2.88 ERA in 51 games.

He was pretty much the third or fourth lefty in our pen, we had B.J. Ryan, Scott Downs and Jesse Carlson (a favorite of mine) so he rarely got into high leverage spots.

In 2009 he started the season in the bullpen, but, by the end of April, he was in the rotation. We tried a lot of guys in the rotation that year, Roy Halladay and Ricky Romero headed the rotation. Beyond those two, we had a bunch of guys with ERAs over 5 who made multiple starts. Tallet made 25 starts and 12 relief appearances. As a starter he had a 5.41 ERA with a 7-8 record.

The next year he was back in the pen, pitching in 34 games, with 5 starts and a 5.32 ERA.

Brian became a free agent, after the 2010 season and signed with the Cardinals. He played there for half a season and then came back to us in a multi-player trade, the big name coming to Toronto was Colby Rasmus, heading to St. Louis were Octavio Dotel, Edwin Jackson, Corey Patterson and Marc Rzepczynski. The Cardinals were on their way to the playoffs and needed bullpen help. The Jays were on their way to a fourth place finish and wanted a player with offensive upside. Tallet and another pitcher P.J. Walters were throw ins to fill out our pitching staff.

Tallet would be released in September. He’d go to the Padres and Pirates, but didn’t pitch in the majors again.

We kind of think of him as a innings eater, but he was pretty good for his first three seasons with the team. we just had a pretty stacked bullpen and he couldn’t work his way into a high leverage spot.

Happy Birthday Brian

Jeremy Jeffress turns 32 today.

Jeffress has played 10 seasons in the majors. He’s had some good years (27 saves for the Brewers in 2016 and he had a 1.29 ERA in 73 appearances for the Brewers last year) and some less good seasons, where his very good ‘stuff’ couldn’t overcome his inability to find the strikezone.

He was a Blue Jay for a short time. We picked him up before the 2013 season, and DFAed him a few days into the 2014 season (the team DFAed him for Chad Jenkins, which , looking at their careers, was a huge mistake). He cleared waivers, but choose free agency and did well for himself. I felt the Jays gave up on him too quickly, but then I’m impressed by guys who can throw 100 mph.

He pitched in all of 13 games, with a 3.29 ERA, 13.2 innings, 16 hits, 8 walks and 16 strikeouts.

Career Jeffress has a 3.16 ERA, in 391 games. In 401 innings he’s allowed 377 hits, 163 walks and 370 strikeouts.

We interviewed Jeremy back here and we talked to his agent Joshua Kusnick here. His agent has been a friend to the site.

Happy Birthday Jeremy.