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Happy Birthday Doyle Alexander

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Former Blue Jays pitcher Doyle Alexander turns 69 today.

Doyle played with the Jays for 4 seasons, or, more accurately, 2 full seasons and 2 half seasons. As a Jay he was 46-26 with a 3.56 ERA in 106 games, 103 starts.

The Jays signed him as a free agent on June 21, 1983 about a month after he was released by the Yankees. When the Yankees let him go he had a 0-2 record with a 6.35 ERA in 8 games. The season before he was 1-7 with a 6.08 ERA in 16 starts.

He turned things around with the Jays, going 7-8 with a 3.93 ERA 17 games. We finished 4th that season, 9 games back, but at the time we pictured up Doyle we were just 1.5 out of first and we kept close until tough August dropped us well back.

In 1984, Doyle had what was likely the best season of his career, going 17-6 with a 3.13 ERA in 36 games, 11 complete games. He even got some MVP votes that year. He only struck out 139 batters in 261.2 innings but he managed to get the outs when he needed them.

1985 was the first time we made the playoffs and Doyle was a big part of the reason we made it. He finished 17-10 with a 3.45 ERA in 36 starts. Again, he didn’t strike many batters out, 142 in 260 innings, but we had a pretty decent defense behind him. We didn’t go far in the playoffs, losing out to the Royals in the ALCS and Doyle didn’t help, putting up a 8.71 ERA in 2 starts.

We traded Alexander to the Braves in the middle of the 1986 season for Duane Ward. The trade worked out great, but then, a year later, the Braves sent off Doyle to the Tigers for John Smoltz, so we could have done better. Doyle did help the Tigers beat out the Jays for the AL East crown in 1987, starting 2 of the games in that 7 game losing streak that ended our season. He went 10.2 inning, without getting the decision in the game that started that losing skid. I’ll never forgive him for that.

Doyle finished his career with a 194-174 record and a 3.74 ERA. He didn’t throw hard, he got by with throwing a bunch of different pitches, from a bunch of different arm angles. I always figured he could make a good pitching coach. He played for 8 different teams.

He wasn’t exactly a friendly happy friendly fellow, or at least he didn’t seem that way from a distance. Maybe he was warm and friendly with his teammates. He didn’t get any votes when he was on the Hall of Fame ballot, which seems a bit strange to me. Everyone seems to have on writer friend that would write his name on the ballot. But it seems like Doyle didn’t have a friend like that.

Happy Birthday Doyle.

It is also Brian Simmons 46th and Matt DeWitt 42nd birthdays. I’m lumping them together because they were both involved in the infamous Mike Sirotka trade.

DeWitt and David Wells were traded to the White Sox for Simmons, Kevin Beirne and Sirotka in January of 2001. The names that counted were Wells and Siroka.

As I’m sure you know, Siroka never threw a pitch for the Blue Jays. He was damaged goods (this is why teams do physicals now), but Bud Selig was good friends with White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf so we didn’t get any relief. But then, Wells was pretty terrible for the White Sox.

DeWitt had pitched in 24 games with the Jays split between 2000 and 2001. He would pitch in 5 games for the White Sox in 2002 and that was his MLB career. After the 2002 season he was traded back to the Jays for Mike Williams (who was also part of the Sirotka trade) but neither would play in the majors again.

Simmons was a utility outfielder. He played 55 games for the White Sox in 1999, didn’t play in the majors. He would play 60 games for us in 2001, hitting .176/.239/.280. After the season the White Sox took him back from us off waivers. After that he went from team to team to team but never played in the majors again.

Happy Birthday to both Matt and Brian.