We have a trio of Blue Jays birthdays today. Jim Clancy turns 65, Roy Howell turns 67, and Jeremy Accardo turns 39.
Clancy was an original Jay, picked up in the expansion draft in 1976. He was called up to the Jays in July of 1977, our first season. He would be a Blue Jay for 12 seasons, battling it out with Dave Stieb for the franchise lead in wins for much of that time.
His best season as 1982 when he made 40 starts, had a 16-14 record (for a team that finished tied for last in the AL East), throwing 266.2 innings with a 3.71 ERA, and he made the All-Star team for the only time in his career.
As a Jay, he had a 128-140 record in 352 games, 345 starts, 73 complete games, and 1 save. He is still 3rd on the team list for wins, 2nd in innings (2204.2), and 3rd in strikeouts.
After the 1988 season, he left as a free agent, and the Astros signed him, but the 2200 innings he threw for us pretty much used up his arm. He had a good half-season pitching out of their bullpen in 1991, and then he was traded to the Braves at the deadline.
Howell was a first-round (number 4 overall) pick by the Texas Rangers in the 1972 draft (Hall of Famers Dennis Eckersley and Gary Carter were 3rd round pick that year). On May 9 of 1977, he was traded to the Jays for Steve Hargan (a pitcher whose best days were behind him), Jim Mason (a SS who in his good seasons flirted with the Mendoza line), and $200,000.
Roy played 4 seasons with the Jays, mostly at third base, hitting .272/.335/.407, with 43 home runs and 234 RBI in 516 games. He made the AL All-Star team in 1978 (mainly because they had to have one player from each team). After the 1980 season, he signed as a free agent with the Brewers, playing with them for 4 seasons, mostly in a DH platoon.
When he left the Blue Jays, he held the team records for career hits, RBI, and strikeouts, but then it was a very young franchise at the time. Roy also has the team record for RBI in a game driving in 9 against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium September 10, 1977. He hit .272/.335/.407 in his career with the Jays.
Accardo had an eight-year MLB. Five of those years were with the Blue Jays.
With the Jays, he had a 3.67 ERA with 35 saves in 138 games. His best season was 2007. He pitched in 64 games, had a 2.14 ERA, and had 30 of those 35 career saves. He missed most of 2008 with injuries. In 2009 he started the season in the minors (and was none too happy about it). He came up in June and pitched in 26 games, with a 2.55 ERA. He didn’t pitch much in 2010 in the majors wasn’t happy about being banished to Vegas) and was released after the season. After he was released, he complained that Alex Anthopoulos made promises and didn’t follow through. He did seem to get a bit of a raw deal with the Jays.
Jeremy came to the Jays in a trade from the Giants with everyone’s favorite Jay Shea Hillenbrand (and Vinnie Chalk) going west.
As you all likely remember, a couple of days before the trade, someone wrote on the clubhouse bulletin board “play for yourself” and the “ship is sinking.” That someone turned out to be our friend Shea. After being a full-time player in 2005, splitting time between first, third, and DH, Shea played less in 2006, and mostly at DH. The team had picked up Troy Glaus and Lyle Overbay in the previous off-season. Shea wasn’t the greatest of guys, and a drop in playing time didn’t help his personality. His teammate Gregg Zaun called him a cancer in the clubhouse.
So, Shea writes on the board and once-and-future manager, John Gibbons, was a little less than pleased. He challenged Shea to a fight. Now there is leadership for you. He did put up with too much crap from Hillenbrand, but perhaps wanting to fight him wasn’t the most managerial way to handle things.
Shea had to go, and, considering that J.P. Ricciardi got a pretty decent return.
Hillenbrand didn’t exactly show the Jays up. He hit .248/.275/.415 in 60 games with the Giants. He played for the Angels and the Dodgers respectively over the next two seasons and put up a -0.7 bWAR both years, and that was the end of his MLB career. If you are going to be replacement level, you have to a nice guy if you are want to have a long career.b