My apologies for the delay in getting this out to you guys. I’m going to do the next few here with a little less details, and you guys can make up the missing history yourselves, but here is at least a bit of a refresher of who we’re looking at.
Al Woods (1977-1982)
The Blue Jays took Al Woods as the 15th pick in the 1976 expansion draft, making Woods one of the inaugural members of the Blue Jays. Woods spent 6 seasons with the Blue Jays, accumulating about 1 WAR over nearly 2200 PA. He also hit a home run in the Blue Jays’ first ever game, a pinch hit home run in the 5th inning, the first non-Doug Ault home run in Blue Jays’ history (Ault having hit home runs in his first two plate appearances).
George Bell (1981-1990)
Bell took the full reins in the outfield starting in 1984, initially spending time in RF, but sliding over to LF with the increased playing time of Jesse Barfield.
Bell would be one of the first stars of the team, helping lead the team to the playoffs, as well as picking up the Blue Jays’ first MVP award in 1987. He was worth 21.3 WAR over nearly 5000 plate appearances for the Jays.
Candy Maldonado (1991-1992, 1995)
The number of prominent Blue Jays’ left fielders is pretty dry, so we’ll tab Candy in the list here. He played 250 games as a Blue Jay, giving the Jays 3.8 WAR in just under 1000 PA. He did have some pretty big moments in the 1992 World Series, driving in the walk off run in Game 3 of the World Series. He had some interesting plays in the outfield as well, but we will fondly remember his big home run in Game 6 of the World Series.
Shannon Stewart (1995-2003, 2008)
The Blue Jays drafted Stewart in the first round of the 1992 draft, and he quickly became one of the team’s top prospects. He rose through the ranks, and made his debut in 1995, finally earning the full time gig in 1998.
Over his 10 seasons with Toronto, he hit .298/.365/.440, stealing 166 bases and hitting a respectable 74 home runs while contributing 18.7 WAR. He eclipsed the 100 run scored mark every year from 1999-2002, and was on pace to do so in 2003 before being jettisoned to Minnesota as an impending Free Agent. I hated the trade at the time, getting back Bobby Kielty, but realistically it was probably wasn’t a terrible move to get something of value for him.
Stewart came back for the 2008 season, but he was at the end of his career by that point, and was released before the season was up.
Reed Johnson (2003-2007)
Perhaps more of a full time outfielder as opposed to strictly left fielder, Johnson still cracks this list as a left fielder, as he rightly belongs here somewhere. A strong defender while in Toronto (35 DRS in parts on 5 seasons) he also brought a solid bat and very aggressive baserunning to the mid-00s Blue Jays.
Not known so much for his power, he hit .281/.342/.410 with 42 home runs and 114 doubles, getting on base with nearly as many HBP (80) as walks (119). He led the league in times hit in 2006 with 21, and he ranks second in team history, behind Carlos Delgado who had nearly 2.5 times as many PA.
My best memory of Johnson was when he hit a leadoff home run in the bottom of the first, and a walkoff home run in the bottom of the 9th on Father’s Day in 2003. It was a pretty remarkable feat to me at the time.
Frank Catalanotto (2003-2006)
Getting a lot of playing time alongside Johnson during their dual tenures was Catalanotto, the left handed complement to Johnson’s rightiness. Cat got a lot of time at DH as well, and saw a fair bit of time in LF while Johnson filled in the other spots in the OF.
Catalanotto was a solid hitter while with the Jays, hitting .299/.361/.445 over 1783 PA, playing relatively poor defense in the outfield, but still managing 6.8 WAR over his 466 games.
His departure after the 2006 season netted the Jays a pair of draft picks in the 2007 draft, a picks that netted the Jays Kevin Ahrens and Justin Jackson. The Jays also got JP Arencibia, Brett Cecil and Trystan Magnuson in that first round, so it wasn’t a complete failure of a draft. Magnuson was later traded for another Blue Jay who could have made this list but was just on the cull line in Rajai Davis. Please feel free to write him in as well.
Who was your favourite Blue Jays’ left fielder?
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Someone else (tell us in the comments)