We’re on to our third round of favourite player polls, where we go position by position to determine an all-favourite team. Today’s list is for second basemen.
There will be another list in the future that contains guys that were better described as utility guys, so that’s where we’ll find players like Munenori Kawasaki, but if you want to vote for him here as well, feel free. Just keep in mind he’s coming later too.
Damaso Garcia (1980-1986)
Garcia spent 7 years with the Blue Jays as their regular second baseman. He was the Jays first steady presence at the keystone, after the first three years of existence saw a revolving door at the position with 8 different guys earning starts in those, including Dave McKay, Danny Ainge and Steve Staggs.
Garcia was never much of a threat with the bat, never topping the league average 100 wRC+ in any season. He did get close in 1982, when he hit .310/.338/.399 while also stealing an impressive 54 bases, the third most in team history. Over his 7 seasons in Toronto, he hit .288/.312/.377 with 32 home runs and 194 stolen bases, also good for third in team history.
Of course, one of the more memorable moments of Garcia’s time in Toronto happens to be the inspiration for one of our member’s names on here. On May 14, 1986, in an attempt to exorcise some early season demons, including an 0-4 and game blowing error, he burned his uniform following the game. Ian Hunter has a good recap in his Flashback Friday post here.
Roberto Alomar (1991-1995)
By this point in time, I’m sure most of you know the story of the only player in Cooperstown with a Jays hat on, so I won’t go too much in depth on his time here. His arrival helped bring the two World Series Championships to the city, and he was a face of the franchise at the franchise’s peak. And never forget his home run off Dennis Eckersley, one of the top 5 home runs in team history.
Alomar ranks second all time in stolen bases for the Jays, and also has the second highest single season mark at 55. Among the 75 players with at least 1000 at bats in Blue Jay blue (or black...), Alomar ranks second with his .307 batting average, sixth with his .382 OBP and 10th with his 125 wRC+. He won the Gold Glove Award and made the All Star team every year he was in Toronto, while picking up a Silver Slugger in 1992, and placed 6th in MVP voting in 1991, 1992 and 1993.
Really, he should get your vote for this:
Homer Bush (1999-2002)
Bush came over to the Blue Jays from the Yankees as part of the trade that sent Roger Clemens to the Yankees. The hope was that he would fill the hole left by the departure of Alomar a few years prior, and things looked good at first. In his first season with the Jays, he hit .320/.353/.421 over 128 games, stealing 32 bases and playing solid defense. He seemed like a very solid piece at 26 years old, good to have around through the Delgado-Green years.
However, hip problems overtook his career, and he failed to play in even half a season’s worth of games in 2000-2002. After missing the entire 2003 season, he came back for a 9 game stint with the Yankees in 2004, but he his career was essentially over after his age 29 season in 2002.
Orlando Hudson (2002-2005)
The only other Blue Jay to win a Gold Glove award at second base, Hudson was a defensive wizard with enough of a bat to justify a long career. In his 4 seasons with the Jays, he hit .270/.328/.418 while saving 62 runs on defense. His 62 DRS is the second most on the team since 2002 (the first year of that stat), 2 behind Alex Rios who did it in near 60% more innings.
My favourite memories of Hudson, aside from the great defense, were the great soundbites he gave. “O-dawg”, as he was affectionately known, was the most entertaining interview I’ve seen on a baseball field (prior to Kawasaki, and even still, it’s a toss-up). He was known to come with gems such as “When I first met J.P., I thought, ‘Smooth cat – smooth-lookin’ cat. He looks like he was a pimp back in his day.”
I really wanted to find a video of a Hudson interview here, but I couldn’t find anything from when he was with Toronto. So if somebody has one, please share in the comments.
Aaron Hill (2005-2011)
The heaviest hitting second baseman that we’ve ever had, Hill struggled to find consistency at the plate while with the Blue Jays, but was a worthy middle of the order bat when he was on. After suffering a concussion after a run-in with the diminutive David Eckstein in 2008, he came back strong in 2009, where he had his best season in Toronto. He hit .286/.330/.499 with a career high 36 home runs, and also topped the 100 mark in RBI and runs scored. He earned his only All Star nod that season, while also picking up the Silver Slugger award and placing 12th in MVP voting while winning the Comeback Player of the year award.
Hill’s most memorable stat will likely be from when he was with the Diamondbacks, where he hit for the cycle twice in the span of 11 days. But his memorable moment in Toronto was certainly the time he stole home against the Yankees.
Devon Travis (2015-2018)
While he was technically still on the roster in 2019, I’m only giving him through 2018 as he did not make an appearance in a game at any level last year. He was granted his release this past November, and has yet to latch on with another franchise. And that’s too bad, because he was really someone you enjoyed rooting for. It also seemed like he was a great influence on the younger kids while he was down rehabbing.
Of course, when talking about Travis, the big thing is what might have been. In his first two seasons with the Jays, working around multiple injuries, he played a total of 163 games, where he hit 301/.342/.469 with mildly below average defense. He was worth nearly 5 WAR over those 2 seasons, but due to injuries, never really got to contribute to those ALCS bound teams. 2017 saw him miss even more time, and while he was able to play more again in 2018, he was a shell of himself both on offense and defense, leading to more heartbreak than excitement.
Whatever the next step is for Devon, I’m cheering him on.
Who is your favourite second baseman in Blue Jays’ history?
This poll is closed
Someone else (let us know in the comments)