Former Blue Jays center fielder Otis Nixon turns 63 today.
Nixon had a 17-year MLB career. Two of those years (well, just short of two years) were spent with the Jays.
With the Jays, he hit .275/.362/.317 (it is hard to imagine an outfielder with a Slugging Average that low) with 2 home runs and 101 stolen bases (caught 22 games, so a pretty respectable success rate). His job was to get on base, and he did that pretty well.
His 101 steal puts him seventh on the Jays all-time list. His 54 steals in 1986 is tied for third (with Damaso Garcia) on the Jays single-season list (he is also tied for ninth for his 1987 season).
Otis had a total of 2.4 bWAR for the 228 games he played with the Jays.
Those two seasons weren’t great ones for the Jays. We finished fourth and fifth in the AL East those years (considering we had Carlos Delgado, Pat Hentgen, Shawn Green and Roger Clemens (well in ‘97) on the team at the time finishing well under .500 seems almost unbelievable.
Otis was fun to watch on the basepaths, but with no power at all and, despite his speed, his defense, in center, wasn’t good. He had the occasional terrific catch, but he didn’t always take the best routes to the ball, and he had a noodle arm.
Gord Ash traded Nixon to the Dodgers on August 12th of 1997 for Bobby Cripps, a catcher who never made it past Double-A.
Of course, my best memory of Nixon wasn’t when he was with the Jays. Nixon made the last out of the 1992 World Series, trying to reach base against Mike Timlin on a bunt single. Timlin made an excellent play on the ball and threw it to Joe Carter at firs tbase. Joe then set a world record for jumping (which he would break a year later). Otis hit .296/.321/.333 with 5 steals for the Braves in that series.
Nixon played for nine teams in his MLB career. He was one of those players contending teams figured would be that piece that pushed them over the top. He did make it to the playoffs three times.
In his career, Nixon hit .270/.343/.314 with 620 steals (16th all-time).
Happy Birthday, Otis.
Otis had one of the best catches in MLB history:
It is also Alek Manoah’s birthday. He turns 24 today.
He had a great rookie season, going 9-2 with a 3.22 ERA. Good for a 2.8 bWAR, the fifth-best bWAR for a rookie in Blue Jays history (Mark Eichhorn is at the top of the list at 7.3).
Happy Birthday, Alek.