Former Blue Jays third baseman Ed Sprague turns 55 today.
Sprague played for the Jays for eight seasons, starting in 1991 and staying until the Jays traded him to the A’s on July 31st, 1998. The Jays got Scott Rivette for him. Unfortunately, Rivette never did make it to the majors.
Sprague hit .245/.315/.419 with 113 home runs and 418 RBI in 888 games as a Blue Jays.
He wasn’t great, but like Kelly Gruber, who played third before him, Sprague had one terrific season that was way out of his norm. But then he wasn’t near as good defensively as Kelly.
Sprague’s outlier year 1996. He set career highs in runs (88), hits (146), homers (36), RBI (101), walks (60) and slugging average (.496). It ranks as one of the best seasons for a Jay third baseman. When looking at Sprague’s career, it would also be the winner of the ‘Which of these seasons doesn’t belong here’ game. That was one of the seasons that Roger Clemen’s ”trainer” was hanging around with the Jays.
Ed admitted that he took steroids. He also admitted using amphetamines, which were pretty common in baseball then. Baseball is played every day. Some players often use something to fight the fatigue a long season can cause. They didn’t have Red Bull back then. Amphetamines were banned by baseball in 2006.
Ed had a moment that all Jays fans remember. In game 2 of the 1991 World Series, he hit a game-winning 2-run home run in the 9th inning off Atlanta closer Jeff Reardon, the biggest home run in the Jays' history, for about a year, until Joe Carter hit the walk-off comer to win the World Series. Without Sprague’s homer, the Jays would likely have lost game two and fallen behind 2 games to none. That would have been a tough hole to crawl out of.
Besides the 2006 season, he wasn’t exceptional. However, he did make the All-Star game in 1999 as a Pirate when he hit .267/.352/.465 with 22 home runs. After that, he bounced from San Diego to Boston, back to San Diego and then to Seattle.
He played 11 seasons in the majors and had 152 home runs and a .247/.318/.419 line.
Ed’s dad, also Ed, played 8 seasons in the majors. He was a pitcher.
Happy birthday, Ed. I hope it is a good one.