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Today in Blue Jays History: Brad Fullmer Traded on his Birthday

Brad Fullmer #20

23 years ago today.

The Blue Jays traded Brad Fullmer to the Angels for Brian Cooper.

Cooper was an RHP. He was 27 at the time. He had pitched in portions of 3 seasons for the Angels, made 21 starts and 6 relief appearances, and reached 5-10 with a 5.33 ERA in 128 innings, with 57 walks and 58 strikeouts.

Fullmer was 27 as well. January 17 is his birthday (he turns 48 today), so Happy Birthday, Brad. The Expos picked him in the 2nd round draft pick in 1993. He played two-plus seasons with the Expos and had been a disappointment. He wasn’t very good with the glove at first base, and his bat didn’t show quite as well as the Expos hoped. Nevertheless, he hit .276/.326/.459 with 25 home runs in 259 games with Montreal.

In March of 2000, Fullmer was part of a three-team trade between the Expos, Rangers, and Blue Jays. The Rangers sent Lee Stevens to the Expos, the Jays sent David Segui to the Rangers, and the Expos sent Fullmer to the Jays.

Stevens did a good job for the Expos, hitting .243/.334/.450 with 57 home runs in 3 seasons. Segui hit .336/.391/.519 in 93 games, and the Expos traded him to Cleveland for Ricky Ledee. Segui was always good at getting on base but didn’t have the power you’d like to have from a first baseman.

Fullmer DHed for the Jays for two seasons, hitting .284/.333/.499 with 50 home runs and 187 RBI in 279 games. He had an excellent season in 2000, hitting 32 home runs and driving in 104 runners. If the Jays had a better team, we’d think of Fullmer as one of the better D.H.s in team history.

The trade with the Angels didn’t go well for the Jays.

Fullmer played two seasons for the Angels and hit .294/.367/.521 with 28 home runs and 94 RBI in 193 games. And he played a starring role in the Angels’ 2002 World Series win. He hit .294/.351/.471 in 12 playoff games. Brad also stole home in game two of the World Series as part of a double steal. Pretty crappy defense there, Giants.

Brad wrecked his knee in June of 2003, which ended his career. After the 2003 season, he signed with the White Sox as a free agent.

It wasn’t one of J.P. Ricciardi’s better trades. I’m not sure why, but Fullmer was always thought of as a disappointment. Maybe because, as an LHB, he didn’t hit lefties at all. Maybe because Brad really couldn’t play defense. But I wonder why J.P. gave him away so cheaply (perhaps he was tired of paying for cleaning chewing tobacco out of the Skydome’s turf?). Cooper wasn’t much of a pitcher, nor was Brad a great prospect, but Ricciardi must have seen something in Cooper that the rest of us missed. I can’t imagine what he thought he saw. Cooper had as many walks as strikeouts when we traded for him.

Also, on January 17, 2011, 11 years ago now, the Jays signed Jon Rauch, without which we would have never had this:

For some reason, that makes me think of this: