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Happy Birthday Garth Iorg

Kansas City Royals vs Toronto Blue Jays, 1985 American League Championship Series Set Number: X32205 TK5 F6

Garth Iorg turns 69 today. He played with the Jays from 1978 to 1987.

Garth Iorg was born in Arcata, California. The Yankees picked him in the 8th round of the 1982 amateur draft. He came to the Blue Jays in the 1976 expansion draft. He played for the Jays for nine seasons, batting .258/.282/.347 with 20 home runs in 931 games.

Garth wasn’t a great player. He came to the Jays as a second baseman and hit like a 2B, with no power, few walks, and no speed (23 career stolen bases).

Garth is best known as the right-handed half of the “Mullinorg” platoon third base tandem. Mulliniks was the better player of that pair. Unfortunately, Iorg only had one good season, 1985, batting .313/.358/.469, with 7 home runs in 288 at-bats. That was Toronto’s first playoff season. We lost to the Royals in 7 games in the ALCS. Garth wasn’t much help in that series, hitting .133/.188/.133 in 15 at-bats. Other than that season, even though he was mainly batting against left-handers, he was never great.

I remember him as an excellent defensive player, but that might be that he wasn’t much of a hitter, so I took it for granted he was good with the glove.

The Jays used a platoon system at 3B, C, and DH. One of the more significant baseball changes in the last few years is that clubs carry more pitchers, making it harder to platoon.

Garth came up to the Jays in the 1978 season and played 19 games, mostly at second base. The Jays were a terrible team then, finishing 59-102, and Garth wasn’t any better batting .163/.218./163. He stayed in the minors for all of 1979. In 1980, Iorg played 80 games as a utility player for a team that wasn’t much better. He played 2B, 3B, LF, 1B, and SS and hit .248/.286/.329.

In the strike season of 1981, Iorg played 46 games at 2B, filling in for an injured Damaso Garcia, and playing a handful of games at 3B and hit even worse .242/.269/.293. In 1982, with the arrival of Bobby Cox, we saw the start of the Mullinorg seasons. Playing 100 in games at 3B and 30 at 2B, he had his best season to this point, batting .285/.307/.365, and the Jays as a team started getting better, finishing 78-84, with some of their future stars in place.

In 83, the Jays had their first finish above .500, 89-73, finishing 4th in the AL East. Garth hit as empty as a .275, you could imagine, with a .298 on-base and .376 slugging. In 1984, we finished 2nd in the East but 15 games behind the Detroit Tigers, who went on to win the World Series. Again, Iorg had a terrible year at the plate .227/.244/.304. Rance should have been the full-time 3B.

In 1985, he had a good season, as mentioned above.

In 86, we fell back to the middle of the pack in the AL East, and Iorg fell back as a batter, batting 260/.303/.352. Kelly Gruber was called up this season and started pushing Garth out of the 3B platoon. Jimmy Williams began to use him at 2B, with Damaso Garcia wearing out his welcome in Toronto.

In 1987, Garth was our nominal regular second baseman. He was terrible, batting .210/.262/.284. The season was also awful. We were swept in Detroit in the year’s final series to allow them to pass us for first place. Toronto lost their last 7 games that season. Iorg was the final out of Detroit’s final game with the tying and winning runs in scoring position.

It was Garth’s last at-bat with the Jays. After that, he was a free agent and didn’t draw interest from any major league team. He played his entire major league career with the Jays.

After playing, he managed at every minor league level in the Toronto Blue Jays system. He also worked for the Sosnick Cobb Sports Agency and was an agent for many young players. In addition, he worked as a roving instructor for the Milwaukee Brewers. He has eight children (!) and is the brother of former major leaguer Dane Iorg.

We remember Garth for his strange batting stance. Wikipedia explains it as being on the toes of his front foot, leaning back towards the catcher as the pitcher threw the ball. Rance’s two-word explanation is likely as good as anyone’s: “It’s unique.”

Happy Birthday, Garth. I hope it is a good one.

Nolan Reimold turns 40 today.

He played 22 games for the Blue Jays in 2014. We picked him off waivers from the Orioles, thinking he was good against lefty pitchers. He hit .212/.283/.404 with 2 homers in those 22 games. Then we lost him off waivers to the Diamondbacks at the end of August.

Nolan played eight seasons in the MLB, 7 with the Orioles. He hit .246/.323/.422 with 56 home runs in 480 games.

Happy birthday, Nolan.

Tanyon Sturtze turns 53 today.

Tanyon, a right-handed pitcher, signed as a free agent with the Blue Jays before the 2003 season and pitched in 40 games with 8 starts for us, going 7-6 with a 5.94 ERA. In 89.1 innings, he allowed 107 hits, 14 homers, 43 walks, and 54 strikeouts.

He was in the middle of a 12-year MLB career (well, parts of 12 seasons). He came up with the Cubs and pitched 13 innings over 1995-1996. Then, he went to the Rangers for another cup of coffee. He played in 1 game for the White Sox in 1999. Then was traded to the Rays in the middle of the 2000 season.

He had his best seasons with the Rays, playing three seasons there, with a 19-30 record and a 4.48 ERA in 91 games 65 starts.

He spent three seasons in the Yankees’ bullpen, with a 5.26 ERA in 110 games. He finished his career with 2.1 innings with the Dodgers in 2008.

He had a 5.19 in 272 games, 84 starts, with a 40-44 record with seven teams. I only remember a little about him.

Happy Birthday, Tanyon.