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Happy Birthday Homer Bush

Homer Bush poses for a studio portrait.

Homer Bush turns 51 today.

Bush came to us from the Yankees, along with David Wells and Graeme Lloyd for Roger Clemens. Clemens wanted out of Toronto after winning two Cy Youngs in a row for a rather poor Blue Jays team (we finished 5th in 1997, then moved up to third in 1998 (we finished third for six straight seasons from 1998 to 2003)) in February of 1999.

For a Gord Ash trade, it wasn’t all that bad. It is tough when a player asks for a trade and will only go to a couple of teams. Still, Ash got a pitcher who would be Clemen’s equal for the next couple of seasons, a pretty good lefty reliever (who pitched in 74 games the next season, then missed all of the 2000 season with injuries) and Bush.

Bush had played 55 games for the Yankees across 1997 and 1998 but was blocked from the second base job by Chuck Knoblaugh (who you might remember developed a severe case of the yips soon after). Bush had come up in the Padres system and was included in a six-man trade with the Yankees that featured Ruben Rivera and Hideki Irabu. He wasn’t a big prospect but had speed and could play the middle infield.

His first year with the Jays was terrific. He hit .320/.353/.421 with 32 steals and a 3.3 bWAR. We were looking forward to more of the same.

It didn’t happen.

In 2000, he hit .215/.271/.253 in just 76 games, dropping to a -1.3 bWAR. Hip injuries slowed him down.

His numbers bounced back some in 2001, hitting .306/.336/.387 but was still limited to 78 games. 2002 started slow, hitting just .227/.266/.265 in 23 games, when the Jays released him. The Marlins picked him up and played 40 games for them. The Yankees brought him back in 2004, but he played nine games and retired before spring training in 2005, citing the continuing hip issues.

Since then, he’s had a few coaching and development jobs for various teams.

I remember really liking him in that great 1999 season and thinking he would be our best second baseman since Alomar, but in those days, the second basemen got wiped out from behind on turning double plays (breaking up the double play, was the term) and many ended up with nagging injuries that shortened their careers.

Happy Birthday, Homer, I hope life is good.

Randy Knorr turns 55 today,

Knorr played five seasons for the Jays (well, parts of five seasons). He was a glove-first backup catcher.

He played in 3 games in 1991 and 8 games in 1992. He then played 39, 40 and 45 games over the next three years, backing up Pat Borders the first two of those seasons, and then battling Sandy Martinez and Lance Parrish for playing time in 1995.

He has World Series rings from both of our winning seasons (he was our backup catcher in both World Series playoffs, but only got into one game of our 1993 run.

For the Jays, he played 135 games, hitting .233/.294/.398.

Leaving the Jays, he would go on to play for the Astros, Marlins, Astros again, Rangers and Expos over the next six seasons.

Career, he played in 253 games, over 11 seasons, hitting .226/.278/.382.

Happy Birthday, Randy.