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Today in Blue Jays history: George Bell wins MVP

Sports Contributor Archive 2019

Nine Years Ago:

The Blue Jays signed Russell Martin to a 5-year, $82 million contract. I was on holiday then, but I remember being surprised we spent that much money. It seemed out of character for the team.

Martin played four seasons with the Jays, hitting .225/.336/.399 with 66 home runs.

He’s one of those guys who was more important to the team than his stat showed. Or at least that’s how we felt about him.

We traded him to the Dodgers for Ronny Brito and Andrew Sopko (neither made it to the majors).

We were pretty happy with the signing:

I don’t know what Martin is doing these days. He’s the kind of guy who would make a good manager if willing to take the pay cut.

Twelve Years Ago:

With the unveiling of the new Blue Jays uniform, Minor Leaguer looked at the franchise history of uniforms and logos. Part two came along the next day.

Also, ten years ago, Marc Hulet suggested Casey JanssenCould Be the Key Man in the 2012 Bullpen’. It turns out he was right.

Thirteen Years Ago:

The Jays traded for Rajai Davis, sending Trystan Magnuson and Daniel Farquhar to Oakland. Both Magnuson and Farquhar had made it back into the Jays system Farquhar in a trade for David Purcey (Farquhar would pitch 2 innings for us in 2011). Farquhar pitched in 253 MLB games with a 3.93 MLB for the Mariners, Rays and White Sox and had 18 saves. Magnuson was traded back for cash but didn’t return to the majors. He had a total of 14.2 MLB innings.

Rajai played three seasons with the Jays. He hit .252/.299/.369 with 15 home runs and 125 stolen bases (7th on our all-time list, and no one is likely to push him further down the list in the foreseeable future) before leaving us as a free agent. He had a 14-year career, playing in 1448 games and hitting .262/.311/.379 with 415 steals. He was not a great player, but he was fun to watch on the bases. Baseball is entertainment, and he was entertaining.

We liked the trade at the time.

Fifteen Years Ago:

Hugo and some guy with the unusual name of Rincewind talk about the problem spots that the Jays needed to fix before the 2009 season.

Sixteen Years Ago:

Eleven years ago tomorrow, but close enough, J.P. Ricciardi traded Kristian Bell (gone to The Good Place?) and Graham Godfrey to the A’s for Marco Scutaro. It wasn’t a trade that excited anyone, but it was good. We grew to love Scutaro.

Thirty-Six Years Ago:

Long before Bluebird Banter, in 1987, George Bell became the first Blue Jay to win the AL MVP award for his .308/.352/.605 seasons, with 47 home runs and a league-leading 134 RBI. Bell had finished 19th, 8th, and 4th in the voting the three previous years and would finish 4th in 1989. And 20th in 1992 with the White Sox.

He likely wouldn’t win the award with today’s voters. He finished 10th among AL hitters with a 5.0 bWAR. Even if you take just offensive bWAR, Bell was still 10th in the AL. Wade Boggs had an 8.3 bWAR and Alan Trammell an 8.2. Boggs hit .363/.461/.588 with 24 home runs and 105 walks. Trammell .343/.402/.551 with 28 home runs, playing good defense at short.

But Bell had all those RBI.

Bell wasn’t terrible defensively at that point in his career. Of course, later in his career, his knees would pay the price for playing on the carpet-covered cement, and his defense would suffer from it, but that was later.