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Blue Jays Birthdays: Jim Clancy, Roy Howell and Jeremy Accardo

Strong effort: Blue Jays’ righthander Jim Clancy was overpowering in the early innings last night, s Photo by Dick Darrell/Toronto Star via Getty Images

We have a trio of Blue Jays birthdays today. Jim Clancy turns 68, Roy Howell turns 70, and Jeremy Accardo turns 42.

Clancy was an original Jay, picked up in the expansion draft in 1976. He was called up to the Jays in July of 1977, our first season. He would be a Blue Jay for 12 seasons, battling it out with Dave Stieb for the franchise lead in wins for much of that time.

His best season was 1982 when he made 40 starts, had a 16-14 record (for a team that finished tied for last in the AL East), throwing 266.2 innings with a 3.71 ERA, and made the All-Star team for the only time in his career.

As a Jay, he had a 128-140 record in 352 games, 345 starts, 73 complete games, and 1 save. He is still 3rd on the team list for wins, 2nd in innings (2204.2), and 3rd in strikeouts.

After the 1988 season, he left as a free agent, and the Astros signed him, but the 2200 innings he threw for us used up his arm. He had an excellent half-season pitching out of their bullpen in 1991, and then he was traded to the Braves at the deadline.

Howell was a first-round (number 4 overall) pick by the Texas Rangers in the 1972 draft (Hall of Famers Dennis Eckersley and Gary Carter were 3rd round picks that year). On May 9 1977, the Rangers traded Roy to the Jays for Steve Hargan (a pitcher whose best days were behind him), Jim Mason (a SS who flirted with the Mendoza line in his good seasons) and $200,000.

Roy played four seasons with the Jays, mostly at third base, hitting .272/.335/.407, with 43 home runs and 234 RBI in 516 games. He made the AL All-Star team in 1978 (mainly because they had to have one player from each team). After the 1980 season, he signed as a free agent with the Brewers, playing with them for four seasons, mainly in a DH platoon, with Don Money (I bought a Don Money model bat when I was a teenager; I still have it).

When he left the Blue Jays, he held the team records for career hits, RBI, and strikeouts, but it was a very young franchise then. Roy also has the team record for RBI in a game, driving in 9 against the Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 10, 1977 (Edwin Encarnacion tied it on August 29, 2015). He hit .272/.335/.407 in his career with the Jays.

Accardo had an eight-year MLB. Five of those years were with the Blue Jays.

He had a 3.67 ERA with 35 saves in 138 games with the Jays. His best season was 2007. He pitched in 64 games, had a 2.14 ERA, and had 30 of those 35 career saves. He missed most of 2008 with injuries. In 2009, he started the season in the minors (and was none too happy about it). In June, he pitched in 26 games with a 2.55 ERA. He didn’t pitch much in 2010 in the majors and wasn’t happy about being banished to Vegas) and was released after the season. After being released, he complained that Alex Anthopoulos made promises and didn’t follow through. He did seem to get a bit of a raw deal with the Jays.

Jeremy came to the Jays in a trade from the Giants with everyone’s favourite former Jay Shea Hillenbrand (and Vinnie Chalk) going west.

As you all likely remember, a couple of days before the trade, someone wrote on the clubhouse bulletin board, “Play for yourself,” and the “ship is sinking.” That someone turned out to be our friend Shea. After being a full-time player in 2005, splitting time between first, third, and DH, Shea played less in 2006, and mainly at DH. The team had picked up Troy Glaus and Lyle Overbay in the previous off-season. Shea wasn’t the greatest of guys, and a drop in playing time didn’t help his personality. His teammate Gregg Zaun called him a cancer in the clubhouse.

So, Shea writes on the board, and once-and-future manager John Gibbons was slightly less than pleased. He challenged Shea to a fight. Gibby put up with too much crap from Hillenbrand, but perhaps wanting to fight him wasn’t the most managerial way to handle things.

Shea had to go, and J.P. Ricciardi got a decent return.

Hillenbrand didn’t exactly show the Jays up. He hit .248/.275/.415 in 60 games with the Giants. He played for the Angels and the Dodgers over the next two seasons and put up a -0.7 bWAR both years, ending his MLB career. If you are going to be a replacement-level player, you have to be a nice guy if you want to have a long career.