Joe Carter turns 63 today.
What you think about Joe Carter aligns with what you feel about RBIs. He drove in a lot of runs, but he also made a lot of outs. He’s an example of how the game has changed in the last 40 years (holy cow, 40 years?). In 1992 he had a .264/.309/.498 batting line. We wouldn’t call a player like that a star now. 2.5 bWAR from an everyday player? You’d want better.
But he was the greatest player on earth in that one shining moment. That was as good as baseball can get when he ‘touched them all’.
I always have a tough time placing him when I make a “top Jays list”. 8.5 WAR in his time with the Jays? That puts him near the bottom of the top 50. How much is that one home run worth? People who don’t look at stats think he was a great playoff performer. But his batting line, .252/.282/.484 in our two playoff runs, is ok. Not amazing.
But he’s a winner. Or he was those two years. In his 16-year career, those were the only two years he made the playoffs.
He also has a great personality (I suppose I’d have a great personality if I never had to buy a beer in Canada again). He is a happy guy. He seemed to be a happy player.
Cito liked him too much. Trading John Olerud and not playing Shawn Green to keep Joe on the field when he and the team were in their declining years hurts his legacy, but that was on Cito.
Amazingly, Joe was the last to touch the ball in the World Series two years in a row. I spent a few hours a couple of years ago to see if some other player might have done that, and I couldn’t find any.
This has most of Joe’s at-bat in game 6:
Those are two moments I can not see too often.
I remember being calm for the 1993 one, thinking Pat Hentgen would start game 7, and all would be good.
The 1992 game I had to tape, because I was working that night. Somewhere in the house I still have a VHS tape with the game on (and likely some terrible 1990s TV show).
Happy Birthday, Joe. I’m glad you touched them all.
Jeff Kent turns 55 today.
Kent was a 20th-round pick for the Jays in the 1889 draft. He did pretty well for a 20th-round pick. He came up to the Jays in 1992, played 65 games, and hit .240/.324/.443 with 8 home runs. Then, on August 27th, we traded him to the Mets (along with Ryan Thompson) for David Cone.
Cone would pitch in 8 games, starting 7, and had a 2.55 ERA and a 4-3 record. And he made four starts in the playoffs.
Kent played five seasons for the Mets, hitting .279/.327/.453 with 110 home runs. Mid-season, he was traded to Cleveland. He finished the season there, then signed as a free agent with the Giants.
That’s where he became a star. He played there for six seasons, hitting .297/.368/.535 with 175 home runs. He teamed with Barry Bonds (not that they were friends) to be an excellent middle of the batting order.
From there, he went to the Astros (for two seasons) and Dodgers (four seasons).
Kent had a 17-year career, hitting .290/.356/.500 with 377 home runs. He came up short on his last chance on the Hall of Fame ballot. He’s a borderline Hall of Fame candidate, but I would have been ok with him making it. The Hall is short on middle infielders. But then him getting in and Bonds not would be an injustice.
After the trade, Kent had a great career, but we won the World Series, so it is hard to complain.
He appeared on one of the 7000 seasons of Survivor.
Happy Birthday, Jeff.
Jeff Burroughs turns 72 today.
Jeff played the last season of his very good 16-year career with the Blue Jays, hitting.257/.366/.429 with 6 home runs in 86 games, platooning in the DH role with Al Oliver. We made it to the ALCS that year, losing out to the Royals in 7 games. Jeff only had one at-bat in the series.
In 16 seasons, Burroughs hit .261/.355/.439 with 240 home runs. He knew how to take a walk. Jeff had 117 walks in 1978.
He was a favourite of mine.
Happy Birthday, Jeff.
Also having birthday are pitchers:
- Mauro Gozzo: Turns 57. He played with the Jays in 1989, his rookie season, pitched in 9 games, and had 3 starts, with a 4.83 ERA. He played in parts of 6 MLB seasons, 48 games, 13 starts.
- Denis Boucher: Turns 55. Made 7 starts for the Jays in 1991, his rookie season. He had a 4.58 ERA and was traded (along with Glenallen Hill and Mark Whiten) to Cleveland for Tom Candiotti and Turner Ward. Born in Montreal, he finished his career with the Expos. Career, he played in 35 games, 26 starts, and had a 5.42 ERA. He was the pitching coach for Team Canada in the 2006 WBC and the 2008 Olympics.
- Joel Carreno: Turns 36. He pitched in 22 games for us, split between the 2011 and 2012 seasons, and had a 4.06 ERA in 37.2 innings. I remember thinking Joel was a pretty good prospect, but he spent nine seasons in the Jays’ minor league system. He had more than a strikeout inning in the minors and didn’t walk all that many. Why did he not get more of a chance?
Happy Birthday to Mauro, Denis and Joel.