We can’t talk about Blue Jays All-Star memories without mentioning Dave Stieb.
Stieb is the franchise leader on All-Star appearances with 7. He was easily our best player in the early 80s and the best pitcher in the AL in the decade. Like Roy Halladay and Jose Bautista, Stieb was competitive and intense. 2 steps beyond intense. Pat Hentgen described him this way:
A furious competitor, you go to his place to play darts. It is ‘look out, game on,’ you know. Whatever you play that is just the way he is. I don’t know if it is that he had an older brother, he was trying to keep up with him or what, but he is one hell of a competitor.
Stieb competitiveness extended itself to the All-Star game. In 11.2 innings over the 7 games, he allowed just 6 hits and 1 earned run while striking out 10.
In 1983 Dave was the only Jay to go to the All-Star game, and it was his first time as AL starting pitcher. He would start the game again the following year.
Stieb had a 10-7 record at the break, with a 2.54 ERA. He finished the year 17-12 with a 3.04 ERA in 36 starts. He had 14 complete games, 278 innings, 223 hits, 187 strikeouts and 93 walks. The Jays were starting to turn the corner in 1983. In 1982 we went 78-84. In 1983 we were 89-73, the best record in the team’s history to that point, but still only good for 4th in the AL East.
The game didn’t start great for Dave. He made a throwing error on a ground ball, letting Steve Sax get to first. He stole, then Tim Raines also hit one to Stieb. This time the error went to first baseman Rod Carew. Sax scored, and Raines made it to third. Stieb struck out Andre Dawson and walked Al Oliver to put runners on the corners. Stieb then struck out Dale Murphy and Mike Schmidt. Stieb did tend to get angry when there were errors.
The second inning went much better. Dave got future Hall of Famers Gary Carter and Ozzie Smith to fly out. NL starting pitcher Mario Soto (back in the days when they let pitchers bat, even in the All-Star game) ground out to end the inning.
In the third, he got three quick outs again. Sax ground out (to Stieb, but they managed to make the play this time), Raines struck out, and Dawson flew out to right. There were a lot of Hall of Famers in the NL lineup.
Stieb went three innings, didn’t give up a hit, but walked one and had 1 unearned run scored off two errors. He struck out 4. The AL scored 9 runs in the first 3 innings, so Stieb got the win.
The AL won 13 to 3. Fred Lynn won the MVP for a 3rd inning grand slam. It was the AL’s first win since 1971. It is hard to remember that the NL was dominant for several years. On the NL side, 4 Expos were voted to the team: Raines, Dawson, Oliver and Carter. Expo pitcher Steve Rogers was also on the team but didn’t play.