Former Blue Jays third baseman Ed Sprague turns 55 today.
Sprague played for the Jays for eight seasons, starting in 1991 and staying until the Jays traded him to the A’s on July 31st, 1998. The Jays got Scott Rivette for him. Unfortunately, Rivette never did make it to the majors.
Sprague hit .245/.315/.419 with 113 home runs and 418 RBI in 888 games as a Blue Jays.
He wasn’t great, but like Kelly Gruber, who played third before him, Sprague had one terrific season that was way out of his norm. But Gruber was better on defense
Sprague’s outlier year was 1996. He set career highs in runs (88), hits (146), homers (36), RBI (101), walks (60) and slugging average (.496). It ranks as one of the best seasons for a Jay third baseman. Sprague’s career would also be the winner of the ‘Which of these seasons doesn’t belong here’ game.’ That was one of the seasons that Roger Clemen’s “trainer” was hanging around with the Jays.
Ed admitted that he took steroids. He also admitted using amphetamines, which were pretty standard in baseball then. Baseball is played every day. Some players often use something to fight the fatigue a long season can cause. They didn’t have Red Bull back then. Baseball banned Amphetamines in 2006.
Ed had a moment that all Jays fans remember. In game 2 of the 1991 World Series, he hit a game-winning 2-run home run in the 9th inning off Atlanta closer Jeff Reardon, the biggest home run in the Jays’ history, for about a year until Joe Carter hit the walk-off homer to win the World Series. Without Sprague’s homer, the Jays would likely have lost game two and fallen behind two games to none. That would have been a challenging hole to crawl out of.
Besides the 2006 season, he wasn’t exceptional. However, he did make the All-Star game in 1999 as a Pirate when he hit .267/.352/.465 with 22 home runs. After that, he bounced from San Diego to Boston, back to San Diego and then to Seattle.
He played 11 seasons in the majors and had 152 home runs and a .247/.318/.419 line.
Ed’s dad, also Ed, played eight seasons in the majors. He was a pitcher.
Happy birthday, Ed. I hope it is a good one.