The Toronto Blue Jays were founded in 1977 as an expansion franchise. After a few bumpy years, the Blue Jays became a powerhouse in the AL East and won back-to-back World Series in 1992 and 1993.
While they haven't made the playoffs since, they are very competitive in their division. Some of baseball's greats have worn the Blue Jays jersey.
Here's my take on an all-time Toronto Blue Jays team:
Designated Hitter: Paul Molitor (1993-1995)
Molitor was a member of the 1993 World Series team and was named the series MVP. He was a seven-time All-Star selection and won the Silver Slugger four times. With a career batting average of .306, with 3,319 hits, 1,307 RBIs, and 504 stolen bases, he is best known for his exceptional speed and hitting.
Left Field: George Bell (1981, 1983-1990)
Bell would give the Blue Jays 12 seasons after being discovered in the Dominican Republic by Epy Guerrero. He was the American League MVP in 1987 and was an All-Star selection three times. During his time with the Blue Jays, he would hit .286, with his best season coming in 1987 when he hit 47 homers.
Right Field: Joe Carter (1991-1997)
Carter sits at third on the all-time home run list for the Blue Jays with 203. He was a key part of the Blue Jays' World Series teams. Over the course of 12 World Series games, he homered four times and had 11 RBIs. Carter made five appearances at the All-Star game and is well-known by Blue Jays for hitting a walkoff home run in the 1993 World Series that gave the team back-to-back rings.
Center Field: Vernon Wells (1999-2010)
This three-time All-Star selection, three-time Gold Glove winner, and one-time Silver Slugger Award winner had some terrific seasons with the Blue Jays. He was not eligible for Rookie of the Year in 2002 due to being over the 130 major-league at-bat limit, but batted .275 with 23 homers and 100 RBIs. His numbers would only improve over the next few years. Currently, his career stats include 254 homers and 100 stolen bases.
Third Base: Kelly Gruber (1984-1992)
Gruber was considered one of the best third basemen from 1988-1991. During those years, he would rack up 586 hits, and, in 1990, he would hit 30 homers and had 118 RBIs. He was with the Blue Jays when they won their first World Series in 1992
Shortstop: Tony Fernandez (1983-1990, 1993, 1998-1999, 2001)
Fernandez leads the Blue Jays all time in hits with 1,583 and games played at 1,450. He set a record for all shortstops in 1989 with a .992 fielding percentage, a testament to his outstanding defensive skills. He would finish his career with a .288 batting average and 844 RBIs. Fernandez would play in the All-Star game five times and won four Gold Gloves.
Second Base: Roberto Alomar (1991-1995)
There can be little doubt that Alomar deserves this spot. He was with the Blue Jays for both their World Series wins. During the 1993 Series, he batted .480 and is considered to be one of the best second basemen to ever play the game. Besides racking up an impressive 10 Gold Gloves, he also was a 12-time All-Star selection.
First Base: Carlos Delgado (1993-2004)
Delgado is the all-time leader in home runs for the Blue Jays, belting out 336. There were few hitters between 1996-2004 that were feared more than Delgado. He would average 36 home runs and 114 RBIs during those 11 seasons. With these numbers, he easily beats out Fred McGriff for this spot.
Catcher: Pat Borders (1988-1994)
This was a hard position to fill, but Borders gets it because of his ability behind the plate. Few were as good at blocking balls in the dirt. Borders was named as the 1992 World Series MVP, hitting .450 with one home run. In 691 appearances behind the plate for the Blue Jays, he threw out 35 percent of base stealers, with his best year in 1990 at 43 percent.
Starting Pitcher: Roy Halladay (1998-2009)
Halladay's breakout season was 2002 when he had a record of 19-7, with a 2.93 ERA and 168 strikeouts. David Wells is the only Blue Jays pitcher to have more wins with 20. He has made eight All-Star game appearances and won the Cy Young Award twice. On May 29, 2010, he had a perfect game against the Florida Marlins. He has exceptional control with his two-seam sinking fastball and a four-seam fastball that hovers around 90 mph. He is consistetntly leading the league in complete games and innings pitched.
Starting Pitcher: Roger Clemens (1997-1998)
Clemoes may have only played for two seasons with the Blue Jays, but they were certainly memorable. During both seasons, he would win the Cy Young Award and the pitching triple crown. Clemens would strike out 563 batters while wearing the Blue Jays' uniform and win 41 games with 2.33 combined ERA. There is no doubt that Clemens is one of the best pitchers Toronto has had on its roster.
Starting Pitcher: Dave Stieb (1979-1992; 1998)
Stieb was a solid pitcher for the Blue Jays for more than 10 years. He had 175 of his 176 wins for the Blue Jays, posting his best seasons in 1984-85. He was a seven-time All-Star player and pitched a no-hitter against the Cleveland Indians in 1990. From 1982-1985, Stieb would average almost 275 innings each season -- something unheard of today.
Starting Pitcher: Jim Clancy (1977-1988)
Clancy would have a number of highs and lows in his career, but he does rank third with all-time wins for the Blue Jays with 128. He was one of the original pitchers for the Blue Jays and also holds the third spot in all-time strickeouts with 1,237.
Starting Pitcher: Pat Hentgen (1991-1999, 2004)
Hentgen was a three-time All-Star selection and a 1996 American League Cy Young Award winner. In 1996, he won 20 games with a 3.22 ERA and beat out Andy Pettitte of the New York Yankees for the award. Hentgen had a wicked fastball that he would use early to get ahead of batters early in the count and a curve ball that he favored to send them back to the bench. He ranks in the top five for the Blue Jays in wins, starts, winning percentage, and innings pitched. Over his 14-year career, he would pitch 34 complete games.
Left-Handed Pitcher: Jimmy Key (1984-1992)
Key was a four-time All-Star player and was part of the Blue Jays' World Series team in 1992. However, his best seasons were in 1987, when he led the league with a 2.76 ERA and 17 wins, and 1993, when he won 18 games and had 173 strikeouts. Key had a great first base pickoff move and fans will remember when he got Otis Nixon at first during Game 4 of the 1992 Wold Series.
Closer: Tom Henke (1985-1992)
Henke lived up to his nickname of "The Terminator" and was easily one of the most feared closers during the last part of the 1980s and the first part of the 1990s. His large glasses and 6-foot-5-inch height made him an imposing figure on the mound. Henke pitched in 642 games, with 861 strikeouts and 311 saves. He was an integral part of the Blue Jays' 1992 World Series team and was selected to the All-Star game twice.
Bench: Fred McGriff (1986-1990)
McGriff is a five-time All-Star first baseman and was the All Star Game MVP in 1994. He won the Silver Slugger Award three times. He would miss one milestone he really wanted, though, and that was to hit 500 home runs. His career batting average was .284 and he hit 493 homers. He was also the first person to ever hit a home run in Toronto's SkyDome, which is now known as the Rogers Centre.
Bench: Jose Bautista (2008-Present)
It's hard to put Bautista on the bench, but here he sits. This five-time All-Star, two-time Home Run Derby champ, two-time Silver Slugger and Hank Aaron awards winner currently is certainly a fan-favorite in Toronto. With current career stats of a .253 batting average, 801 hits, 183 home runs, and 503 RBIs, Bautista makes it easy to be a fan.
Bench: Dave Collins (1983-1984)
Collins holds the record for most stolen bases of any Blue Jays player with 60 in 1984. He would steal 395 over the course of his 16-year career. If a pinch runner was ever needed in a game, Collins would be a great choice.
I've always had a soft spot for the Blue Jays, as they were playing at the first baseball game I ever saw in person. The Jays have certainly had some outstanding players over the years.