Thursday, October 29, 2015


I apologize for not updating. My computer decided to break down and I just got it back today. Tomorrow I will do part two of the Jays/Expos post from before.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Played for both Part 1

One thing that was made a big deal of was the players who suited up for the Blue Jays and for the Expos. Overall there were 56 players who completed this feat. A couple did it in the same year.

Today, I'm going to cover the mound warriors who wore the bleu, blanc, et rouge of Les Expos, and the blue and white of the Blue Jays.

 First is Balor Moore. A rather unremarkable pitcher from 1970-1980 for the Expos, the Angels, and the Blue Jays. As of right now, this is the only card i have of Moore. His best year was likely 1972 when he was 9-9 3.47. For the most part, walks were his nemesis.

Every transaction involving Balor was a direct purchase from his previous team. The interesting thing is he made his Major League debut at the age of 19, and was out of baseball before the age of 30. According to his Wikipedia page, he had injury issues starting in 1974. He also apparently threw a perfect game in a Winter League in Puerto Rico.

 Dale Murray had two stints with the Expos, the first from 1974-1976 and the second from 1979-1980 before crossing the Ontario border to pitch for the Jays. In his first stint as an Expo, he was one of the premier relievers. After the 1976 season, he was traded with Woodie Fryman to the Reds for Tony Perez and Will McEnaney. In 1979, he was purchased by the Expos from the Mets, then signed with the Blue Jays in 1981. In 1982 he was traded by the Jays to the Yankees along with Tom Dodd for Dave Collins, Fred McGriff, Mike Morgan, and cash. Interestingly enough, Graig Nettles was included in the trade originally, but wanted a huge bonus from the Jays to go to the city, hence the cash addition by the Yankees.
 Randy St. Claire was a reliever who pitched from 1984-1994 for the Expos, Reds, Twins, Braves and Blue Jays. He played for the Expos from 1984-1988 and for the Jays in 1994. Again, a largely unremarkable career, but has made an impact as a coach, where he is currently the pitching coach for the Buffalo Bisons.

Willie Fraser spent most of his career with the California Angels, but did spend 13 games with the Jays in 1991. He actually came to the Jays as part of a package that brought Devon White to the Jays as well.

Traded by the California Angels with Marcus Moore and Devon White to the Toronto Blue Jays for a player to be named later, Junior Felix and Luis Sojo. The Toronto Blue Jays sent Ken Rivers (minors) (December 4, 1990) to the California Angels to complete the trade.

     Fraser was selected off waivers by the Cardinals on June 26, 1991. In 1995, he signed with the Expos for his final Major League appearances. 

 John Candelaria was a pitcher from 1975-1993. He was a starter for the most part, but spent his time in Montreal and Toronto as a reliever. An interesting fact is he pitched for both New York teams, both Los Angeles teams, and both Canadian teams over the course of his career.

 Now we come to a Canadian who has played for both. Denis Boucher pitched from 1991-1994 for Toronto, Cleveland, and Montreal. Boucher was a part of the trade that sent Glenallen Hill and Mark Whiten to the Indians for Tom Candiotti and Turner Ward. He was chosen by the Rockies in the Expansion draft in 1993, then was traded to the Padres. The Padres then traded him to the Expos.

When he became an Expo, fans turned out to see the hometown boy pitch. In 1995, he was part of history when he teamed with Joe Siddall for an all-Canadian battery, the first time it happened in Major League Baseball History.

Luis Aquino pitched for the Jays and Expos as well. He was signed as an amateur free agent in 1981. He didn't do much for the Jays, only appearing in 7 games and pitching 11 1/3 innings. He spent 1987 in the minors, split between Syracuse and Omaha, as the Jays sent him to the Royals for Juan Beniquez. From 1989-1992 he spent most of the time in the bullpen for Kansas City, filling in as a spot starter as needed. After going to Florida to wear the teal, (I miss those uniforms) he signed with the Expos in 1995. He only pitched in 29 games, for 37 1/3 innings before being traded to the San Francisco Giants.

 Omar Daal got his time with the Canadian teams out of the way fairly easily. In the offseason of 1995 he was traded to the Expos for a minor leaguer. On July 25, 1997 he was taken off waivers by the Jays from the Expos. After the season, he became a Diamondback, selected in the Expansion Draft.

In 97 games for Montreal, he was 5-7 with a 5.51 ERA. For the Jays, he was 1-1 4 ERA in 9 games, 6 of them starts.

Though not Canadian team related, he was part of the trade that brought the Diamondbacks Curt Schilling from Philadelphia.

Ahhh Bill Risley. How I try to forget your existence.

He was drafted by the Cincinnati Reds but was traded to the Expos along with John Wetteland for Willie Greene, Dave Martinez and Scott Ruskin. His debut in 1992 was his only appearance, a start in the second game of a double-header against the Dodgers. The rest of his career was spent in the bullpen. The Expos waived him and he was taken by the Mariners. In 1995 he was traded by the Mariners to the Jays with Miguel Cairo for Edwin Hurtado and Paul Menhart. For the next three seasons, 1996-1998, he was largely forgettable on largely forgettable Blue Jays teams. I remember more than once turning off the game when he came to the mound, just because I couldn't bear to see the result.

 Graeme Lloyd. I own this card. I've looked at it repeatedly.. It never registered he started his career in the minors as a Blue Jay. He was signed as an amateur free agent in 1988. So how did he end up as a Milwaukee Brewer in this card?? Well, kind reader, I shall let you know. The Philadelphia Phillies selected him in the Rule 5 draft of minor league players. The Phillies turned around and traded him to the Brewers for a minor leaguer. He stayed a Brewer until the 1996 season when he was traded to the Yankees. He returned to the nest in 1999 when he was traded with Homer Bush and David Wells for Roger Clemens. At the end of the 1999 season, he was a free agent, where he signed with the Expos. He missed 2000 with surgery and then spent the next two seasons in Montreal until he was traded to the Marlins.

He now works with the Australian Baseball League.

 Ted Lilly was a Dodger draftee who was involved in what felt like a constant stream of trades between Montreal and Los Angeles. This trade involved Lilly, Peter Bergeron, Wilton Guerrero and a minor leaguer going to the Expos for Hiram Bocachica, Mark Grudzielanek, and Carlos Perez. He made his debut in 1999 for the Expos and pitched like he wanted to leave Montreal. In 2000, he was traded to the Yankees to complete an earlier trade that brought Hideki Irabu to Montreal. This would be after George Steinbrenner called Irabu a Fat Toad. A rather convoluted trade got him to Oakland where he was traded to the Jays in 2003 for Bobby Keilty (who I forgot was a Jay, honestly)

As a Jay he was solid, if unspectacular. In 2006 he left as a free agent to go back to Los Angeles.

Others who have pitched for both teams that I don't have cards of (yet) are Miguel Batista, Darwin Cubillian, Scott Downs, Shawn Hill, Tomo Ohka, Jon Rauch, and Scott Service.

Thursday, October 15, 2015


Well, last night the teams taking part in the ALCS were decided. One game had a lot more drama and emotions running high, while the other was a hired gun finally pitching the way the team hoped.

Earlier I wrote about the times the Blue Jays clinched a postseason berth. Each entry I also gave the outcome.

In 1992, the Jays were facing a familiar nemesis in the Oakland Athletics. Generally, the home runs come from the A's side with Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco, however this year would be different.. Dennis Eckersley, the closer for the A's, came into the game in the 8th with a 6-4 lead. He struck out the final batter of the inning and glared and pointed into the Jays' dugout. In the 9th, Roberto Alomar came up with a runner on and proceeded to hit the ball into the stands to tie the game. The Jays ended up winning in the 10th inning.

Dennis Eckersley was in a run of dominance during the late 80s/early 90s. The problem was no matter how dominant he was during the season, someone would hit him in the postseason.

The other big home run for the Jays in 1992 was by a little known Ed Sprague. Sprague was a catcher at Triple A Syracuse for most of the season but made the postseason roster. In game two of the World Series, he came up in a major situation. On base was a fellow pinch hitter in Derek Bell. On the mound was long-time closer Jeff Reardon. The Braves were up 4-3 in the game and 1-0 in the series. Ed Sprague hit the first pitch he saw from Reardon over the fence for a two-run home run. The Jays held the lead to tie the series at 1.

Now, we all know the major home run from 1993. The image has been burned into our minds for years now, and has been featured during the whole postseason run by the Jays.

I had to go with the video featuring the former radio voice of the Jays, Tom Cheek. Because well, Tom Cheek.

All this leads to last night. The Toronto Blue Jays were facing the Texas Rangers (Or if you believe their uniforms, the Texas Texases) and there was a play that you will likely never see again. In the 7th inning, Russell Martin went to throw the ball back to Aaron Sanchez on the mound. The ball hit the bat and hand of Shin-Soo Choo while he was in the batter's box and went down the third base line. Rougned Odor scored on the play. Much confusion and delay.. Go Ahead run scores on fluke play. The fans were not impressed. Bottom of the inning, just to prove they aren't robots, Elvis Andrus and Mitch Moreland committed three errors between them, allowing the Jays to rally.. Cue Jose Bautista. He hit the home run to put the Jays ahead.

Now the Jays go to Kansas City to face the Royals.

Monday, October 12, 2015


Just a quick message:

Happy Thanksgiving fellow Canadians!

To my friends south of me, Happy Columbus Day.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Multiple Sports

Yes, this is a baseball blog. However, with the NHL season starting this past week, I wanted to just mention one of the two hockey players I collect, plus a couple of players who were drafted by both MLB teams and NHL teams.

So, as you may or may not know, I'm Canadian.. I grew up in a small town called Terrace Bay, Ontario. Typical small northern Ontario town. Everyone knows everyone else, isolated from urban centres, and plenty of time during the winter for hockey, snowmobiling or whatever other winter activity you enjoy.

In this vein, I would like to introduce Charlie Simmer. He was born in Terrace Bay, played youth hockey there until going to Kenora. He was drafted by the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, then the NHL California Seals. (Interesting baseball tie-in, at one point Charlie Finley owned the Oakland A's as well as the Seals)

In his NHL career, he played for the Seals, the Los Angeles Kings, The Boston Bruins, and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Of course, there was the possibility none of this could have happened. After 5 years in the Kings farm system, he was ready to quit hockey altogether and move back to Terrace Bay to work in the pulp mill.


I was in elementary school with his nephew. We were classmates. My mom was friends with his sister. Small town living.. :)

Anyway, how this ties in with baseball, you're probably wondering. Here's how: There have been a few players who have either been drafted by both MLB and NHL teams, or drafted by NHL and signed by an MLB team. I want to cover those today.

Kirk McCaskill. Now, I did cover him previously in this blog, but he was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the 4th round (64th pick overall) in 1981. He was drafted by the California Angels in the 1982 draft, again in the 4th round. He actually did play a season of minor hockey before deciding to concentrate on baseball.

Tom Glavine. I believe he made the correct career choice, being that he's a Hall of Fame pitcher. Glavine was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the 4th round in 1984. Interestingly enough, he was drafted two rounds before Hockey Hall Of Famer Brett Hull and and five rounds ahead of Luc Robitaille, another Hockey Hall of Famer, both being inducted in 2009. He was drafted in the 2nd round of the MLB draft by the Braves. Again, he made the solid choice.
In 1992, the Score company put out two cards mentioning Glavine's hockey past with a Pinnacle Sidelines card, and a Base set Dream Team card. Both show him in a Braves uniform skating. I unfortunately do not own these cards, so I will not show them on here.

Nyjer Morgan. Well, I'm stretching here and I realize it. He was never drafted by an NHL team. The highest he got was Major-Junior, a 16-19 league that is considered professional by NCAA standards. He played for the Regina Pats of the Western Hockey League, part of the Canadian Hockey League banner. After being released by the Pats, he focused on baseball.

Eric Lindros. Now I'm stretching the opposite way. Lindros was drafted by an NHL team, but was not drafted or signed by an MLB team. He was drafted by the Quebec Nordiques, but did not sign with them. Instead, he worked himself into a trade to the Philadelphia Flyers, following Pete Incaviglia's
 lead in the 1980s by demanding a trade from the team that drafted him. It would be rather interesting to see how Lindros would have fared as a baseball player. He may have been able to avoid the concussions that ended his playing career

   I find it interesting that youth in sport are getting so specialized that we may never see another Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders, or even Kirk McCaskill. The amount of money thrown at players precludes them from being able to be more rounded in sport, and being able to excel in more than one.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

1993 Whiskey Jacks

A little different today. Most of the time, I write about teams and players from Major League Baseball. This is about the Northern League Thunder Bay Whiskey Jacks.

I am from the Thunder Bay area, and when Nelson Wolff spearheaded the Independent Northern League. The six founding members of the league were the St. Paul Saints (St. Paul MN) Rochester Aces (Rochester MN), Thunder Bay Whiskey Jacks (Thunder Bay ON), Sioux City Explorers (Sioux City IA), Sioux Falls Canaries (Sioux Falls SD) and Duluth-Superior Dukes (Duluth MN).

Originally, it was felt the league would not last long, especially in St. Paul where they were in competition with the Minnesota Twins. The Rochester Aces was the only team that struggled, and after the 1993 season, was sold and moved to Winnipeg to become the Goldeyes.

The 1993 team was a team of unknowns for the most part. In the new league, they ended up 36-35, third in the league. The most noteworthy players are Ty Griffin and Rodney McCray, who is best known as the guy who ran through the wall in the late 80's/early 90's highlight reels.

Other players included T.J. Rosenthal, who became a fan favourite very quickly in Thunder Bay.
When the public address announcer would introduce him, the fans would follow along with the PA.


On the mound, the team was led by Mark Mammola and Pat Tilmon.

Being much closer to Thunder Bay and Port Arthur Stadium than I was to Toronto and the (Then) SkyDome, I got to see a few games.

For the most part, I got to see the Jacks win.

Below is a sample of the back of the cards. They are typical minor league fare, with the basic information and a small write-up on the player and ads at the bottom.

I have the 1994 set as well. I plan on featuring them another time.

The Jacks were in the Northern League until 1998 when a CUPE strike in Thunder Bay, causing the Whiskey Jacks to be a road team. Port Arthur Stadium is city owned, and as a result was not maintained during the strike. Low attendance was the final nail in the coffin, as the team was sold and moved to Schaumburg Illinois.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Odds and Ends

Well, first I just want to say I'm looking forward to October 8 at 3:30.. First postseason game involving the Jays since 1993..

That said, a fellow blogger is running a contest for the World Series..

It's open till Friday at midnight EST.

I've been working on getting my wantlist updated on here. I have my Jays wantlist up to 1992. Alternatively, if you're on you can find my full wantlist and what I have to trade by looking up Mike67 in the member directory.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Clinchers Pt 5

Last post was about the 1992 Blue Jays. Today is 1993. The 1993 team dealt with a lot of turnover from the 1992 team. Gone were Dave Winfield, Dave Stieb, Jimmy Key, Kelly Gruber, Candy Maldonado, Manuel Lee, Tom Henke, Mark Eichhorn, and David Cone. Pat Tabler and Rance Mulliniks also left the team, both retiring.

To offset some of the losses, Dave Stewart, Paul Molitor, Tony Castillo, Danny Cox, and Dick Schofield were added. Luis Sojo was reacquired by the Jays for Kelly Gruber. Derek Bell was sent to San Diego for Darrin Jackson. Jackson was sent to the New York Mets during the season to have Tony Fernandez return to the team. The big move was getting Rickey Henderson at the trade deadline.

 The main reason the Blue Jays were able to repeat as World Series champions were the efforts of Devon White, Roberto Alomar, Paul Molitor, Joe Carter, and John Olerud, also known as WAMCO.

Olerud, Molitor, and Alomar ended up taking the top three spots in the batting title race, with Olerud hitting over .400 into August.

The Jays ended up beating the Chicago White Sox in the ALCS and the Philadelphia Phillies in the World Series.
Unlike the 1992 Series, however, the Jays were able to win the championship at home, the clincher coming by way of a Joe Carter home run off Mitch Williams.

 As we well know, 1993 was the last time the Blue Jays made the playoffs until this year.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Clinchers Pt 4

1992. The first time a certain blogger saw a Toronto Blue Jays game in person. It was during my school's Grade 8 trip to Toronto. We had horrible seats, but I loved it.

The 1992 team ended off with a 96-66 record and reached 4 million in attendance again. In a rematch of 1989, the Jays faced the Athletics in the ALCS. The difference came in the form of a Roberto Alomar home run off Dennis Eckersley.

The Jays faced the Atlanta Braves in the World Series. The Jays won in six games, winning in Atlanta.

Prior to the season, the Jays signed Jack Morris and Dave Winfield. In a tough month of August, the Jays sent Jeff Kent and Ryan Thompson to the New York Mets for David Cone. Jack Morris became the first pitcher in Jays history to win 20 games, but was also the end of the road for long-time ace Dave Stieb.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Clinchers Pt 3

Ahh 1991.. The Blue Jays win the East again after dropping the lead in 1990. 1991 is also the first time the team drew over 4 million fans to the SkyDome.

In the offseason, the Jays pulled off what could be argued as the biggest in team history when they traded Tony Fernandez and Fred McGriff to the San Diego Padres for Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter. Two days prior, the Jays got another integral part of the World Series teams by trading Junior Felix, Luis Sojo and a minor league player (Ken Rivers) to California for Devon White, Willie Fraser, and Marcus Moore.

The Blue Jays clinched the division October 2, 1991. In an interesting twist, the Jays finished the season on the Road against the team they would face in the ALCS, the Minnesota Twins. Unfortunately for the Jays, they won once in the ALCS, losing to the eventual champion Twins.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Clinchers Pt 2

This post will focus on the 1989 Blue Jays. 1989 saw a few steps in new directions for the Jays. GM Pat Gillick made his first trade in over 600 days when he sent Jesse Barfield to the Yankees for Al Leiter on April 30, 1989. Prior to this trade, the fans had started calling Gillick "Stand Pat".

One reason the Jays felt comfortable in sending Barfield away was they believed Rob Ducey was ready for every day play.
 Unfortunately for the Jays, Ducey never really lived up to his potential. Junior Felix ended up with most of the playing time in Right Field as a result.

After a horrible start to the season that saw the Jays under .500, Gillick broke from another tradition the Jays had and fired their manager during the season. Up until the 12-24 record Jimy Williams put up in 1989, any managerial changes were made in the offseason.

The Jays hired their new manager from within, moving Hitting Coach Cito Gaston to the manager chair. One final departure was the move to SkyDome from Exhibition Stadium. The Mistake By the Lake was left empty by the opening of the Dome, as both the Jays and the CFL Toronto Argonauts moved in. The final game at the Ex was May 28th, against the same team they opened the stadium with, the Chicago White Sox.

The Jays would improve over the rest of the season, clinching the East Division title on the second last day of the season against the Baltimore Orioles in Toronto. They ended up losing the final game of the season to finish with an 89-73 record.

The ALCS didn't go very well for the Jays, getting beat out in five games by the Oakland Athletics. In this seriesthe first 500 level home run was hit by Jose Canseco.

Next will be 1991