Sunday, March 27, 2016

1977 Jays

 For lack of creativity, I want to highlight the group of Jays that took the field in April 1977.

First of all, it's always nice to have a theme song, right? Well, this was theme for those Baby Jays..

That screams 70s, no??

Just to show part of why it was decided Toronto needed a domed stadium, there's also footage of the first game, narrated by the Voice of the Blue Jays, Tom Cheek.

The video also shows footage of Doug Ault's home run, the first for the franchise. 

Well, since this is a baseball card blog, I guess I should show some baseball cards. 

Something missing from modern sets: Coach/Manager cards. While it doesn't state who does what, it does make the interesting choice of listing them all on the Team Checklist on the same card. 

See what I mean? I also like the fact it has the uniform numbers alongside as well. C'Mon Topps!! You're making 6570595493129614635 sets and parallels every year now, get this in there!!
(Yes, that number may be a small exaggeration)

As for that first game, it was started by Bill Singer

Here are the two cards I have of Singer. You can tell they airbrushed the Jays logo onto the hat, while not even bothering with the top of the uniform showing. The photo shows him from his time with the Twins in 1976. 

Singer, by far the biggest name on the Jays from the expansion draft, was the focal point of their marketing for that first year. 

He didn't do well, going 2-8 6.79 ERA in 13 games. He walked more than he struck out and was shut down partway through the season for ineffectiveness. He missed the 1978 season and was released. He then retired.

Pete Vuckovich pitched the final two innings of the game, picking up the save. 
Vuckovich was 7-7 3.47 in 53 games for the Jays, most coming in relief. He started 8 games as well. 
After the 1977 season, he was traded to St. Louis with John Scott for Victor Cruz and Tom Underwood. 

Then he ended up going to the Brewers and doing well there, including a Cy Young Award. 

There's a theme with the Jays cards from 1977. All of them have an airbushed hat logo on while you can tell the uniform is from their 1976 team. This time, the White Sox. 

Jim Mason didn't start the game for the Jays, but he did end up playing, pinch hitting for Hector Torres. Dave McKay I've written about before, so I won't say too much here. 

I will say though that the airbushing on the logos kind of bothers me, if only because it looks like they rushed through it. Mason played on the Yankees in 1976 while McKay was on the Twins. 

Otto Velez was the Designated Hitter for that game. In 1976 he played on the Yankees. The logo on his hat looks almost correctly sized. 


Again, one thing I liked about the old Topps (though it gets tough when you collect multiple teams) was the four panel rookie cards. 

The first one has the Left Fielder from that first game in John Scott. It also has some guy you may have heard of by the name of Andre Dawson. (for this reason, I need a second one lol)

John Scott played for the Padres up until he was purchased by the Jays from the Padres. After the 1977 season, he was traded to St Louis, where he played in the minors for one season then went to Japan. 

Doug Ault was the hero of the first game played, hitting two homers, including the first in franchise history.  He came from the Rangers. Ault didn't really recapture his 1977 season, spending time in Syracuse in 1979 and 1980 before going to Japan for 1981. He was back in Syracuse in 1982 before finishing his career in the Mexican League. 


Another one I need a duplicate of, with both the Expos' Sam Mejias and the Jays' Alvis Woods on the same card. 
Woods hit the other homer in the game for the Jays. (They hit three, while the Sox hit one) 
Woods came from the Twins in the expansion draft. His best season came in 1980 but by 1982 he was out of the Jays' plans. He was traded to Oakland for Cliff Johnson, but was then signed by the Jays when the A's released him. He then was released by the Jays in 1984 and finished his career in 1986 with the Twins. 

Now to the other Woods on the Jays.. Gary Woods. Gary was picked by the Jays from Oakland in the expansion draft. He played 1977 and 1978 for Toronto before being traded to the Houston Astros. He ended off his career with the Padres' Triple A Team in 1986. 

So there's a look at the players who were on the field that snowy April 7th in 1977. 


  1. I love Vuke, but him winning the Cy Young Award in 1982 was totally based on the fact that the Brewers won the American League East. He walked nearly as many guys as he struck out (102 walks, 105 Ks) and had a WHIP of 1.502. Seriously. Probably more deserving based on the quality of his season, the team context, etc., was Dave Stieb with your Blue Jays (7.7 WAR compared to Vuke's 2.8).

    1. Probably.. I wouldn't be surprised, since the Jays finished 6th that year.. In 1982 Stieb ended up fourth in the voting. That was his highest result too..