Blasts from the Past, Part 1 - Quotations from 1985 newspaper columns

Wednesday, March 12 2003 @ 07:14 AM EST

Contributed by: Dave Till

A while back, as one of the projects I was working on while I was unemployed, I dived into old microfilm records and collected interesting Jays-related quotations from newspaper articles. (I hope someday to make a book out of them.) Here's some I collected from September, 1985. They're all from the Toronto Star.

One thing that struck me was how enthusiastic people were about the Jays. Reading these again is like watching one of those old educational films made in the 1950's: things were all so different then. (For those of you too young to remember: while Toronto cared passionately about its Jays in 1992 and 1993, the city was madly in love with the Jays in 1985, at least until Jim Sundberg's hit off Dave Stieb in Game 7 of the 1985 ALCS.)

Enjoy! (Hopefully, there aren't enough of these to violate the fair use guidelines.)

"It's time to pin some pictures up on the dartboard. Rickey Henderson (boo!), Don Mattingly (hiss!), Dave Winfield (gull-killer!) and Billy Martin (cowardly bar fighter) will do for starters." - Alison Gordon, Toronto Star, Sept 1 1985

"Remember that we are in a pennant race here: This is serious business. Remember the good guys on ourside. Remember that every home run Dave Winfield hits, every batter Guidry strikes out, has the potential of stealing food from Willie Upshaw's baby's mouth. Surely you can harden your heart for a month with those kinds of stakes. Do you want to take food from Willie Upshaw's baby's mouth? Boo. Boooo. BOOO!" - Alison Gordon on sympathizing with some of the nicer Yankees, Toronto Star, Sept 1 1985

"For the fans, it's time to climb aboard the big roller-coaster called Pennant Race. How are your nerves, anyway? Are you too old, too young, too jaded, too laid-back to enjoy the screaming highs and the pit-of-the-guts lows now that the carnival actually has come to our town? It might be years, you know, before it returns." - Garth Woolsey, Toronto Star, Sept 8 1985

"They can go out there and pitch or catch or hit the next day and really make a difference. I don't. All I can do is hope and cheer my sick little lungs out and send every ounce of good vibrations I've got in my soul towards the field, and even that doesn't work. Every time the Blue Jays lead drops another game, I line the razor blades up again." - Alison Gordon, Toronto Star, Sept 8 1985

"I've heard it said that when the pressure is on I don't want to play any more. That is garbage. These people who say that, they never believe a Latin can be hurt. When a Latin is hurt, they believe he's faking. (To them) we are made of iron. They think we must be constructed of steel and should never break down." - Damaso Garcia (quoted by Wayne Parrish), Toronto Star, Sept 9 1985

"While in successful times he often alludes to his faith in God as a born-again Christian, Fernandez takes his own failures very hard. He is not often in a good mood after making an error." - Wayne Parrish, Toronto Star, Sept 13 1985

"Not only did [Mary] O'Dowd not begin the words O Canada, the tune she sang bore no resemblance to the actual strains of Canada's national anthem. After several lines, foreign even to non-Canadian ears, uncertain silence on the part of the crowd gave way to a crescendo of boos. O'Dowd left the microphone behind home plate and walked 50 feet to the corner of the Yankee dugout, on which the words to O Canada were presumably written." - Wayne Parrish, on Mary O'Dowd's anthem troubles at Yankee Stadium, Toronto Star, Sept 15 1985

"...every so often a team comes along that seems somehow different from the rest. It responds to challenges. It's able to win just when it needs to most, to ward off pursuers just when it seems ripe to be caught.
"Some might attribute such to that old bugaboo, character. In truth, it probably has far less to do with that than it does with their skill levels and strategy. But whatever its roots, one thing is now clear - the 1985 Toronto Blue Jays are such a team." - Wayne Parrish, Toronto Star, Sept 17 1985

"You get a hit and then you get a dirty look like no way are you supposed to get a hit. It gets you pumped up and you like to beat that club, because everybody hates him." - Bill Buckner on Dave Stieb (quoted by Neil MacCarl), Toronto Star, Sept 18 1985

"Pitching greatness is doing whatever it takes to win. It requires an exceptional blend of talent, intelligence, guile and temperament. Stieb has the first quality. He also has the second. But he doesn't have the other two and it now seems possible that he will never acquire them, that the person he is will forever stand in the way of the pitcher he could be." - Wayne Parrish, Toronto Star, Sept 18 1985

"Play for Canada. Forget money. Try to forget you're American until the end of the season." - Star reader Mervyn Hoy gives advice to the Jays, Toronto Star, Sept 19 1985

"People may find it betters their relationship with their girlfriend or boyfriend, or improves their performance at work. The excitement created by something like Blue Jay fever can be very powerful in its over-all effect on a person's life." - psychologist Dr. Steven Berkowitz (quoted by Damien Cox), Toronto Star, Sept 20 1985

"This year, America's team is the Toronto Blue Jays. Forget the geography. The Blue Jays embody traditional American values - hard work, selflessness, teamwork and the absence of identifiable superstars." - Mike Bauman, Milwaukee Journal (quoted by Damien Cox, Toronto Star), Sept 20 1985