Face of the Jays
Saturday, April 24 2021 @ 02:29 PM EDT
Contributed by: John Northey
I've been thinking about who is the face of the Jays now - Vlad or Bo depending on personal preference I figure. But what about over time?
By year, some years deserve multiple guys and one could pick more guys each year but I'm going with 'who would the average fan think of when thinking of the Jays at that time'. Not always the best player, but the most known (normally the same).
- 1977: Bill Singer was supposed to be, but Doug Ault took it with his 2 home runs opening day.
- 1978-1980 John Mayberry - 20+ HR each year, 30 in 1980, then traded part way through 1982. But lost his face of the franchise to the first real great of the Jays.
- 1981-1990: Dave Stieb - one could argue he gets this from 1979 on. He would've kept going if his arm didn't go kabloom part way into 1991.
- 1991-1995: Roberto Alomar - HOF'er in his prime leading the Jays to 2 WS wins. Many others have a case, from Joe Carter to Dave Winfield (1992) but Alomar was THE face for the Jays in this era.
- 1996: Joe Carter - not my favorite but almost by default as he was all over the media and everyone was still in love with Mr. RBI even though he couldn't hit at this point.
- 1997/1998: Roger Clemens - 2 Cy Youngs, pitchers triple crown years while being the highest paid pitcher in baseball history (briefly). Worth every penny, as boy was it fun to watch especially when he pitched against the Red Sox. A HOF'er with something to prove. Sad what came later, but that was the era.
- 1999-2002: Carlos Delgado - could start in 1996, but by 1999 he was the undisputed face of the team.
- 2003-2009: Roy Halladay - Cy Young winner, HOF'er building his amazing resume with a terribly frustrating team. Jays acting like a small market during this time. A bad small market team. If only he could've stayed. Sadly his career was over before the Jays won again in 2015
- 2010-2015: Jose Bautista - right after Halladay was traded Bautista hit 54 home runs and would be THE face for years (one could argue for 2016/17)
- 2016-2018: Josh Donaldson - MVP in 2015, 4th in MVP in 2016, but then injuries injuries injuries. Sigh.
- 2019-now: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. - super hype which he is now starting to live up to. One could say 2018 just for that spring training home run in Montreal to end spring. The hype machine went nuts after that. The HR competition in 2019 pushed it to a new level. The weight issues in 2020 knocked him down. Now fit he is bringing back the hype.
Some years are really multiple guys - many guys can be argued from 1983-1993 (the best stretch in Jays history) with George Bell having the best case some of those years, especially 1987, but in my mind every year if you asked Joe Average who played on the Jays Dave Stieb would've been the first name to come to mind. Delgado & Halladay were co-faces really in the early 00's. 2015/16 Donaldson, Encarnacion, and Donaldson were all the faces of the team. Then you get the mess of 2018 when no one was healthy and good or known (ugh, what a depressing year). Opinions? Reasons? As I said at the start, Bo could be the face right now easily.