This week it’s all about the ‘stache.
Inspired by “Thank You Cito” night, where many of the Jays players donned fake moustaches to salute the skipper, I bring you this week’s edition of Blast From the Past, featuring possibly the greatest moustache in Blue Jays history.
Though he only played for Toronto for a VERY short period of time (likely why I couldn’t find a picture of him in a Jays uniform), Luis Aquino sure knew how to rock the ‘stache.
Aquino came to the Jays in 1981 as an amateur free agent from Puerto Rico. In his first few years in the minors his role was undefined, alternating between starter, closer, and long reliever. Not even a no-hitter against the Columbus Clippers was enough to prove that he belonged in a rotation.
When he finally made his major league debut with the Jays in 1986 it was as a reliever. The Jays were defending AL East champions, but 1986 was not going their way. A rough start left them back in the pack, and by August, though they were above .500, they sat 5th in the division, 7 games back. That meant it was Aquino time.
He came into relieve Dave Stieb in the bottom of the 4th inning in Texas, and the Rangers were instantly blinded by his sterling moustache. He retired the first three batters he faced, with the ‘stache disguising the ball as it left his hand. But Pete Incaviglia (a man with a horrendous ‘stache of his own) ended Aquino’s dream start by launching a solo home run in the fifth. Things would never be the same.
Aquino found his way into seven games as a Toronto reliever, and gave up runs in six of them, including his first four appearances in a row. When 1986 came to an end, though his face looked great, his numbers did not: 11.1 IP, 1-1 record, 1 blown save, 6.35 ERA, 1.50 WHIP, 4.0 K/9. He never pitched for Toronto again, starting ’87 in Syracuse before being traded to KC for Juan Beniquez.
He pitched fairly well in his five seasons in KC, but again his role was undefined: 114 games, 55 starts. Though the constant uncertainty surrounding his position on the team may have impacted his performance, he never let it get in the way of his ‘stache. He maintained it as well as anybody in all of baseball, keeping it thick, lush, dark, and clean.
In 1993 Aquino left Kansas City and was part of the inaugural Florida Marlins franchise before making short stops in Montreal, San Francisco, and Japan, then calling it a career.
His numbers were not outstanding, but somehow his short time with the Royals landed him at #80 on a list of the Top 100 Royals of all-time.
Even though he only played 11 innings with the Jays, because of the moustache I would be willing to bet he would make our top 100 as well.
Remember – it’s all about the ‘stache.
Luis Aquino: Career Major League Statistics
9 seasons (1986, 1988 – 1995)
5 teams (TOR, KC, FLA, MON, SF)
31-32 record, 678.1 IP, 3.68 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 318 K:224 BB
*Blast From the Past is a feature dedicated to bringing back the memory of classic Jays from days past – the lesser known the better. If you have any suggestions please contact 500 Level Fan.