Category Archives: Blast From the Past

Blast From the Past – Rob Ducey

In honour of Canada Day yesterday, 500 Level Fan is going homegrown for this week’s edition of Blast From the Past.  Checking Wikipedia tells me that a total of 15 Canadians have suited up for the Blue Jays.  Though at one point or another in their careers some have been all-stars (Paul Quantrill), some have garnered MVP votes (Corey Koskie, Matt Stairs), and some have won World Series with the Jays (Rob Butler), no Canadian sticks out more than Rob Ducey.

Ducey grew up in Cambridge, and was signed by the Jays as an amateur free agent in 1984.  He hit minor league pitching fairly well from 1984-1987 (.286 with 58 HR) – well enough to make his major league debut on May 1, 1987.  Ducey started the game in LF, went 1/2 with an RBI and a SB, but was replaced by pinch hitter Garth Iorg in the 8th inning.

Unfortunately for Rob, being replaced was something that became common for him.  For the rest of his career he was nothing more than a bit player, a bench warmer, who played sparingly.  He stayed with the Blue Jays until the trade deadline of 1992, but only managed to play in 183 games (just over 30 per season) as he was constantly overlooked by Jimy Williams, and sent back and forth to Syracuse.  Ducey also met the same fate on the other teams he played for in the majors.  His personal high for games played came in 2000 as a member of the Phillies (112).

Rob had quite a tour of the league during his career, playing for a total of six franchises, and even made a two year stop in Japan to play for the Nippon Ham Fighters in 1995 and 1996.  At least he can say he was well traveled.

But forget the playing time and his statistics.  The greatest thing about Ducey’s time with the Jays was when he was traded.  The first time he was dealt came at the deadline in 1992.  Ducey and Greg Myers were sent to the California Angels as Toronto re-acquired the great Mark Eichhorn.  Eichhorn would star in the bullpen and help the Jays win back-to-back World Series.  Ducey, sadly, missed out.

However, in 2000 Ducey was involved in possibly the strangest trade sequence in history.  On July 26th he was traded from Philadelphia back to Toronto for a player to be named later.  He suited up for five games with the Jays and hit .154.  Then on August 5th Toronto acquired Mickey Morandini from Philadelphia for a player to be named later.  Two days later, August 7th, the player to be named later became Rob Ducey.  He was essentially traded for himself.

But Ducey is loved in this area not so much for his minimal contribution to the Toronto Blue Jays on the field, but for his love of his country.  He became the first Canadian to play for both the Blue Jays and the Expos.  He was a member of the 2004 Canadian Olympic baseball team in Athens that finished fourth.  He was part of Canada’s coaching staff at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, a team that finished a disappointing sixth.  He also served on Canada’s coaching staff at the 2006 World Baseball Classic.

So despite whatever struggles he may have had on the field, despite his bouncy and uneven career path, and despite the fact that he was let go by Alex Anthopoulos as a Blue Jay scout in 2009, Rob Ducey is saluted here today for the one thing all Jays fans can be proud of him for: his Canadian-ness.

Happy Canada Day Rob.

Rob Ducey: Career Major League Statistics

13 seasons (1987 – 1994, 1997 – 2001)

6 teams (TOR, CAL, TEX, SEA, PHI, MON)

.242 average, 31 HR, 146 RBI, 190 R, 22 SB, .726 OPS

*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.

Blast From the Past – Doug Linton

If you are a fan of the Blue Jays teams from the glory years – the World Series years of ’92 and ’93 – there is a very good chance you remember Doug Linton.  If you didn’t follow the Jays at that time, well you’re likely out of luck.  Linton was one of the rare Blue Jays who had not one, but two separate cup-of-coffee stints with the club – 31 appearances (mainly out of the bullpen) in 1992/1993, and seven more relief appearances in 2003.  Unfortunately for him, he did not fare well.

Doug was selected by the Jays in the 43rd round of the 1986 draft and toiled in Toronto’s minor league system for parts of six seasons before making his major league debut with the Jays on August 3, 1992.  He came in from the bullpen in Boston’s Fenway Park, and had a succesful outing – 3.2 IP, 1 ER, 1 BB, and 4 K’s.  In fact, his first three relief appearances were so good (10 IP, 2 ER, 1.80 ERA, 10 K’s), that the Jays actually moved him into the rotation.  He made his first major league start on August 13th against the Baltimore Orioles and dominated – 8 IP, 2 ER, 4 K’s, while picking up his first career major league victory.  Things were looking good for Linton.  The Jays had found another ace!

But just as soon as he appeared, he blew up.  Figuratively of course, though if he literally blew up it might have saved the Jays a few losses.  He made two more abysmal starts before being demoted back to the bullpen, and then was absolutely demolished in relief by the Brewers (6 ER in 0.1 IP).  One more relief appearance was all she wrote for Linton in ’92.  He was promptly demoted back to AAA Syracuse – rotten timing as he missed the World Series victory.  But if you were Pat Gillick what would you do?  In his final four appearances for the Jays Linton stunk.  Badly.  2 starts, 2 relief appearances, 6 IP, 19 ER, 11 BB to 2 K, 3 HR allowed, for an 0-2 record, 28.50 ERA, 5.17 WHIP, and a .571 batting average against.  Think about that: opposing batters hit .571 against him!  Incredible!

Linton popped back up in 1993 with the Jays, making four appearances (0-1, 6.55 ERA) before somehow being claimed on waivers by the Angels.  In 2003 he came back to the Jays and actually was fairly effective for the month of April, but was eventually deemed superfluous and sent back down to Syracuse.  Again.

But as I have said before, I will say again – there is more to a major league player than the numbers he puts up.  This rings true for Linton.  Two things stand out about him.  The first is that Doug Linton is the definition of a journeyman ball player.  He made his professional debut in 1987 at single-A Myrtle Beach, and over the next 17 seasons bounced around a ton.  Linton played for:

– 4 different professional levels (A, AA, AAA, MLB)

– 11 different minor league teams (Myrtle Beach, Knoxville, Dunedin, Syracuse, Norfolk, Omaha, Salt Lake, Rochester, Colorado Springs, Richmond, Wichita)

– 5 different major league teams (Toronto, California, NY Mets, Kansas City, Baltimore)

He was even a member of two teams that released him before spring training even ended – the Yankees in 1998, and the Dodgers in 2001.  Tough luck.

The second thing that stands out about Doug Linton was the very first thing I noticed about him in 1992 when I was 13 years old.  He did not have sideburns.  No stubble, no faint trace of a sideburn – nothing.  His hair was cleanly shaved above his ear.  Not only did it look unnatural, it looked ridiculous.  I was able to find a photo of a sideburn free Linton (looking rather dorky) on checkoutmycards.com.  Judge for yourself:

The Doug Linton story is tough to tell due to his many failures, but it does have a happy ending.  Despite his horrendous major league pitching statistics, Linton has found work and remains in baseball as the pitching coach of the AAA Colorado Springs Sky Sox, minor league affiliate of the C0lorado Rockies.

There you have it.  Doug Linton – Blue Jay legend.

Doug Linton: Career Major League Statistics

7 seasons (1992 – 1996, 1999, 2003)

5 teams (TOR, CAL, NYM, KC, BAL)

17-20 record, 305.1 IP, 5.78 ERA, 1.59 WHIP, 206 K:125 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.

Blast From the Past – Glenallen Hill

After receiving a reader request last week for one of the most obscure Blue Jays of all time Dave Revering, 500 Level Fan received another reader request for a profile of a slightly more well known Jay – Glenallen Hill.

I’ll be honest: for the Revering article I struggled mightily for material.  It was a challenge to write something long enough that was worthwhile to post.  With Hill I have an equal but opposite challenge.  He has a virtual gold mine of material.

Glenallen Hill was an original Pat Gillick draft pick, a 9th round (219th overall) choice in the 1983 draft.  After a few years in the minor league system he made his MLB debut July 31, 1989 going 2 for 3 against the Yankees.  Unfortunately for Hill, he only found his way into 19 games that season, and never really became a full time player in Toronto (138 total games spread across three seasons).  At the trade deadline of ’91 he was shipped to Cleveland with Mark Whiten and Denis Boucher, for knuckleball pitcher Tom Candiotti and the whitest man in the history of baseball Turner Ward.

Hill bounced around with several teams the rest of his career, and actually enjoyed a few very productive seasons.  In 1995 with San Francisco he hit .264 with 24 HR,  86 RBI, and 25 SB – a 20/20 season.  In 2000 he was dealt at the deadline again, this time from the Cubs to the Yankees, and hit a combined .293 with 27 HR for both teams.  He even won himself a World Series ring that year as the Yankees beat the Mets in the Subway Series – though his total contribution of 0 for 3 in the Series didn’t really help.

In fact, when you look at Glenallen Hill, it isn’t the stats that stand out.  Sure he lasted 13 seasons, hit 186 HR, stole 96 bases, and knocked in 586 runs.  Sure he made the playoffs three different seasons with three different clubs (though his career postseason average of .074 – 2 for 27 with no extra base hits – tells you how little he contributed).  But the career of Glenallen Hill, and his true specialties, lie beyond the numbers.

Defense

To put it bluntly: Glenallen Hill sucked in the field.  He was horrendous, atrocious, miserable, you name it.  The “Apperances on Leader Boards” section of his baseball reference page shows him finishing in the top-5 in errors committed on five separate occasions (1992 and 1998 as a LF, and 1995-1997 as a RF), and ranks him 58th on the all time list in errors by a RF.   His career fielding percentage was a vomit-inducing .964 and an advanced stat called Total Fielding Runs Above Average was -33 for his career (meaning his defense actually cost his teams 33 runs).

But like I said, you can’t judge everything by the numbers.  Even the plays he made lacked flair, confidence, and style.  Wikipedia mentions that his nickname during his playing days was The Juggler, because even when trying to field balls cleanly he would bobble them.  Bryan Price, a former Mariners pitching coach, is said that watching Glenallen play defense was “akin to watching a gaffed haddock surface for air.”  Not exactly sure what that means, but you get the point. 

He stunk.

Intelligence

Don’t get me wrong – nobody will ever confuse Hill with Einstein or Edison.  Despite my best efforts I was unable to find out his IQ, his school marks, or his general knowledge level or aptitude.  But on the field, though he often got in his own way, he had a baseball sense that goes beyond normal.  One night in particular higlights what I’m talking about.

Against Detroit one night during his days with the Indians, Hill found himself on first when a commotion began in the outfield.  While players, fans, and umpires alike were focused on the disturbance, Hill nonchalantly walked to second base and stood as if he had always been there.  When play resumed, somehow nobody noticed what happened.  Hill remained on second.  The play became known as the Phantom Steal and Glenallen Hill entered baseball legend.  A brilliant man.

Arachnophobia

For all that Glenallen Hill accomplished in his career, or in his entire life for that matter, he will forever be remembered for an incident during his stay with the Jays.  His intense fear of spiders landed him on the 15-day DL.

The story has it that Hill had such a terrifying dream about being covered in spiders that he fell out of bed, into a glass table, and down a staircase.  The bumps, cuts, and bruises he suffered were severe enough to disable him for a few weeks.  Judging by his stats for the remainder of his days in a Blue Jays uniform he never recovered.  He did earn a pretty cool nickname though (aside from the Juggler) – Spiderman.

So there you have it.  The life and times of Glenallen Hill.  For those of you who loved him and miss him, fear not.  He spends his time today as a first base coach for the Colorado Rockies, a team Toronto had the pleasure of playing just last week.  Seeing his beautiful face on TV again was enough to make any Jays fan smile. 

Ladies and gentlemen, friends and enemies, the Juggler and the Spiderman, Glenallen Hill.

Glenallen Hill: Career Major League Statistics

13 seasons (1989 – 2001)

7 teams (TOR, CLE, CHC, SF, SEA, NYY, ANA)

.271 average, 186 HR, 586 RBI, 528 R, 96 SB, .804 OPS

*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.

Blast From the Past – Dave Revering

Before I being another trip down memory road, I have a confession to make.  I thought I was a massive Jays fan.  I thought I could name every player who ever donned the blue bird on their chest.  Though it breaks my heart a little, I’m not ashamed to admit it: I was wrong.  I have never heard of Dave Revering.

Today’s edition of Blast From the Past comes at the request of one of 500 Level Fan’s dedicated followers, and future groom, Professor Sauny.  In his email to fivehundredlevelfan@gmail.com, Sauny asked for a profile on a man he believes is a true baseball coward, Dave Revering.  At first I ignored it, but after a bit of research I determined that Mr. Revering was indeed an actual player for our Toronto Blue Jays.

But not recognizing the name can not be viewed as a huge miss.  Revering was a member of the Jays for only a portion of the 1982 season.  In and out faster than you can spell his last name. 

He was drafted in the 7th round of the 1971 draft by the Cincinnati Reds, and toiled in the minor leagues until 1977.  It was at that time that Revering made his greatest impact on the game. 

The Oakland A’s were a powerhouse in the early to mid-’70’s, winning three straight World Series titles from 1972-1974, and five straight AL West division titles from 1971-1975.  However, the A’s lost star pitcher Catfish Hunter to free agency in 1976, so angering flamboyant owner Charlie Finley that he decided to destroy his own team.  Unfortunately for him, several trades were vetoed by baseball commissioner Bowie Kuhn, using the “best interests in baseball” act.  One such trade would have seen all star pitcher Vida Blue traded to Cincinnati for $1.75 million and Dave Revering.

He eventually was traded to Oakland, and actually had three productive years there (1978-1980).  But then the wheels came off.  In 1981 he was traded to the Yankees, then in ’82 he was sent with Jeff Reynolds and Tom Dodd to the Jays for John Mayberry. 

The ’82 Jays finished 6th in the AL East with a record of 78-84, and they did it with very little assistance from Revering.  Splitting time at DH with such notable Blue Jay legends Wayne Nordhagen, Glenn Adams, and Otto Velez, Revering took part in 55 games.  His stats were quite poor for a designated hitter: .215 average, .691 OPS, 5 HR, 18 RBI, 0 SB and 3 caught stealing. 

Toronto released him mid-season.  He was picked up by Seattle, stunk badly for 29 more games, then was promptly released again, ending his major league career in futility.  Though he made very little impact on the fans, on the team, and on the city of Toronto, Dave Revering still deserves to be recognized for his contribution to Blue Jays history.

For that, 500 Level Fan salutes you Dave Revering. 

Dave Revering: Career Major League Statistics

5 seasons (1978 – 1982)

4 teams (OAK, NYY, TOR, SEA)

.265 average, 62 HR, 234 RBI, 205 R, 2 SB, .748 OPS

*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.

Blast From the Past – Sil Campusano

Silvestre Diaz Campusano.  It is a beautiful name that rolls off the tongue.  Judging from the photo above, he was a beautiful man in his prime, with a glorious moustache.  He was born in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, a beautiful place for baseball players.

Unfortunately Sil Campusano did not play beautiful baseball.

Signed by the Jays as an amateur free agent in 1983, Sil went straight to the minor leagues in 1984.  He actually enjoyed a very productive season in ’85 split between single-A Florence and double-A Knoxville (.310 average, .510 SLG, 21 HR) that had people talking – or whispering – that he might be a potential replacement for George Bell.

But a replacement he was not.  He did nothing of any value in the minor leagues ever again, yet somehow his .210 average with a .258 slugging percentage, 0 HR and 0 RBI earned him a call-up to the big leagues.

Sil made his debut in 1988 and was terrifically bad.  He managed to last with Toronto for 73 games putting up numbers that must have made fans feel ill.  He did not hit for average (.218).  He did not hit for power (.641 OPS, 2 HR).  He did not get on base (.282 OBP, 9 walks in 158 plate appearances).  He showed no speed (o SB).  He struck out a lot (33 times, over 20% of his plate appearances).  And on top of it all he couldn’t field.  He played all three outfield positions making at least one error in each.  The only thing of interest on his baseball reference page is that he finished 5th in the AL in most errors committed as a centre fielder.  Amazing.

He was so bad that advanced baseball statistics (specifically wins above replacement (WAR)) give him a negative value, meaning any random minor league player was actually BETTER than Sil.  Poor guy.

But for some reason another team wanted him.  The Phillies claimed him in the Rule 5 draft in 1989, officially ending his career with the Blue Jays.  He played parts of two seasons with Philadelphia, and it was there that he enjoyed the crowning achievement of his career – breaking up a Doug Drabek no-hit bid with two outs in the ninth.

His final big league season was 1991, after which he rode off into the sunset.  While he succeeded in his native Dominican Republic and in China after his MLB days, he didn’t accomplish much during his brief stay at the top.  He never made the playoffs, he never contributed much to his teams, and sadly even in his post-playing days he can’t catch a break.  Campusano has quite possibly the worst Wikipedia write-up in history, ending with the words “he was a very happy player.”

With stats like he had, staying happy just might be his biggest accomplishment of all.

Sil Campusano: Career Major League Statistics

3 seasons (1988 – 1991)

2 teams (TOR, PHI)

.202 average, 5 HR, 23 RBI, 26 R, 1 SB, .584 OPS

*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.

Blast From the Past – Junior Felix

Junior Felix knew how to make a great first impression.  The Cat made his major league debut for Toronto on May 4th, 1989 and promptly swatted the first pitch he saw from Kirk McCaskill into the seats for a home run, becoming the 27th AL player to homer on his first at-bat, and only the 10th to do it on the first pitch.  He made news later that season by belting an inside-the-park grand slam at Fenway Park, leading the Jays to victory.  Yes, the Cat was taking Toronto by storm, and was even featured in one of the greatest films ever produced – Sky High: The Story of the 1989 Toronto Blue Jays.

When he made his debut in May of 1989, the Blue Jays were in the midst of a dismal start to the season, sitting 10-18 in 6th place in the AL East.  While many people point the finger at the hiring of Cito Gaston to replace Jimy Williams at the reason for the turnaround that season, don’t underestimate Mr. Felix.  His speed and versatility allowed Toronto to bat him lead-off or ninth, giving Cito numerous lineup options.  Sure the Jays had Whitt, McGriff, Fernandez, Gruber, Moseby, and Bell, but Junior Felix became the sparkplug that made the team run.  After his call-up to the bigs, the Jays finished the season on a 79-55 run to claim the division.

After a disappointing five game ALCS loss to Oakland, Felix was back in 1990.  He hit .263 with 15 HR, 65 RBI, and 13 SB and wrote his name further into Blue Jay folk lore by catching the final out of Dave Stieb’s no-hitter in September.  Felix the Cat t-shirts were selling like hot cakes in Toronto.  I was only 11 years old so my memory is foggy, but I’m sure that women were throwing themselves at him wherever he went.   It looked like there was a real chance that Junior might become a mainstay in the Blue Jay lineup for years to come. Continue reading Blast From the Past – Junior Felix

Blast From the Past – Jim Acker

To this day, Jim Acker remains my second favourite middle reliever in Blue Jays history.  Behind the beautiful and outstanding Mark Eichhorn, Acker holds a small piece of my heart all to himself.  Maybe it’s the beard, maybe it’s the ferocious stare, or maybe it’s just because I pity him for the way his career unfolded.  Either way, the Ack played an integral part in both the Blue Jay glory era, and my childhood.

Acker actually enjoyed two different tours of duty with Toronto.  After being selected in the first round of the draft by Atlanta, the Jays stole him in the Rule 5 draft in 1982.  From 1983 – 1986 he was a key member of the Blue Jay bullpen, helping them capture their first ever AL East division title in 1985.  He didn’t really have a set role on that club, but contributed in so many ways – 7-2 record, 3.23 ERA, 10 saves, best facial hair, and worst control (43 walks to 42 strikeouts).

But despite all that, Toronto broke a piece of my heart by dealing Acker back to Atlanta midway through ’86.  While my heart eventually healed (helped a lot by Mr. Eichhorn), it didn’t come fully back until the trade deadline of 1989 when Acker was re-acquired for Tony Castillo and Francisco Cabrera.  He dominated down the stretch (1.59 ERA, 24 K in 28.1 IP), and propelled Toronto to their second playoff appearance.  Continue reading Blast From the Past – Jim Acker

Blast From the Past – Mike Maksudian

Who is Mike Maksudian?  Unless you were a die-hard fan in the early ‘90’s you probably have no idea.  Maksudian was a very, very, very spare part on the Jays first World Series winning team in 1992. 

Selected by the Jays in the 1989 minor league draft, he actually enjoyed a fairly productive minor league career in the Blue Jays system.  In three seasons with Knoxville and Syracuse the catcher put together a .282 average with 27 HR, enough to earn a spot as a September call-up to Toronto.  With Pat Borders, Randy Knorr, and Greg Myers already on the roster, Maksudian was delegated to bullpen catcher, and made his major league debut at 1B on September 2. 

He left the Jays on October 26, 1992, claimed on waivers by the Twins.  His career stat line with Toronto was not quite enough to make Toronto’s Level of Excellence: .000 AVG / 0 HR / 0 RBI / 0 R / 0 SB / 3 AB.  Yet, despite those numbers, Mike Maksudian earned a World Series ring for his role in 1992. Continue reading Blast From the Past – Mike Maksudian