Since joining the American League in 1977, the Toronto Blue Jays have established themselves as a formidable franchise by winning championships and by providing their fans with some of the most memorable moments in baseball history. They are the only team outside the US to win a World Series and are currently the only Canadian team in Major League Baseball.
The Blue Jays played in their first game on April 7, 1977, in front of 44,649 fans. A snowstorm began just before the start of the game, and Toronto ended up winning the snowy affair 9-5 behind two home runs from Doug Ault.
Toronto’s opening day win in 1977 was one of few tastes of success Toronto had that year, as they would go on to win just 54 games. Their 54-107 record was good enough for last place in the AL East division.
Toronto saw their record slowly improve as time went on, although they remained in last place for the next five seasons. It wasn’t until Bobby Cox was hired to manage the team in 1982 that they finished better than seventh place in the seven-team division. With a 78-84 record in 1982, the Blue Jays finished the season in sixth place.
In 1983 Toronto had their first winning record. They went 89-73, which was good enough for fourth place. They had an identical record the following season but it was good enough for second place that year.
The 1985 season was the first truly successful one for the Blue Jays. They won 99 games, the most wins in franchise history to this day. With a first place finish in the AL East, they qualified for the playoffs and faced the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS. They went up 3 games to 1 in the best of seven series, but Kansas City won the last three games to advance to the World Series. It was the first season that the league instituted the best of seven format for the ALCS; in previous years it was a best of five series.
The Blue Jays went into their most successful five-year stretch to date beginning in 1989. That same season, they moved to the SkyDome. After a slow start to 1989, Toronto replaced manager Jimmy Williams with Cito Gaston and saw their record improve dramatically. Their 89-73 record was good enough for their second division title. They would lose again in the ALCS, however, in a 4 games to 1 series versus the Oakland Athletics.
Toronto would finish in second place the following season before winning three straight division titles from 1991 to 1993. They lost to the Minnesota Twins in the 1991 ALCS. Their team was remarkably successful in terms of fan interest that season. They became the first major league team to draw 4 million fans in a season.
The next two years were unquestionably the best for the franchise in their history. They were finally able to make it past the ALCS in both seasons, beating the Oakland A’s in 1992 and the Chicago White Sox in 1993. They were successful in both trips to the World Series and became the first team to repeat as champions since the New York Yankees in 1977-1978.
The 1993 World Series was particularly remarkable given the way it ended. Toronto had a 3-2 lead over Philadelphia going into Game 6 and built up a 5-1 lead before Philadelphia scored five runs in the seventh to take the lead at 6-5. With two men on in the bottom of the ninth with one out and trailing by one run, Joe Carter hit a three-run, walk-off home run that ended the series. It was just the second time in history that a World Series ended on a game-winning home run.
Since winning back-to-back World Series titles in the early 90s, Toronto has not returned to the post season. They have been a regular occupant of the third place spot in the AL East behind the consistently dominant New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. Since 1994, Toronto has finished in third place in the AL East nine times. From 1998 to 2003, Toronto finished in third place every year.
They are off to a strong start in 2010 but continue to face the challenge of playing in arguably the toughest division in the majors. They are 31-22 through their first 53 games and trail the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees by 2.5 and 3.5 games respectively. Their powerful offense has been tremendous this season, leading the majors with 89 home runs (20 more than second place Boston) and a .472 slugging percentage.
About the Author
Riley Simmons writes reviews on various sporting events including the different sportsbook websites. In this piece of write up, the author highlights on some of legends of MLB and MLB Betting odds. The author also takes the readers thought on how to bet on baseball.