When I heard that Eric Lindros was being inducted into the Hall of Fame today I assumed it must have been a mistake. Cooperstown already welcomed the class of 2016 this past July, so I am a little perplexed as to where the former Blue Jay is being honoured.
Born in London, Ontario in 1973, Lindros was first showcased with the Blue Jays when he was featured on a baseball card for Score’s 1990 series. Listed as a third baseman, he was touted as a power hitter. According to the card, he batted over .400 in high school and given his physical specs, 6’4″ and 220 pounds, it’s no wonder that the Blue Jays offered him a tryout. One scout reportedly said that Lindros was “an unknown quantity right now because he’s so inexperienced [but] he has all the tools to make it big.”
But that’s when Lindros’ story with the Blue Jays becomes muddled. In reviewing the 1990 statistics and beyond, it appears as though he never appeared in a game for Toronto. There’s also no indication that Lindros suited up for any of the Jays’ minor league farm teams either. There’s no record of him playing Triple A ball in Syracuse or Double A in Knoxville. Even in Medicine Hat, Toronto’s rookie-level affiliate in the Pioneer League, there’s no trace of Lindros.
It turns out that Lindros wasn’t playing baseball because he was something of a hockey player. Not long after appearing on that baseball card, he was selected first overall by the Quebec Nordiques in the 1991 NHL Entry Draft. The selection was not without controversy, however, as Lindros refused to report to his club and was eventually traded to the Flyers.
While his story in the NHL is not well known, Lindros established himself as a dominant power forward with an impressive scoring touch. In his first four seasons with the Flyers, he racked up 161 goals. His production, however, was later derailed by a series of concussions that he suffered throughout his career. After moving on from Broad Street, Lindros had stints with the Rangers, Maple Leafs, and Stars before retiring in 2007.
Although he was a polarizing figure in the league during and after his playing days, it turns out that Lindros will be inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame today. While we will never know what kind of baseball player Lindros would have become or how he would’ve fared for the Blue Jays, it seems as though he made the right choice in pursuing a career in hockey.