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Photo Credit: MLB Archives

Throwback Thursday: Litsch’s Start, Cito’s Promotion, Odor’s Punch, And Lawrie’s Helmet Throw

Bored?! Here’s a bunch of cool and random stuff that happened between May 11th and 18th in Blue Jays history!

May 12, 2001: Carlos Delgado hit his 204th home run as a Blue Jay, passing Joe Carter for top spot on the franchise’s all-time leaderboard. He ended his Blue Jays career with 336 homers before leaving the team as a free agent in 2005 to sign as with the Florida Marlins. Delgado’s 336 home runs is still the best in franchise history by quite a wide margin. The next closest? Jose Bautista, of course. Jose has 270 homers and probably won’t be breaking Delgado’s record. I can’t find a video of Delgado’s homer from 2001, so here’s one of him hitting four in a game in 2003 instead.

 

May 12, 2008: What’s more uncommon than a perfect game, a hit for the cycle, OR four damn homers in one game? An unassisted triple play! The 2008 Blue Jays managed to fuck up so hard that Asdrubal Cabrera was able to record three outs all on his own. Cliff Lee was pitching for Cleveland, and he got Adam Lind to line out to Cabrera who stepped on second to force out Kevin Mench (?!!??) and then tagged Marco Scutaro who was, uh, I don’t know.

A few notes…

Those black jerseys sucked, wow. The team’s new uniforms are easy enough to appreciate at the best of times, but when you flashback and see those monstrosities, you realize how much better things are now. Damn, no wonder these teams never made the playoffs. You can’t play in October wearing that nonsense.

Also, the Jays ended up winning that game 3-0 thanks to eight shutout innings from Shawn Marcum and a 10th inning rally that featured a Matt Stairs single, a Lyle Overbay single, a Gregg Zaun sac bunt (lololol), a Brad Wilkerson (???) intentional walk, a Shannon Stewart (!!!) sac fly, and an Aaron Hill two-RBI single. This team ended up going 86-76 that year, but had a Pythagorean record of 93-69. The AL Beast, man.

May 15th, 1989: The Blue Jays fired manager Jimy Williams after an inexplicably bad 12-24 start and promoted hitting coach Cito Gaston into the role. As we know, our good pal Cito went on to lead the Jays to the playoffs that season, as the team went 77-49 to finish the season with him at the helm, and then won two World Series championships in 1992 and 1993. Cito came back in 2008 to manage that frustrating team I mentioned above (after John Gibbons’ first tenure with the team came to an end) and managed them for three seasons before retiring at the end of 2010.

May 15th, 2007: This happened 10 years ago?! What the hell? Jesse Litsch made his first career start against the Orioles on May 15th, 2007, coming within one out of becoming the first Blue Jay to throw a complete game in his debut. I can actually pretty vividly remember watching this. Litsch cruised after allowing a run in the first all the way to the ninth where, with two outs, he walked Miguel Tejada and was pulled by Gibby. Jeremy Accardo came into the game in relief and damn near blew it, allowing a single before getting Aubrey Huff to ground out. The final line for Litsch was 8 2/3 IP, one run, four hits, three walks, and one strikeout.

Litsch was great in 2007 and 2008 and turned into a big time fan favourite, but had to have Tommy John in 2009 and his career fell off a cliff. Sadly for him, the last pitch he ever threw at the Major League level was a home run to Kelly Shoppach at Tropicana Field.

May 15th, 2016: Some fucking idiot who plays for a team that can’t do anything in the playoffs to save its life got real pissy and waited until the last of seven games in little over two weeks to do something about it. Yeah, yeah, yeah, this. We’ve already been through it all week, but Roghned Odor’s punch happened a year ago. Rangers fans really rallied behind it, because, well, what the hell else are they going to get excited about from their franchise’s history? The Jays went on to sweep the Rangers in the ALDS, with the exclamation point coming on an error from Odor on the game-winning play.

May 17th, 1992: The Blue Jays become the fastest team ever to draw 1,000,000 fans to the ballpark. It only took them 21 dates to break the record previously held by the 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers and 1991 Blue Jays. What to gain from this? Toronto likes teams that are good. If the team is good, the fans will come to the games. Woah!

May 16th/17th, 2012: Brett Lawrie chucked his goddamn helmet at an umpire and was subsequently suspended for four games. The next day, in Lawrie’s absence, Yan Gomes became the first-ever Brazilian player to play a game in the major leagues, filling in at third base. Gomes was dealt to Cleveland that winter for Esmil Rogers, and went on to become weirdly good. The past few seasons, though, his production has massively declined due to various injuries.