We have a couple of birthdays today.
Today is the 58th birthday of Prince Fielder’s dad, Cecil.
I wonder if Prince will send him a card? I read that they weren’t really close, some problems because of Cecil’s treatment of Prince’s mother. Cecil was a similar player to Prince, both big racket types. Prince was the better player, but Cecil himself wasn’t bad.
The Jays have Cecil in the trade with the Royals to the Leon Robertsbut unfortunately for Cecil he came around the same time as Fred McGriff, and Fred was the better player. The Jays had a lot of DH types too, so Cecil got into some games in 85 and 86 and then was the platoon DH in 87 and 88.
He had his best year with the Jays in 1987, beating .269 / .345 / .560 in 175 at-bats over 82 games. That season he reached 14 home runs. Then in 1988, in roughly the same number of at-bats, he hit .230 / .289 / .431 with 9 homers. Seeing that he wasn’t going to get any playing time with the Jays, Cecil signed with the Hanshin Tiger in Japan and played there for a year before becoming a free agent with the Detroit Tigers.
He had his best seasons with the Tigers, who scored 284 home runs over the next seven seasons. In 1990, his first season with the Tigers, he scored 51 home runs and finished second in the MVP vote. He also finished second the following season when he hit 44 homers.
Next he went to the Yankees from Detroit, then that Angel and Cleveland for his final season at age 34. Saying he’s a great man doesn’t do him justice. He was pretty round, more or less built like Prince.
He was never your average hitter, peaking at .277 in 1990. His career average was .255 but when he hit he hit the ball a mile. He finished his career with 319 homers. He took a walk when offered and had a decent base, but his job was to drive runs and he did well. He had five seasons with over 100 RBIs and raced in 132, 133, 124 and 117 from 1990 to 1993.
It came at the wrong time for the Jays. He wasn’t the player Fred McGriff was, and his size and poor stamina didn’t make him popular on the team. But the Tigers could overlook that and got a goddamn player for seven years.
Today is Danny Cox’s 62nd birthday.
Danny got into the majors with that St. Louis Cardinalsto play for her for the first six years of his career. He had a couple of great seasons as a starting pitcher for them, going 18-9 with a 2.88 ERA in 1985 and then 12-13 with a 2.90 ERA in 1986, but he threw 461 innings between the two seasons. Unsurprisingly, that number of innings later resulted in elbow problems. As a result, he missed the entire 1989 and 1990 seasons. He made it back to the majors in 1991 Phillies but it was no longer the jug it had been before the arm ailments.
The Jays hired him as a free agent and made him a reliever in 1993. In our second season of the World Series, Danny was an integral part of our bullpen, going 7-6 with a 3.12 ERA in 44 games. He got 5 shutout innings in our ALCS win over that White socks. He had a tough foray in Game 6 of the World Series against the Phillies as he was part of a 5-run 7th Phillies innings that finished the Phillies 6-5. But that only got Joe Carter to get the most significant home run in Jays history so we could forgive him.
Danny’s arm ailments recurred for the next two seasons, and he wasn’t that good. So 1995 was his last season in the majors. After his retirement he worked as a minor league manager and pitching coach.
Happy birthday Danny.
Brian Tallet turns 44 today.
Tallet played nine seasons in the majors. Well, parts of nine. Three or four of those were full seasons in the majors. Six of the nine seasons were with the Jays.
As Blue Jay, he played 215 games with 31 starts. He had a 4.75 ERA.
We traded Tallet from Cleveland in January 2006 for Bubbie Buzachero (an 80s baseball name but sadly it never made it into the majors, I’d love to hear Buck say his name).
In 2006 we used him as a left-hander from the bullpen. Manager John Gibbons didn’t just use it as a LOOGY. He hit 2 innings or more in 10 games and more than one inning in 16 games. He was pretty valuable, coming in 44 games with a 3.81 ERA, 3 wins and 4 holds. Gibby mainly used it to lose efforts.
He had the same role in 2007, putting up an ERA of 3.47 in 48 games. Again pitching several innings often, mostly used again when we were back. In 2008, he had a 2.88 ERA in 51 games.
He was pretty much the third or fourth left-handed in our enclosure. We had BJ Ryan, Scott Downs, and Jesse Carlson (a favorite of mine) so rarely got into high leverage situations.
In 2009 he started the season in the bullpen, but was in rotation at the end of April. We tried a lot of guys in the rotation this year. Roy Halladay and Ricky Romero directed the rotation. Aside from those two, we’ve had a lot of people with ERAs over 5 doing multiple launches. Tallet made 25 starts and 12 relief appearances. As a starter, he had a 5.41 ERA with a 7-8 record.
The following year he was back in the pen and played 34 games with 5 starts and a 5.32 ERA.
Brian became a free agent after the 2010 season and signed with the Cardinals. He played there for half a season and then came back to us in a multiplayer trade. The big name that came to Toronto was Colby Rasmus, were on their way to St. Louis Octavio Dotel, Edwin Jackson, Corey Patterson, and Marc Rzepczynski. The Cardinals were on their way to the playoffs and needed Bullpen help. The Jays were on their way to fourth place and wanted a player with offensive advantages. Tallet and another jug PJ Walters were interjections to fill out our pitching team.
The Jays released Tallet in September. He would go to the padres and Pirates but not again in the majors.
We think he’s an innings eater, but he’s been pretty good for his first three seasons on the team. We had a stacked bullpen and it couldn’t work its way into a high leverage area.
Happy birthday Brian.
Jeremy Jeffress turns 34 today.
Jeffress has played in the majors for 11 seasons. He’s had a few good years (27 saves for the brewer in 2016, and he had a 1.29 ERA in 73 appearances for the Brewers last year) and some less than good seasons where his excellent “stuff” failed to overcome his inability to find the strike zone.
He was a Blue Jay for a short time. We picked him up before the 2013 season and DFA a few days after the 2014 season started (Team DFA picked him up for Chad Jenkinswhich, if you look at their careers, was a huge mistake). He granted waivers, but opted for freedom of action and did well. I felt like the Jays gave up on him too quickly, but then I’m impressed with guys who can throw 100 mph.
He raised in 13 games, with 3.29 ERA, 13.2 innings, 16 hits, 8 walks and 16 strikeouts.
Career Jeffress has a 3.08 ERA in 414 games. In 424.1 innings, he has allowed 377 hits, 163 walks and 370 strikeouts.
Prior to that season, he signed with the Nationals, but was fired before the start of the season.
We interviewed Jeremy here and talked to his agent Joshua Kusnick Here. His agent is a friend of the site.
Happy birthday Jeremy.