Toronto Blue Jays 1993 vs 2015: Dare We Compare?
As the Toronto Blue Jays march towards the postseason for the first time since 1993, they’ve not only captured the hearts of Toronto fans but also those from across Canada. The stadium is once again full to the brim, Blue Jay hats are everywhere and, for the first time since the early ’90s, everyone’s talking baseball – not hockey – in the first week of October.
Thanks to their scintillating season, it’s only natural for older fans to make comparisons with the famed 1993 squad that captured the World Series on Joe Carter’s walk-off home run – and ask: how does this year’s team match up against the champs from ’93?
Obviously, to accurately answer that question, we’ll have to wait and see what unfolds in the postseason. Until then, let’s compare the two teams on a position-by-position basis, a fun but highly flawed and completely unscientific formula that’s guaranteed to drive the stat-heads crazy.
1993: Cito Gaston
2015: John Gibbons
Head-to-head: Despite the fact both hail from San Antonio, TX, these two skippers could not be more unalike. Cito was a quiet man whose old-school management style perfectly suited a team stocked with veteran all-stars. Gibbons, on the other hand, is a talkative and cheerful chap, who gets along with young players and makes more in-game moves than Gaston.
Edge: Gaston takes this one. He guided the Jays to two World Series – Gibbons had never managed a .500 team until this year.
1993: Pat Borders
2015: Russell Martin
Head-to-head: The Canadian-born Martin is a superb defensive catcher who can hit for power and ably handles a pitching staff. Despite his surprise showing in the 1992 World Series – when he captured the MVP – Borders was no more than a journeyman catcher.
Edge: Martin without an argument.
1993: Ed Sprague
2015: Josh Donaldson
Head-to-head: Donaldson is coming off a career season that will likely see him crowned AL MVP. He hits for average and power, fields his position well and was an important clubhouse leader. Sprague, meanwhile, was a decent player who had a mostly forgettable tenure with the team.
Edge: Donaldson wins this by a landslide.
1993: Tony Fernandez
2015: Troy Tulowitzki
Head-to-head: Fernandez was a sight to behold on the field and could hit for average, if not power. Tulowitzki matches Fernandez on defence, hits for more power and has the better eye.
Edge: I loved Tony but must grudgingly award this to Tulo.
1993: Devon White
2015: Kevin Pillar
Head-to-head: White was one of the best defensive centre-fielders of his era and could hit for power and steal a base. Pillar, while an excellent defender, is still struggling to find his stroke at the plate.
Edge: Devo, with better range and more power, takes it.
1993: Joe Carter
2015: Jose Bautista
Head-to-head: Carter hit for power and was an RBI machine. Bautista hits more homers, drives in as many runs, takes more walks, is a better fielder with a much better arm.
Edge: While it’s hard not to choose the biggest hero in Blue Jays’ history, Joey Bats is the better player.
1993: Juan Guzman, Pat Hentgen, Todd Stottlemyre, Dave Stewart, Jack Morris
2015: David Price, Marcus Stroman, R.A. Dickey, Marco Estrada, Mark Buehrle
Head-to-head: This one’s tough. While the 1993 staff had Morris and Stewart – grizzled post-season stars – 2015’s team has David Price, a true ace that they might be able to ride through the playoffs, similar to how the San Francisco Giants won last year by relying heavily on their ace, Madison Bumgarner.
Edge: If Price can continue to pitch as he did in the regular season, we’ll give it to the 2015 staff.
1993: Duane Ward
2015: Roberto Ossuna
Head-to-head: Ossuna had a breakout rookie season as the Jays’ closer. He is, however, only 20 years old and might wilt in the playoff spotlight. Ward, on the other hand, was basically unhittable in his two trips to the World Series.
Edge: Ward, until proven otherwise.