Best Blue Jays Players Of All Time: Top 5 Legendary Toronto Athletes, According To Sports Fans

Toronto is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and it’s Canada’s largest city. Toronto is known for its lovely architecture, expansive green spaces and parks, and its passionate sports fans who love rooting for the Toronto Raptors and Blue Jays. The Blue Jays are the only Canadian team in Major League Baseball (MLB) and the team has been playing in the city since 1977. Today’s MLB fans might not remember that the Blue Jays quietly won back-to-back World Series titles in the early ’90s. With such a rich history and a growing list of excellent players, it’s fun to debate which players are considered the best Blue Jays players of all time. 

Speaking of excellent players, a recent study found that sports fans prefer championship teams comprised of ‘homegrown’ or drafted players. Researchers from the University of Kansas surveyed 1,500 Americans to find that the majority of sports fans prefer teams that succeed with drafted or ‘homegrown’ players over teams constructed primarily of high-profile, expensive free agents. Of course, there’s a school of thought in professional sports that the best teams are comprised of a combination of both drafted players and key free-agent acquisitions. There’s nothing quite like gathering with friends at the nearest sports bar and cheering for the players you watched on draft night. 

However, according to a recent study, sports bars might just be going extinct. A poll of 500 sports fans found 80 percent of those between 18 and 26 will typically watch sports on their mobile phone while out and about. Of those Gen Zers who generally consume games on their phone, 54 percent say it’s more accessible than other devices while a further 38 percent claim it’s how they access all their content. It also emerged that 74 percent of young adults get most of their sports content from social media – more than any other generation, with 65 percent of millennials doing this. This isn’t surprising news by any means. The advent of social media and society’s desire to access on-demand sports content both steer fans away from watching live sports contests at a set location other than the stadium or ballpark. Luckily, Toronto is a great city to visit in the summertime and catch a Blue Jays game in person. 

So, which Blue Jays players are the greatest in franchise history? StudyFinds did the research, consulting 10 sports and baseball-oriented websites in an effort to bring you the best Blue Jays players of all time. Our list comprises the five most frequently listed Blue Jays players from across these sites. Think we missed an all-time great? Feel free to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below! 

Toronto Blue Jays flag on a building
Toronto Blue Jays stadium entrance (Photo by Hugo Coulbouée on Unsplash)

The List: Best Blue Jays Players, According to Experts

1. Dave Stieb (1979-1992 & 1998)

Topping the list of the best Blue Jays players of all time is none other than legendary Jays pitcher Dave Stieb. Stieb pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays for more than 10 seasons, and he was one of the best pitchers in all of baseball during his time with the team. 

“The Blue Jays were founded in 1977, and you can make a case that Dave Stieb was their first superstar. Stieb was quickly an All-Star in his second season with Toronto in 1980, and never looked back. He was as consistent as they come, as he won at least 11 games in each year of the 80s except for 1986, and he almost never had an ERA come in above four runs. Stieb had several great seasons, but his two best were in 1982 (17-14, 3.25 ERA, 141 K, 1.20 WHIP) and 1985 (14-13, 2.48 ERA, 167 K, 1.14 WHIP), the latter of which saw him lead the league in ERA,” explains Clutch Points

Dave Stieb was the first star player for the Blue Jays franchise, and he’s beloved by fans in the city of Toronto. However, Stieb earned that ‘superstar’ monicker by being insanely productive on the mound. Stieb only won one ERA title but his career averages are off the charts. 

“Pacing the Blue Jays in all-time WAR is right-hander Dave Stieb, who, for most of the 80s, was one of the top starting pitchers in the American League. Stieb pitched 15 seasons north of the border and is the Blue Jays franchise leader in wins, innings, strikeouts, complete games and shutouts. He represented Toronto in seven all-star games, led the league in innings twice, and won the ERA title in 1985,” writes Yardbarker

Stieb was a crafty and durable pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays of the 80s, and he comes from a generation of ballplayers that placed an emphasis on complete games. In all, Stieb pitched a staggering 103 complete games for the Toronto Blue Jays franchise. 

“While not the most dominant pitcher in Blue Jays history, Stieb is certainly on the inner circle of starting pitchers in franchise history. Across 15 years in Toronto, Stieb led baseball in ERA, ERA+, innings pitched, complete games and complete-game shutouts on at least one occasion. Stieb is the all-time franchise leader in wins, innings pitched, strikeouts, games started, complete games and complete-game shutouts,” adds Audacy

2. Roberto Alomar (1991-1995)

Roberto Alomar is one of the best second basemen in MLB history and he was an integral part of Toronto’s back-to-back World Series teams of the early ’90s

“In addition to his sterling defensive play, Alomar amassed 55 home runs, 206 stolen bases and a .307 average while playing for the Jays. Finally, he was a key cog for the 1992 and 1993 Toronto Blue Jays, leading the club to its back-to-back World Series championships. Great offensive play, outstanding defensive work, two World Series championships, and an induction to the Hall of Fame? No question about it—Alomar is the greatest Toronto Blue Jay of all time,” raves Bleacher Report

Roberto Alomar was a human defensive highlight reel. Alomar was good for at least one spectacular defensive play per series, and he was pretty much a shoo-in for the second base Gold Glove Award on a yearly basis. 

“One of the game’s premier all-round players, Alomar won the Gold Glove Award every year he was a Blue Jay — and then he won another five in his post-Toronto career. An All-Star for all five of his seasons in Toronto (and 12 straight overall), the native of Puerto Rico was absolutely integral to the Jays’ back-to-back World Series titles. Who could forget the series-changing ninth-inning home run he hit against the Oakland Athletics in Game 4 of the 1992 ALCS?,” notes Sporting News

If you’ve never watched Alomar’s game-winning home run from Game 4 of the 1992 American League Championship Series, then do yourself a favor and YouTube it. Alomar was a winner, and although he only played five seasons in Toronto, his winning ways rubbed off on the entire franchise. 

“Alomar only spent five seasons in Toronto, but he went into the Hall of Fame with a Blue Jays cap, making him the first player in Cooperstown as a member of the franchise. Alomar — who helped Toronto win back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and 1993 — had his No. 12 retired by the franchise in July of 2011,” explains Audacy

3. Roy Halladay (1998-2009)

Hurling his way into the third spot on the list of the best Blue Jays players of all time is Roy Halladay. Halladay was an absolute beast on the mound for the Blue Jays, and he’s widely regarded as one of the best draft picks in the history of the organization. 

“Righty Roy Halladay was Toronto’s first-round pick in 1995 out of a high school in Colorado, and just a few years later, it became obvious the Blue Jays nailed that pick. From the moment he was given a full-time slot in Toronto’s rotation, Halladay dominated, and if not for Stieb’s longevity in this organization, he’d own every major Jays pitching record. Halladay earned 148 victories in a Toronto uniform while pitching to a 3.43 ERA and leading the league in innings twice. He wore a Blue Jays uniform in six all-star games, had three different seasons where he threw nine complete games, and was the 2003 AL Cy Young winner,” explains Yardbarker

Roy Halladay was a large and imposing pitcher, and one can only imagine how intimidating it must have been to stand in the batter’s box against him. Halladay was a workhorse on the mound and a truly excellent person off of the baseball field.  

“At the end of Roy Halladay’s run with the Toronto Blue Jays, the 12-year Blue Jay took out a full-page newspaper ad, thanking Toronto fans for their support… Halladay meets the ‘top player’ criteria, having won the Cy Young and The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year Awards in 2003. He also easily fulfills the ‘best seasons as a Blue Jay’ criteria, having pitched more than 2,000 innings in Toronto and compiling a career WAR of 48.5—the second-highest mark in Toronto Blue Jays history. His 8.1 WAR in 2003 is the third-best mark in club history… In his 12 years in Toronto, Halladay posted excellent career averages: 3.47 FIP, 1.198 WHIP, 12 wins per season and an exemplary 3.29 K/BB ratio,” furthers Bleacher Report

Halladay went on to win a World Series with the Philadelphia Phillies, but his career was made during his time with Toronto Blue Jays. Sadly, the world lost Roy Halladay to a tragic plane crash, similar to the way we lost the great Roberto Clemente. Still, Roy ‘Doc’ Halladay will always be remembered as an all-time great Blue Jays player. 

“Halladay was the perfect mix of being dominant and a workhorse. In 12 seasons with the Blue Jays, Halladay finished in the top five in American League Cy Young Award voting on five occasions, winning the award in 2003. He also led the junior circuit in complete games five times. The most memorable moments of Halladay’s career may have come during his four seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies — which is partially why his Hall of Fame plaque has a blank cap — but the overwhelming majority of his production came in Toronto. The Blue Jays retired Doc’s No. 32 in March of 2018, less than six months after his tragic passing,” adds Audacy

4. Jose Bautista (2008-2017)

Next up on the list of the best Blue Jays players of all time is none other than the living legend, right fielder Jose Bautista. Bautista is a powerhouse, and his ability to hit timely home runs makes him one of the most dangerous hitters in MLB. 

“Since his unheralded arrival via trade in 2008, Jose Bautista has emerged as the current leader in the Toronto Blue Jays clubhouse. But leadership doesn’t get you to fourth on this all-time list. Bautista’s awards don’t quite compare with George Bell’s achievements. Bautista would likely trade in his Hank Aaron Awards and Silver Sluggers for an MVP. Who wouldn’t? But Bautista earns the fourth spot on this list because of his stunning statistical contributions. His 8.1 WAR in 2011 ranks as the best single-season position player WAR in Toronto Blue Jays history. What’s more, he is already third in career WAR, despite appearing in just over one-half of the plate appearances of Tony Fernandez and Carlos Delgado,” writes Bleacher Report

Jose Bautista didn’t really find his place in MLB until he was traded to the Blue Jays in 2008. Up until that time, Bautista was a decent player, but after joining the Jays, Jose Bautista transformed his game and became one of the premiere power hitters in all of baseball. 

“Outfielder Jose Bautista had played for three Major League teams before arriving in Toronto in 2008, but he had yet to really establish himself as a legitimate big leaguer. That all changed in Canada. Over the next 10 seasons, Bautista slashed .253/.372/.506 while crushing 288 homers and driving in 766 runs. He led the Majors in homers in back-to-back years in ’10 and ’11, was an all-star six times, and earned three Silver Slugger awards. After leaving the Blue Jays in 2018, he suited up for three different National League teams but was never able to recapture his status as an elite run producer, but the legacy he left behind in Toronto is one of a king,” adds Yardbarker

Jose Bautista is absolutely adored by fans of the Toronto Blue Jays, and his story is one that makes for a great baseball movie. If his career were made into a Hollywood movie, it would climax with Bautista’s bat flip against the Texas Rangers in the 2015 American League Division Series. The fans in Toronto absolutely erupted as soon as Bautista makes contact with the pitch, and it’s easily one of the best MLB moments of the new millennium. 

“Bautista was a late bloomer, but when he finally bloomed, boy was he fun to watch. ‘Joey Bats’ led baseball in home runs in both 2010 and 2011. Between 2010 and 2015, Bautista’s 227 home runs were the most in baseball, with no one else even reaching 200 over that period. And while Joe Carter’s walk-off home run to win the 1993 World Series is the most famous in Blue Jays history, Bautista’s go-ahead home run (and subsequent bat flip) in Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS is probably the most talked about blast of the last decade,” furthers Audacy

5. Carlos Delgado (1993-2004)

Rounding out the list of the best Blue Jays players of all time is legendary first basemen, Carlos Delgado, who had one of the smoothest swings in the history of MLB, and his ability to come through in critical situations makes him beloved by Toronto fans. 

“Delgado had some very productive seasons in Miami and Queens, but his peak came during the parts of 12 seasons that he donned a maple leaf on his cap for. Between 1996 and 2004, Delgado finished in the top eight in both home runs and RBIs, despite being clean in an era where many other players seemingly weren’t. With one of the sweetest swings baseball has seen, Delgado homered four times in a game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on Sept. 25, 2003. He’s the only player in Blue Jays history to hit four home runs in a single game, and one of just six in the history of the American League,” explains Audacy

Carlos Delgado is easily one of the best hitters in Blue Jays franchise history. Although Delgado won a World Series title as part of the great 1993 Blue Jays team, his career in Toronto was not filled with winning as the team was perenially bad during his time with the Jays. Of course, Delgado was typically the lone bright spot. 

“He hit at least 24 home runs in every full season of his career, but somehow only was an All-Star twice. Delgado had some truly dominant seasons, with his two best coming in 2000 (.344 BA, 41 RBI, 137 RBI, 1.134 OPS) and 2003 (.302 BA, 42 HR, 145 RBI, 1.019 OPS), the second of which nearly saw him win the AL MVP award, as he finished in second place. Delgado was a pillar of consistency during his time with the Blue Jays, and his accomplishments at the plate helped him earn a spot in the top five on this greatest Blue Jays of all time list,” writes Clutch Points

Delgado was more than just a power hitter, and he was great at driving in runs. Delgado was an RBI machine, logging more than 100 RBIs in six straight seasons. When you consider Delgado’s production, it’s easy to see how the legendary first baseman is one of the best Blue Jays players in history

“Delgado drove in over 100 runs for Toronto six straight times from ’98-’03, and eclipsed the 90 RBI mark in three other seasons. He hit 30 or more homers in each of his final eight years with the Jays, and it should come as no surprise that he’s the franchise’s all-time leader in homers, RBI, doubles, and SLG %. Delgado inexplicably was selected to only two all-star games while with Toronto, despite three different seasons where he finished in the top 10 in MVP voting. The first baseman did win three Silver Sluggers with the Blue Jays, but it’s clear he was underappreciated for a lot of his career,” notes Yardbarker

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  1. When is mark Shapiro going to explain why he removed the greatest blue jay of all time from the ring of honour and gave out his retired jersey number to a rental player

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