The most alarming aspect of the homestand may have been the team defence.
Second baseman Emilio Bonifacio (pictured) had played just 15 games at second base
in 2012. He has never played the position on artificial turf before.
The only two remaining turf fields in baseball are the Jays and the
There were a lot of
awkward moves, including third baseman Maicer Izturis stumbling and
falling with a play at the plate in front of him, then from his knees
firing to first to barely nip the runner. Even left fielder Melky
Cabrera ran heavy and misfired on a throw to the plate Sunday.
Bonifacio made three
errors in Friday’s game, the first start by Josh Johnson. It was a
natural hat-trick of miscues, one throwing on the run ranging far to his
left, one on a dropped ball as he pivoted to start a double-play and
the third on a hard ground ball where he raised up early and the ball
clanked off his glove. It’s not necessarily runs that scored that
concern, but the number of extra pitches required to escape those
innings and the air and rhythm that may have been sucked out of the
total game effort.
At third base, both
Izturis and veteran Mark DeRosa struggled with footwork and the speed of
the hot corner on the artificial surface. The obvious difference
between what the Jays got defensively this week at third base and what
was missing — Brett Lawrie — showed that gap to be huge.
The starting pitching,
the $43.7 million rotation suffered because of the defence. Give them a
second go-round. When the Jays play the next six games on grass, in
Detroit and then Kansas City, there will be a better chance to evaluate
the new rotation and the new infielders.
One other oddity that
stood out in Week 1 was that in two victories the Jays never trailed and
in four losses they never led. At the end of completed innings, in two
losses to the Indians and the Red Sox the Jays trailed for 24 innings
and were tied following 14 others. It’s tough to use your team speed
On the plus side,
leadoff hitter Jose Reyes has been everything that was expected coming
over in the trade with the Marlins, batting .435 with a 1.171 OPS after
six games, but the three and four spots in the order, expected to be as
dangerous as any in baseball with Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion,
has been disappointing. Bautista missed the Red Sox series after jamming
his ankle beating out a double-play ball on Thursday, while Encarnacion
is hitting just .087 with one homer and three RBIs.
On Sunday, Dickey
allowed eight runs, joining the Rays’ David Price in becoming the first
time that two Cy Young Award winners had allowed eight runs on the same
day, in the next season following their Cy wins. That note was provided
by the fabulous Elias Sports Bureau. Oh yes, Phillies’ impeccable lefty
Cole Hamels also allowed eight runs on Sunday. Strange days, indeed.
the nine MLB teams that hosted all six games in the opening week, the
Jays ranked second in attendance, drawing 225,284 fans to the Rogers
Centre for the opening series against the Indians and then the return of
manager John Farrell with the Red Sox on the weekend. The Dodgers drew
283,581 to Dodger Stadium. Nine MLB teams have yet to host a home game.
Of the other 21 that hosted at least one series, seven teams averaged
over 40,000 per date. The Jays rank eighth with an average of 37,547. In
2012 it took 10 home games for the Jays to reach that same number.
Essay — Jackie Robinson Biopic ‘42’ Opens This Week. My Feature From ’96
On Friday, April 12, the highly anticipated film42
the story of Jackie Robinson will open in theatres across North
America. It’s more than just a movie about sports. It’s an important
work about social change, about the most important figure, in the most
important time in baseball history.
Back in 1996, the 50th
anniversary of Robinson’s debut with the Montreal Royals, I was given
the assignment of writing a feature for The Star recounting the story of
that tumultuous ’46 season with the Royals when, in the immediate
aftermath of World War II, perceptions of race and racism in America
began to change. The Civil Rights movement was in its infancy. Dr.
Martin Luther King was a 17-year-old sociology major at Morehouse
College in Atlanta. After that great Robinson experiment by Dodgers’
president Branch Rickey proved successful, for baseball there was no
That summer of ’96, I
travelled to Montreal for my research. In doing so I had the pleasure of
meeting Rachel Robinson, Jackie’s widow, one of the most impressive,
charismatic personalities I have ever interviewed. The following is the
results of that summer, recalling the still-resonating Robinson saga.
It was no fluke. The
Montreal Royals, the Dodgers’ top Triple-A farm club, was carefully
chosen to be home base for baseball’s reluctant emancipation. The city
was selected due to its perceived lack of racial problems and the fact
that most International League road games in 1946 would be played well
north of the Mason-Dixon Line, road trips to Baltimore being the lone
agreement with Rickey to be baseball’s guinea pig late in the 1945
season at a secret meeting at the Dodger club offices in Brooklyn. The
facts of and the results of that Aug. 28, 1945, encounter had been kept
secret, by mutual agreement, until later in the winter, when Robinson
was shockingly introduced at a press conference in Montreal.
The Dodgers’ chief
executive, Rickey did not tolerate failure in himself or in others. To
not be properly prepared was a sure road to failure. Rickey knew he
needed precisely the right man if his attempt to integrate baseball was
There had been many
black superstars through the years considered talented enough to play in
the majors if allowed the chance. Even in 1945, there were many black
players considered more talented than Robinson, then in his second year
with the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro League. But it was Robinson
who was chosen. Why?
He was a Methodist like Rickey, who neither smoked nor drank.
He had been engaged for years to Rachel Isum and was soon to be married.
He had been a military officer.
He was college-educated and had already played on mixed-race teams at school.
He was articulate.
He still was in his 20s — that was important given that it might take him a couple of years to reach the big leagues.
He was strong-willed and combative.
He was Rickey’s perfect candidate — if only he could perform on the field.
Rickey had reached
agreement to spring train in Daytona Beach, Fla. Before signing the
deal, he made sure that the presence of any blacks at his minor-league
facility would not cause disruption to any exhibition games. The city,
under the pressure of losing Dodger tourist dollars, agreed.
However, it was the
Royals’ spring road trips that proved to be a problem. Jacksonville
announced cancellation of a Montreal-Jersey City exhibition citing
“rules, regulations and policy” of the city’s Playground and Recreation
Board, which prohibited mixed contestants in athletic events on their
facilities. Demonstrating the disgraceful lack of support Rickey was
receiving from other organizations, the Jersey City GM, Charles
Stoneham, was quoted as saying: “We were willing to go ahead with the
game if we could convince Montreal to leave Robinson in Daytona Beach.”
The Robinsons, Jackie
and Rachel, and African-American pitcher John Wright, recruited to be
his travelling companion with the Royals, found housing away from the
rest of the team, with a local Daytona politician. Wright was a
27-year-old from New Orleans with a limited future. He had served in the
military and was a realist.
“I have lived in the
south my entire life so I know what’s coming,” he told Dodger beat
writers. “I have been black for 27 years and I will remain like that for
a long time.”
On March 17, 1946,
history was finally made. Robinson played his first game in so-called
organized baseball — an exhibition game against the major-league Dodgers
in Daytona. For his first plate appearance, he received a warm ovation
from the crowd of 4,000, including an overflow in the “coloured section”
of the bleachers. Two weeks later, on March 30, writer Joe Williams of
the World Telegram, opined: “Robinson will never become a major-leaguer.
Baseball is his poorest sport. He is hampered by his lack of ability
and ornery temperament.”
Robinson struggled through spring training with a sore arm and paltry batting average.
“The pressure was unbearable,” Rachel remembered. “He couldn’t sleep at night. He had great difficulty concentrating.”
One writer offered: “If he was white, they’d have booted him out of camp a long time ago.”
regular-season International League debut was trumpeted by a Jersey City
newspaper under the headline: “Negro Gets 4 Hits as Jersey Routed.”
On April 19, with a
paid crowd of 51,872 in the community across the river from Manhattan,
the Royals’ rookie second baseman went four for five with four runs,
four RBIs and two stolen bases.
second in the first inning, took his place in the batter’s box while his
wife nervously walked through the stands. The crowd was polite, but
unenthusiastic. With a defensive full-count swing, he grounded to short.
In his second
appearance, with two runners on and nobody out, Robinson drove the first
pitch over the left field fence for three runs. Dink Carroll of the
Montreal Gazette noted: “When he homered, a fellow in the press box
behind us swore softly.”
Next time up, Robinson
bunted for a hit, stole second, went to third on a ground ball and
bluffed a steal of home, causing the pitcher to balk. The crowd now went
wild. The fans were on his side.
After the game, an
enthusiastic throng almost pulled the shirt off his back as he stayed
out to sign autographs. Inside the clubhouse was bedlam with
well-wishers. Robinson was so excited he needed to tie his tie three or
“The one thing I was
concerned about was the way my team backed me up all day,” Robinson said
at the time. One publication wrote: “He seems to have the same sense of
the dramatic as Ruth, Grange, Dempsey, Bobby Jones and others.”
had put the Royals on the road for 12 days before they returned to
Montreal. April 22 in Newark, outfielder Leon Treadway left the Eagles
without warning. The club at first said it was because the Southerner
had trouble finding an apartment. Then they speculated he had jumped to
the Mexican League, which had been raiding U.S. rosters. But the real
reason was that he couldn’t tolerate facing a team with an
African-American on it.
From Newark, the
Royals travelled to Syracuse. More trouble. In Game 1 of the series, as
Robinson knelt in the on-deck circle, a Syracuse player pushed a black
cat on to the field and screamed a racial insult. The umpire warned the
Syracuse manager to silence his players. He didn’t.
It got worse on the
next stop. Baltimore was the only city in the league south of the
Mason-Dixon Line. The thought of Robinson playing there sent IL
president Frank Shaughnessy into a panic. He implored Rickey not to
bring his two black players, Robinson and Wright, to Baltimore. Rickey
held his ground.
“It was important,
because the minute you start backing off, then you’re yielding to the
very forces that you’re trying to stand up against,” Rachel told the
“We’ll encourage every agitator in Maryland if we show fear,” Rickey said.
The Saturday game was
so cold it kept the size of the hostile crowd to a minimum. But they
were coldly vicious. One fan sitting behind Rachel Robinson yelled,
“Here comes that nigger son-of-a-bitch. Let’s give it to him now.” The
abuse continued for nine innings.
“That first weekend in
Baltimore was terrible … really terrible,” said Rachel. “It was
demeaning in the way we were treated. Yet we had the kind of self-esteem
where we wouldn’t let people make us feel lowly.”
Back at the hotel, a
distraught Rachel was on the verge of urging Jackie to retire from the
desegregation attempt. But she resisted.
“Jack needed a
position. He needed a job,” said Rachel, matter-of-factly. “We were just
married. We had no other options. We knew he had to use his talents
somehow in order to have a career. We never questioned whether we should
be there. We had to find a way to manage it. That was the challenge.”
Sunday the weather
warmed up for a twin bill against the Orioles. A crowd of 25,306 turned
up. The hatred continued unabated. Robinson had only one hit in seven
at-bats and combined that with shaky fielding. In Monday’s finale he
banged out three hits and stole a base, scoring four runs. Pitcher Paul
Calvert, ironically a Montreal native, drilled him on the right hand
with a pitch. Robinson, in the 12 games of the opening trip had done
more than just survive. He scored 17 runs, stole eight bases and batted
Montreal in the 1940s
was not truly devoid of racism. But it had the reputation. Representing
only two per cent of the population, there was more a sense of
indifference toward blacks. Canadians, then as now, pride themselves in
being outwardly different from their U.S. neighbours. One of those
obvious differences was in the areas of segregation and equal human
The difference was a welcome one for the Robinsons, especially Rachel, who would spend most of the summer alone in the city.
“I think launching
this experiment in Montreal was more than fortuitous,” said Mrs.
Robinson. “It was destiny in some ways. The security and the respect
shown towards us allowed Jack to perform at the peak of his ability.”
She went out by
herself and found a house on de Gaspe St., in the north end of the city.
It was the first one she looked at in a neighbourhood where everyone
was white and nobody spoke English. Nevertheless, lonely as it was when
Jackie was on the road, it proved to be her six-month haven from the
painful forces of racism. Her only companions were Sam Maltin, a local
sportswriter, stringing for the Pittsburgh Courier, and his wife Belle.
When Opening Day at
Delorimier Downs finally arrived May 1, the city’s sports fans knew all
about Jackie Robinson. A throng of 16,000 jammed the old ballpark,
including an almost unnoticed Maurice Richard, who quietly took his seat
with the rest of them to see what all the fuss was about.
Robinson took his
pre-game warm-up tosses with shortstop Al Campanis. It was a routine
one-for-four performance for Robinson, but following the game he was
forced to stay an hour on the field signing autographs. Montreal was
proving to be a wise choice by Rickey.
May 14: Robinson’s
roommate John Wright was sent to Class-C Three Rivers (QC) in the Dodger
chain. The next day the Royals were sent another black pitcher, Roy
Partlow, a sidearming right-hander from Philadelphia.
May 19: Robinson and
Partlow were honoured between games of a doubleheader at Buffalo, the
city that, aside from Montreal, proved to be the safest and friendliest
for the Royals’ black athletes.
May 29: The Royals
began a 22-game road trip. Newspapers had taken to calling Robinson both
“the coloured comet” and “the dark destroyer,” nicknames commonplace
then, but totally unacceptable by today’s standards.
Robinson was injured
from May 30 through June 23, making only two game appearances due to a
severe calf strain. With the injury, the sniping started again. Abe
Saperstein, a promoter who made much of his money booking Negro League
games at Yankee Stadium said, “He’s always had weak ankles. He’s not the
best (black) shortstop.”
“It just shows that
Saperstein didn’t know anything about Jackie,” former Negro League star
Buck O’Neil told the Star. Saperstein went on to become more famous as
the founder of the Harlem Globetrotters.
June 7: Back in hated
Baltimore, a riot broke out after the final out. Fans swarmed the
field. Robinson had already reached the clubhouse, but the rednecks
waited outside until one in the morning. “Come out here Robinson, you
son of a bitch,” they taunted. “We know you’re up there. We’re gonna get
you.” Teammates Spider Jorgensen, Marvin Rackley and Tom Tatum stayed
with him until the crowd went home.
June 11: IL president
Shaughnessy told Royals manager Clay Hopper, “I’m worried about you
getting too far out in front.” The Royals were pulling away even as
early as mid June.
June 24: Hopper
casually commented on Roy Partlow’s performance: “My coloured boy looked
pretty good last night.” Robinson soon returned to the lineup and took
up where he left off.
June 28: Robinson
accused Baltimore’s Eddie Robinson of kicking him in the back at second
base on a forceout. A Montreal Star editorial cartoon that day showed
baseball bats stacked in a heap. It was captioned: “The Ethiopian in the
July 9: Branch Rickey
brought his Dodgers to Montreal to play an exhibition and showcase his
prized second baseman to his future teammates. The teams tied 5-5 before
17,000 fans. Jackie was an unimpressive zero for two.
July 21: The Royals
swept a doubleheader at Syracuse to open a 15-game lead. Robinson was
four for eight with a homer and a steal.
July 24: Down 3-0,
Robinson bunted for a hit. When the ball was thrown down the right field
line, he came all the way around to score.
July 26: Back to
Baltimore. In front of his feared tormentors, he went three for five
with a two-run homer and a steal of home. Once again fans charged the
field, causing the police to be called in before the game resumed. The
stress continued to mount on Robinson.
Aug. 8: In the bottom
of the 10th inning, in a game against Jersey City, Robinson tripled and
scored on a sacrifice pop-up just behind second base. The next night,
he drove in four with a double and a triple and beat a rundown at third
base. The Gazette’s Carroll wrote: “There doesn’t seem to be anything he
Aug. 15: Against Newark, he went three for three with four runs, four RBIs, a double and a triple.
Aug. 22: He stole home and pivoted three double plays.
Aug. 25: The Royals won at Rochester to run their record to 90-45, clinching the IL title.
Aug. 28: Royals
general manager Mel Jones was forced to quash rumours about Robinson
going to the Dodgers before season’s end. “He’s passed the test here and
he shouldn’t have to go through that again in the big leagues,” Jones
Sept. 1: Reports from
Brooklyn leaked that third base was the only position that would be
available in 1947 for Robinson. Accordingly, he would be tested there in
the final days of the regular season. The Dodgers recalled four Royals
for the pennant drive. Robinson was not among them.
Robinson did make it
to Ebbets Field for Opening Day of the 1947 season, going on to a Hall
of Fame career that spanned an abbreviated 10 seasons. The experiment
changed the face of baseball and was a model for human rights activists
of the 1950s and ’60s. But the pressure of being a social pioneer took
its toll on Robinson’s health. He died prematurely in 1972. Negro League
great Buck O’Neil talked about that issue to the Toronto Star on a
recent trip to Kansas City.
“I think the stress
took 20 years off Jackie’s life,” he said, with a hint of sadness. “But
I’ll tell you what. Jackie Robinson did more for all of us in his 53
years than any man who lived to 90 could ever do.” O’Neil smiled with
pride, staring off over the top of the grandstand at Kauffman Stadium as
if he had just spotted Jackie looking down at him.
The list: Blue Jays career home run leaders
Blue Jays down on the farm
When the Blue Jays
reached out and hired Tim Raines as the organization’s roving
base-running instructor, the move was greeted with a positive vibe. For
years the Jays had prospects with good speed, but none that came to the
majors ready to make a base-stealing impact. Raines will help.
The Star spoke to the
former Expos, White Sox and Yankees star, a future Hall-of-Famer and the
top NL leadoff hitter of his generation, as training camp wound down.
He was asked after his first month in the organization to give his early
impressions of the Jays’ Top Three base-stealing prospects.
1 Anthony Gose OF (23, 511 G, 228 SB, AAA-Buffalo)
“Everybody in the
organization knows that he’s one of their top guys, especially at the
upper levels. I haven’t really had much time with Anthony so far. Just a
little bit that I spent up there (with the Jays). He spent a lot of
time at the big league camp, so I had two days with him since he’s been
down here. I’ll get a chance to be with him when the season opens. I’ll
be there (in Buffalo) the second homestand. Hopefully I’ll get to know him a little bit, get to see him play.
“It’s kind of hard to
teach after seeing a guy just a couple of days. I talked to him a
little, but not to any great extent. It will be interesting. He has
great potential. From Day 1, I saw he seemed like a confident guy. He’s
not afraid to tell you how good he is. So, that’s going to be quite
interesting for me, because I’m not really that kind of guy. I’m kind of
looking forward to it though.”
2-Kenny Wilson OF (23, 430 G, 177 SB, AA-New Hampshire)
“We’ve got guys like
Kenny Wilson who is finally starting to do what they thought he could
do. I think this year is going to be a big year for him as far as
running the basepaths. Hopefully we can get him up to 70-80 stolen
“I think the key for
him is now he’s just a predominantly right-handed hitter. He’s a natural
right-handed hitter. They fooled around with him switch-hitting and I
think it was a lot tougher than he expected. I’m sure they would have
loved for him to be a switch-hitter, but I think this year will be his
first year back hitting from the right side. He’s a better hitter
right-handed and this coming year we can see how well he does. His
confidence level is much higher now. It looks like he’s put on a little
more weight, put on a little more muscle. It’s going to be a big year
3-D.J. Davis OF (18, 60 G, 25 SB, Extended Spring)
“D.J. Davis has a
chance to be a really good player. Speed-wise he’s up with the other two
guys. He’s really, really green right now. He’s fresh out of high
school a year ago and his potential, his ceiling is very, very high.
“He’s wiry, but he’s
strong. He hits the ball as hard as anyone out here. Wiry, thin kid.
He’ll mature. He’s probably going to be a little bigger as he matures.
But then he’s going to find out a lot about himself as a player. A lot
of these guys don’t really know.
“He’s from a small
town in Mississippi. I’m sure he hasn’t competed against guys like he’s
competing against right now. He doesn’t really know the game as well as
he should. He’s learning how to play the game right now. I think he’s
got a chance to be a good player.”
Raines was asked to
compare Davis to his own situation as an 18-year-old back in 1977.
Raines was considered very advanced and just two years away from making
his major-league debut.
“I’m from Florida so I
played against pretty good competition. I think that’s the difference.
He played at a small school. I played schools from Orlando, Daytona
Beach. Baseball in my area was really, really big. I’m sure a lot bigger
than Mississippi. And we played a lot more baseball.
“Even though I played
other sports, I’m really from a baseball family. My dad played ball. My
brothers played ball. I learned to play the game at a young age. With
D.J., his dad played ball, but I’m not sure if it was as much ball as
some other guys played.”
It doesn’t matter
whether it’s the Toronto Blue Jays or whether it was the Montreal Expos
when they were still alive and kicking prior to ’04, the Canadian
major-league teams forever get the short end of the stick, get the shaft
when it comes to games on national television in the States.
Yeah, I know it’s
business. I know it’s the fact that ESPN and FOX have no affiliates in
Canada and therefore can’t measure audience to sell ads, but Major
League Baseball should have some sort of a say in this and make sure
that, especially in a season the Jays have loaded up and have garnered
as much national interest as anyone, that Toronto might at least make it
onto the ESPN schedule for at least one Sunday Night game or be on FOX
for at least one weekend game in 2013 in the U.S. But no.
The only thing
Canadian on ESPN Sunday nights remains lead broadcaster Dan Shulman. The
first half schedule of the season has already been revealed. No Jays.
Well then, maybe in the second half when the all-sports network has a
flexible schedule. Down the stretch there are three possible games to
choose from each Sunday. Surely there must be a Jays choice? Actually,
But it’s been that way
forever. When the Jays made it to the World Series in 1992-93, you just
know that the networks and MLB were wringing their hands and gnashing
their teeth over the fact that a Canadian team, a tree falling in the
forest, was screwing up the ratings. In ’94 when the World Series was
cancelled, the Expos were the best team in baseball, headed to perhaps a
third straight Canadian team in the Fall Classic. Did that factor in,
make it easier to pull the plug on the season? Maybe.
It’s not just
television that’s the villain, it’s every MLB decision that regards
Canada as an afterthought. After Sept. 11, 2001 MLB decreed that all
teams play “God Bless America” at the seventh-inning stretch in every
ballpark. What about God blessing Canada? Sorry. In 1993, after war
fronts in Afghanistan and Iraq were opened up, it was dictated that a
tiny American flag was to be placed on the back of every MLB helmet.
What about Canada? Oh yeah. A Canadian flag was quickly added, but even
that proved controversial as Pirates outfielder Andy Van Slyke pried the
Maple Leaf flag off of his helmet, claiming that he would not honour
Canada because it wasn’t their fight. Sports became politics.
In a 2013 season in
which the Jays are one of the Top 5 World Series favourites in Las
Vegas, you just know that nobody in New York with MLB or with the TV
networks will ever be a fan.
Last Saturday, I
returned from a long spring training grind — the worst weather in 35
springs in Florida — and a two-game weekend in Philadelphia, in time for
a Monday night indoor practice with the Oakville A’s minor-midget rep
team 2013 of which I am manager Clark Rymal’s pitching coach. Yeah, I’m
back. After taking a season off from coaching in 2012, it seems I just
couldn’t stand not being involved with the challenges of coaching young
players. So even though the Jays MLB schedule will be demanding, if they
are doing well, I will attend as many A’s practices and games as
I find that coaching
young players lends needed balance. Besides, in a strangely positive
way, I find myself watching major-league games from a different point of
view, a learning point of view and amuse myself by somewhat confusing
coaches Pat Hentgen and Pete Walker whenever I approach them to ask
about the best way for 16-year-olds to get ready for a start and to keep
their arms healthy. I’ve been an Oakville coach and manager for 15
years, but this is my first as a pitching coach. No problem. Hell, if
John Farrell thinks he can coach major-league hitters, then surely I can
Finally, not exactly
one for the road, but at the end of a disappointing Jays homestand, this
past Sunday as the Jays were being trounced by Boston, I made the short
trip to former Star baseball writer Allan Ryan’s home on Ossington for
the annual Goons of Summer fantasy baseball draft. These guys have been
doing the same draft thing every spring since 1981, one of the
longest-running Fantasy Baseball leagues in North America. Consider that
Daniel Okrent and his Rotisserie group held their first draft in 1980.
Very impressive for the Goons, of which I have been a member since 1996,
a relative newcomer. The 12-man Goons players include current colleague
Joe Hall, plus former Star colleagues Ryan, Chris Young, Garth Woolsey,
plus commissioners George Gamester and Phil Bingley.
drafting a team when the season is already a week old, but personal
schedules don’t allow for any other Goon date. Consider that as the
draft was unfolding, R.A. Dickey and David Price were both being
pummeled and Chris Davis and Michael Morse were front-runners for AL
In any case, drafting
second of 12 for position players and in the 11 hole for pitchers, my
top three offensive choices were Miguel Cabrera (2), Elvis Andrus (23)
and Victor Martinez (26). Among pitchers it was CC Sabathia (11), James
Shields (14) and Tommy Milone (35). Just so you know, in 16 years of
Goonering, with winning payoffs to the top five, I have never cashed a
cheque. Play Ball!
April 8 would have been Hall-of-Fame catcher Gary Carter’s 59th
birthday. Other birthdays include legendary pitcher Old Hoss Radbourn
(157), former Jays’ shortstop and current player agent Alex Gonzalez
(40) and Jays’ pitching coach Pete Walker (44).