As much fun as it is to come out with a list of the Greatest Blue Jays ever, almost always when it comes to these sort of things you know that issues will arise because of certain bias’ on the part of the voting committee.
The biggest problem with the recently released list is they often confused ‘Greatest Blue Jays ever’ with the ‘players who had the greatest careers ever’. Which is why players such as Dave Winfield (#26), Jack Morris (#29), David Cone (#34), and Dave Stewart (#36), all of whom had incredible careers ranked so high, despite playing in Toronto for such a short time.
Winfield had a more impressive career overall compared to players like Shawn Green (#27) and Shannon Stewart (#35), but as far as him being a greater Blue Jay than those two, think again. Part of what makes a player a great Blue Jay should most certainly be the length of time they spent with Toronto, and there’s no way one good season from Winfield (even if it was during a year that the Blue Jays won the World Series) should rank higher than players like Green and Stewart who had 5+ solid seasons with Toronto.
Continuing with the trend of elevated rankings for players who had excellent careers, but who did little in a Blue Jays uniform, we have to look at where David Cone and Dave Stewart ranked. With these two players, it’s not so much about where they ranked, but that they were even in the Top 40 to begin with. If I’m someone like Marcus Stroman or Roberto Osuna (neither of whom were even ranked), I’m thinking to myself, how in the hell does Dave Stewart and his 19-16 record with a 5.09 ERA make him a greater Blue Jay than I am? Heck, I’d even be tempted to rank David Price‘s Blue Jays tenure ahead of that of Stewart or even Cone.
Although the Top 40 list got a lot of things right, where it came up short was giving far too much credit and praise to the players who had the greatest careers. It’s important to remember the past, but it’s also easy to overlook the contributions of the current Blue Jays when coming up with a list that has such historical significance. Too many players on today’s team were robbed of their place in the Top 40, no one more so than Marcus Stroman and Roberto Osuna.