Alfredo Griffin — A swing for the ages

A member of the Blue Jays for eight seasons, shortstop Alfredo Griffin produced countless great memories for Blue Jays fans, especially during the club’s infancy. His immediate impact, after all, earned him Rookie-of-the-Year honours in 1979, making him the first Blue Jay to win a major award. He led the American League with 15 triples in 1980, and was named to the AL all-star team in 1984; and he holds the Blue Jays franchise record for double plays turned by a shortstop (126 in 1980). Yet despite all this, my favourite Alfredo Griffin moment has nothing to do with accolades or accomplishments. In fact, it occurred during Griffin’s second stint with Toronto, in which he returned to the organization as a role player on the 1992 and 1993 World Series ball clubs.

On a rainy day in the Bronx on September 27, 1992, Griffin took the term ‘role-player’ to a brand new level. With the Blue Jays leading the Yankees 9-0 in the top of the fifth, the rain that had been falling all game began to come down even harder. Griffin, the 17-year major-league veteran, knowing the teams had to complete five innings for the game to be official, bypassed his warmup swings and immediately took his spot in the batter’s box.

Alfredogriffin With Greg Cadaret on the mound, Griffin swung at the first pitch, a fastball about three feet outside. Then, with the rain falling even harder, Cadaret lost control of his second pitch, sending it sailing a good six feet over Griffin’s head. Sure enough, the Blue Jays shortstop swung “through” the pitch in an attempt to strike out quickly and leave the Blue Jays just five outs from winning what he assumed would be a rain-shortened contest. However, whether it was the pouring rain or Griffin’s hilarious attempt to strike himself out, home plate umpire John Shulock immediately called for a rain delay.

Luckily for the Blue Jays, the rain came and went, and the visiting team went on to win 12-2, giving starter Jack Morris his 20th win of the season (the first Blue Jay to do so). Even though Griffin’s ‘plan’ didn’t work, I sure hope that Morris offered a sincere ‘thank you’ after the game. It truly was a swing for the ages.

And when played resumed with Griffin facing a count of 0-and-2? He struck out, of course. Although that one should have an asterisk in my books.

With snow falling at Comerica Park, the Tigers and Blue Jays agree to postpone this afternoon’s game … The ‘snowed out’ contest is rescheduled for September 10 at 7:05 pm … Due to the cancellation, Blue Jay fans will have to wait another trip through the rotation before seeing the ‘new’ and hopefully improved Josh Towers …

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