Blue Jay ironmen

On top of the unavoidable injuries that major-league players endure throughout the course of a season, managers also like to give their starters the occasional day off, allowing for much-needed rest during the lengthy 162-game schedule.

Having said that, however, there are always a handful of players each year that somehow manage to play in every game. The last Blue Jay to do so was Carlos Delgado, who accomplished the feat back in 2001. Overall, a Toronto Blue Jay has played in each of the team’s games just 11 times in franchise history (30 years). Here’s the list:

2001 — Carlos Delgado (162)
2000 — Carlos Delgado, Jose Cruz Jr. (162)
1995 — Ed Sprague (144)
1994 — Paul Molitor (115)
1991 — Joe Carter (162)
1986 — Tony Fernandez (163)
1985 — Tony Fernandez (161)
1983 — Alfredo Griffin (162)
1982 — Alfredo Griffin (162)
1979 — Rick Bosetti (162)

Note: Molitor and Sprague’s totals are lower due to the strike in ’94, which also shortened the ’95 campaign.

Tfernandez_1 And then there’s Tony Fernandez. Despite the standard 162-game schedule, the former Blue Jay shortstop finished with 163 games played in 1986 due to interesting circumstances. In a game between the Indians and Blue Jays that season (Aug. 26), Toronto scored three runs in the top of the ninth to knot the score at 6-6. With rain falling, Blue Jay reliever Mark Eichhorn retired the Indians in order in the bottom half, sending the game into extra innings. By this time, however, the rain was so severe that the umpires decided to suspend the game. The teams would not return to the field that evening, instead scheduling a doubleheader to be played the following day.

As per league rules, the Aug. 26 game was deemed a ‘tie’, and the two squads were required to replay the game from the beginning on Aug. 27. Though the suspended contest did not affect the regular season standings, it did count as an official game played, and thus toward season statistics. It was because of this that Fernandez finished the year with 163 games played, the only Blue Jay to play more than 162 in franchise history.

With Reed Johnson headed to the disabled list, it is announced that top prospect Adam Lind will man the everyday left-field duties in Johnson’s absence … Vernon Wells smacks a three-run homer to give the Jays an early 3-0 lead after the first inning … With Toronto up 4-3 in the fourth, Alex Rios belts a two-run long ball to make it 6-3 … Starter A.J. Burnett, who gives one back in the fifth, is pulled after 5.1 innings having allowed four runs on seven hits … Lyle Overbay delivers the potential winning run with a solo shot in the eighth, giving the Blue Jays a 7-6 advantage … Closer B.J. Ryan endures a nightmare ninth inning though, walking three batters en route to blowing his second save of the season … 10-7 will be the final score on this night, leaving many in attendance hoping that this afternoon’s contest won’t come back to haunt the Blue Jays in September …

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