King Carlos

Sure, it may not be breaking news. But, for the first time in three years, utilityman Howie Clark put on a Toronto Blue Jays uniform Wednesday night, suiting up to play in place of injured third baseman Troy Glaus. Clark has always been a favourite of this fan — dating back to his first ever month with the club. He certainly made a positive first impression with the Blue Jay faithful back in 2003, and it all started with a 2-for-3 performance in his Toronto debut on May 28 of that season. Clark went on to hit safely in nine of his first 10 games, posting a .536 (15-for-28) average during that span. Perhaps his best game came on June 10 when he went 4-for-4 with a pair of runs scored during a 13-8 Toronto win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

DelgadoThat game also featured a three-run home run by Carlos Delgado, which marked the Jays first baseman’s 20th of the season. The three runs driven in, meanwhile, gave him 70 on the year up to that point. That contest against the Pirates came in the middle of a stretch that saw Delgado collect at least one RBI in eight straight games (he compiled 17 RBIs overall).

After recording a franchise-record 32 runs batted in during the month of June, Delgado entered July with 89 RBIs and had a legitimate shot at challenging Hank Greenberg’s pre-All-Star game record of 103, which he set back in 1935. Though he fell slightly short (97), the left-handed slugger still became one of just nine players in Major League history to record 90 RBIs before the All-Star game.

At the conclusion of the ’03 campaign, Delgado found himself atop the American League leaderboard with a career-high 145 RBIs, becoming just the second Blue Jay (George Bell) in franchise history to lead the AL in that category. Not so fast, though. Before the Blue Jays closed out their best season (86-76) since 1998, Delgado achieved something that no other Toronto hitter had ever accomplished.

On September 25, 2003, Delgado enjoyed the highlight of his season by slugging four home runs in a 10-8 win over the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at SkyDome. In doing so, he became just the sixth player in Major League history to manage four long balls in a game in consecutive at-bats. Still, he somehow fell short (#2) in voting for the AL MVP honours in ’03. That award, coincidentally, was given to the man who stood at third base at Rogers Centre on Wednesday evening.

No, not Howie Clark.

Right-hander Jesse Litsch lasts just two-thirds of an inning in his start Wednesday night, surrendering five earned runs to put the Blue Jays behind early … Trailing 6-5 in the ninth, Scott Downs gives up three more runs to the Yanks, and Toronto falls 10-6 … Alex Rios, the Jays’ MVP so far this season (with apologies to Aaron Hill), smacks his team-leading 12th homer of the season … Roy Halladay returns to the mound for the Blue Jays tomorrow, as he takes on Mark Buehrle in what could end up being the fastest game in Major League history. For the record, that would be 51 minutes, set during a 6-1 New York win over Philadelphia in a National League contest in 1919. Alright, might be a little far-fetched …

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One Response to “King Carlos”

  1. mdevlin0103@rogers.com Says:

    You’re right – How can you NOT be a Howie Clark fan?

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