Stottlemyre makes Hall ballot

The 2008 Hall of Fame ballot that was released Monday included a pair of former Blue Jay pitchers — a returnee, Jack Morris, and a newcomer, Todd Stottlemyre.

Though it’s unlikely that Stottlemyre will receive enough votes (5%) to stay on next year’s ballot, the former right-hander enjoyed a great deal of success during his 14-year big-league career. Seven of those seasons came as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, the team that drafted him third overall in the secondary phase of the free-agent draft in 1985.

Stottlemyre made his Major League debut in 1988, finishing with a 4-8 record and a 5.69 ERA in 28 games — 16 starts — that season. In July of 1989, the right-hander earned a full-time spot in the Blue Jays’ starting rotation. In 1991, Stottlemyre enjoyed his best season yet as a Blue Jay, posting a career-high 15 wins and a 3.78 ERA.

He provided Toronto with a big boost in 1992, the year in which the Blue Jays made history by becoming the first Canadian team to win the World Series. With the Jays having lost six of seven, and clinging to a two-game division lead, Stottlemyre hurled a gem against the Chicago White Sox on August 26. The right-hander went the distance, losing a no-hitter in the eighth inning during a 9-0 Toronto victory. The Blue Jays would finish 24-11 over their final 35 games, and Stottlemyre would soon land his first of two World Series rings.

Unfortunately, his time with the Blue Jays came to an end following the strike-shortened 1994 season. “The Jays had been trying to sign Stottlemyre to a long-term deal before the strike, and both sides seemed willing, simply dickering over the price,” noted Stephen Brunt in his book ‘Diamond Dreams: 20 Years of Blue Jays Baseball’. However, things changed when Toronto GM Gord Ash acquired veteran pitcher David Cone. “With Cone and his salary on board, Todd Stottlemyre became an afterthought,” said Brunt, adding that, essentially, whatever offer had been on the table was now rescinded.

“Stottlemyre felt a tremendous loyalty to the organization, which had suffered through his ups and downs,” Brunt stated. “He wanted very much to remain a Toronto Blue Jay.”

Blue Jays bigwig Paul Beeston knew the club had treated the Stottlemyre situation poorly, and he felt bad about it. “The only two guys that I think we ever screwed here were Todd and George Bell,” said Beeston “And they’re the two guys who were more loyal to the Blue Jay colours than any Dodger was loyal to the Dodger colours. We know that Todd felt betrayed at the time and I now know why Todd felt that way. And I apologized to him.”

The moral of the story, I suppose, is that mistakes are made and that nobody is perfect. As it turned out, Stottlemyre went on to enjoy a number of strong seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals and Arizona Diamondbacks prior to his retirement in 2002. In a statement to his character, the former Blue Jay pitcher earned both the Branch Rickey award and the Lou Gehrig award in 2000. And in another statement of his character, Stottlemyre now serves as the Board Chair for ‘Caring for Kids Inc.‘, a non-profit organization dedicated to ‘fighting child abuse, abandonment and neglect’.

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One Response to “Stottlemyre makes Hall ballot”

  1. Andrew Says:

    Hall of Very Good?

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