Monday, August 30, 2010
This Week's Shitty Blue Jay: Shannon Stewart
Batting lead-off, and should be on base shortly, Shannon Stewart.
That statement was pretty much a given when Stewart was on the Blue Jays' roster from '97 until we traded him in 2003.
He was a prototypical lead-off hitter. An on-base machine, posting a .365 OBP for his career in Toronto. He had an open stance in the batter's box (one I ended up mimicking), helped him see pitches better and propelled him into a consistent .300 hitter pretty much his whole career. In his early days, he was a dangerous base-stealer, swiping 51 in his first full year, and 37 his next. Those numbers tapered off, citing leg injuries as the main reason.
Shannon was an average defender at left, running balls down. But his noodle of an arm encouraged base runners to go amok on him, feeble throws coming to the plate . . . (wait for it) . . . later.
Thanks to economics, keeping home-grown players posed a difficulty in TO. Around 2003, there was a very expensive contract that took almost 1/3 of the team's payroll, and at times left the Jays' front office paralyzed. Given Stewart's years of service (7), he was due for a hefty raise. The Jays, knowing they wouldn't be able to afford the left fielder, traded him to Minnesota for Bobby Kielty.
Bobby Kielty's only memorable moment was robbing Trot Nixon (?fact check?) of a home run by climbing over the outfield wall at Fenway Park, nearly ending up in the Sox' bullpen. Other that that, he looked like he couldn't wrestle his way out of a wet paper bag.
Stewart ended up in Minnesota in the heat of a playoff race, and had appearances in the playoffs for them and with the Oakland Athletics.
Last seen with Toronto in 2008, winning out a roster spot over fan favourite Reed Johnson. Was released in August of that season because of total uselessness. Currently a free agent.
(Be sure to vote for your Favourite Shitty Jay! It's currently a tie between Delgado and Mondy, and someone has to break the deadlock to determine the winner. And how hard is it to BUY ME A FUCKING COFFEE?!)
Next Week: King Carlos Delgado!