Friday, August 31, 2012

Flashback Friday: Bell, Moseby and Barfield


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Image courtesy of BlueJays.com
Bell, Moseby and Barfield; these are three names that resonate with all Blue Jays fans. Three names that are synonymous with the "Drive of '85". Three names that pioneered a new era in Toronto Blue Jays baseball.

For this week's Flashback Friday, we take a look back at George Bell, Lloyd Moseby, and Jesse Barfield; otherwise known as the greatest outfield in Blue Jays history.

Incredibly, Bell, Moseby and Barfield patrolled the outfield for nearly four full seasons with the Blue Jays from 1984 to 1988. That kind of consistency is something that's virtually unheard of today, and yet day in and day out, George Bell, Lloyd Moseby and Jesse Barfield held it down in the outfield. 

All three players had their own strengths; Bell had the power, Moseby had the wheels, and Barfield had the arm. Yet, each of them possessed the skills to be an All-Star, and in the case of George Bell, he was awarded the American League MVP in 1987.

Aside from the incredible power and speed possessed by these players, was their collective defensive prowess in the outfield. Bell, Moseby and Barfield set the gold standard when it comes to the best defensive outfield alignment in franchise history.

George Bell lead baseball in assists for a left fielder for three straight seasons from 1985-1987. Moseby lead baseball in assists for a centre fielder in 1985. And perhaps most impressive, Jesse Barfield lead all outfielders in assists in five of six seasons from 1985-1990.

In 12 seasons in the big leagues, Jesse Barfield racked up 162 total outfield assists predominately playing in right field. Next to Joe Montana and Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jesse Barfield had one of the most feared arms of the 80's.

For further evidence of how deadly a trio they were in the 80's for the Blue Jays, this FanGraphs WAR graph tells the entire story of George Bell, Lloyd Moseby and Jesse Barfied's tenure with the Blue Jays and beyond.

It's incredible how many wins that outfield was worth during the Blue Jays heyday.


Source: FanGraphs -- Jesse Barfield, George Bell, Lloyd Moseby

Although it may have been a little before my time, I can still appreciate what these three men did for the Blue Jays franchise. Much like Jeremy over at 500 Level Fan, there is nothing but fond memories for the trio of Bell, Moseby and Barfield.

The thing I'll always think of when I look back at George Bell, Lloyd Moseby and Jesse Barfield is how they helped usher in a new era for the Blue Jays and helped change the culture of the team.

The image that will forever remain etched into my brain is George Bell falling to his knees and celebrating with Tony Fernandez during the infamous Drive of '85. That was the moment when the Blue Jays officially arrived, and it was due in large part to the trio of Bell, Moseby and Barfield.

Don't forget - George Bell, Lloyd Moseby and Jesse Barfield will reunite later today at the Jays Shop inside Sears at the Eaton Centre from 1-2pm for an autograph signing. Be sure to get down there this afternoon for a chance to see them in person.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you Ian. I don't get star struck especially when it comes to athletes but today of all days I actually wish I lived in Toronto so I could drop by the Eaton Centre (I say this as a fully, grown adult woman). It's incredible to think but Jesse B led the majors in home runs with 40 back in '86 (I think it was '86 and I'm too lazy to look it up right now). They were also born within two weeks of one another. That '85 team really was something special.

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    1. You're very welcome, DD! It would've been very cool to see Bell/Moseby/Barfield in person today, if anything just to shake their hands and say thank you. We might not see an outfield like that for a very very long time.

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