Friday, July 19, 2013

Flashback Friday: Carlos Delgado's Excellence

By
Courtesy of The Star
Often times, we look at people, places and experiences from the past through rose-coloured glasses. We build them up in our minds to be much greater than they actually are.

That is not the case with Carlos Delgado.

If anything, Carlos Delgado is actually quite the opposite. Much like a fine wine, his era with the Toronto Blue Jays has gotten much better with age. And he will be deservingly enshrined onto the Level of Excellence this Sunday to honour his contributions to the franchise.

Regrettably, I missed most of the Carlos Delgado era during my brief hiatus from Blue Jays fandom. So I don't even have any anecdotes or memories about what King Carlos did for this franchise. All I can do is look back at his statistics in awe.

Delgado came to prominence during a time in which there was a changing of the guard with this team. Gone were childhood heroes like Alomar, Carter and Ward, and they were supplanted by the new generation; spearheaded by Delgado, Gonzalez and Green.

For the longest time, Carlos Delgado was one of the few bright spots for the Toronto Blue Jays. On what was otherwise a mostly uneventful era in Blue Jays history, Delgado was the new hope for a new generation of Blue Jays fans.

All that considered, it makes me appreciate what Carlos Delgado did with his time during the Blue Jays even more. Although he may not have been a prominent part of the ensemble that won back-to-back World Series, he should still be held in high regard.

Below is a grocery list of the franchise and single season records that Carlos Delgado holds. In total, Delgado holds 15 Blue Jays franchise records. From these numbers alone, it's quite easy to see why he was one of the best bats in Blue Jays history.



But it wasn't just about what Carlos Delgado did on the field, it's about what he did off the field as well. In an era that was littered with performance enhancing drugs, Delgado was one name that was never linked to steroids.

It gives a whole new level of appreciation for what Delgado did when he was playing amongst guys like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds and many others who have either admitted to using PED's or it was almost proved without a shadow of a doubt that they did.

Then there are stories like this one over at Mop Up Duty which prove how great of a guy Carlos was to the fans. I'm sure Kirk's story wasn't the first one like that, and it certainly won't be the last. You get the sense that Delgado was grateful to play the game he loved for a living, and he was grateful towards the fans that came out to the ballpark.

Aside from his astounding body of work in Toronto, there are the single standout moments of Carlos Delgado's career that will never be forgotten. The greatest perhaps which was his four home run game.



Every time I read about the narrative from that game, the story gets better and better. It wasn't enough that Delgado went yard four times that game, he did it while under the weather. And two ... yes, two of his home runs went off of the space formerly known as Windows Restaurant.

I can't recall exactly what the dynamics were with the catching situation back in the early 90's, but it's funny to think Carlos Delgado contributed to a catching conundrum on the Blue Jays roster when they had Pat Borders, Randy Knorr and Delgado all on the catching depth chart.

So you can see why the Blue Jays converted Delgado to a first baseman, and fans are surely grateful they did. One can only imagine what Carlos' career path may have been had he remained a backstop.

Courtesy of The Star
This is one topic that will eventually arise when it comes to reflecting on Roy Halladay's career with the Blue Jays, but it 's unfortunate Carlos Delgado never had an opportunity to make a run at the playoffs during his tenure in Toronto.

In fact, Delgado only made it to the playoffs once in his entire 17 year career. However, it's interesting he did receive a World Series ring in 1993 since he did make an appearance on the big league roster; even if it was for only two games and one at bat.

Delgado and Halladay may have been proverbial ships passing in the night during the Blue Jays timeline, but whether he knew it or not, Carlos was effectively passing the torch onto Doc as the new face of the franchise.

Carlos Delgado is one of those extremely rare figures in Blue Jays history who is beloved by nearly everyone. Fans adore him, teammates have nothing but good things to say, and coaches have always spoken very highly of Delgado.

This Sunday, Carlos Delgado will rightly take his place among the Level of Excellence at the Rogers Centre. Congratulations Carlos ... I can't think of a player who deserves the honour more than you.

Editor's note: this is a repost from December 22nd 2012, "Recognizing Carlos Delgado's Excellence". It basically says everything I wanted to say about Delgado's illustrious career, anyway. 

3 comments:

  1. My only regret about the 4 home run game is that we had Rod Black at the mike. Makes re-living it much less enjoyable.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Carlos Delgado's principled protest of God Bless America is a part of his legacy that shouldn't be forgotten. It was a brave and polarizing stance to take in an era where all major sports are expected to be blindly nationalistic and pro-military.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Kev Langdon, Mat Duheme, Hunter Slawek, Eric Taschner: Delgado was awesome on Toronto! go blue jays!

    ReplyDelete

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