The Mockingbird

Best. Article. Ever.

with 14 comments

I came across a great Sunday spread in the Toronto star of the Blue Jays finest and worst moments, some of which I’d never heard before. Here’s a great coincidence pieced together:

Toronto ace Dave Stieb did the unthinkable in 1998- he had two no-hitters (one a perfect game) broken up on the last out of the game (although interestingly there were 9 broken up in the 9th that year, a record 9 no-hitters the next year, and 8 the year after that- a far cry from 2006, in which a drought of 2 1/2 years without a no-hitter being thrown was finally ended). The first was broken up by grounder that took a terrible hop in front of Manny Lee.

I was at the second game. Tthe entire stadium stood and chanted “STIEB….STIEB….STIEB” with two outs in the ninth (umm…anyone ever heard of the don’t-mention-it-curse?!?) until a broken bat single over first base, right where we were sitting, ruined it. After the game Steib said:

My brain is so fried right now. I can’t even comprehend what happened.

Which is an amazingly profanity-free statement considering the circumstances. He had one more perfect game broken up after 26 batters the next year, and then finally (and it’s a good thing or he’d be in a mental ward somewhere looking for the flawless marble, the perfect fork, etc…) got his no-hitter the year after that:

Eight years later, in 1998, the next hard-throwing, franchise ace by the name of Roy Halladay makes his second major league start. He also takes a no-hitter up until two outs in the ninth, when Bobby Higginson ends it by hitting a two-run home run. The ball sails into the Toronto bullpen, bounces off the wall and is caught by…wait for it…Dave Stieb, who is making a comeback as a reliever for the Blue Jays after 5 years out of the game. Welcome to the big leagues, kid! Now I remember why I quit…

Also good: After a disheartening loss, Damaso Garcia burnt his uniform in the shower area:

“Some guys break bats, break up clubhouses,” said Garcia. I just decided to go a little crazy and burn my uniform.”

He gets points for originality AND flat-out craziness.


Written by halejon

April 2, 2007 at 4:28 am

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14 Responses

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  1. Sent that video to my Dad and I thought I’d include his comment for posterity:

    “I forgot he lost his control for a while after two outs – and that was his fourth try with two outs. Just think how famous he would be if he had converted the other three, including a back-to-back.”

    Lets not forget he threw a one-hitter in his second start of the next season, giving him three one-hitters in four starts.

    Now that’s incredible.

    Damn you Julio Franco:

    Damn you Jim Traber:

    Damn you Jamie Quirk(?):


    April 2, 2007 at 3:48 pm

  2. Yeah, he was obviously starting to lose it…so many breaking balls and every fastball was up, up, up. I think he probably would have started walking in runners rather than give in and groove one.

    I forgot about his patented adjust-jock-after-every-pitch move. Now that would be a great place to hide something…who would ask to see?

    7 hits in 4 games is pretty ridiculous.


    April 2, 2007 at 3:56 pm

  3. Oh, and a little respect to the Indians fans for the standing “O”. Heck, they were even booing the balls on that walk.

    Wow – imagine if he had converted that perfect game.

    Shit. I love baseball.


    April 2, 2007 at 4:05 pm

  4. Yeah, very cool. Though I think after so much misery, just about everyone thought he’d had enough and should get one.

    TWO perfect games…pretty ridiculous. If he’d converted half of his chances, and not had that gross collision at first base that set him back two years, I say HOF shoo-in. Instead, he’s the most underrated pitcher of his generation.


    April 2, 2007 at 4:27 pm

  5. Will Roy Halladay eventually become the best homegrown right-hander in Blue Jays history? It’s looking quite possible, but he’s got a long way to go to budge Dave Stieb from that perch. He was criminally underrated during his best years – posted 11 seasons with a 110 or greater ERA+, including five seasons above 135. Should have won at least one Cy Young Award, and remains the best pitcher the team ever produced.


    April 2, 2007 at 4:42 pm

  6. In terms of stats, unless something happens (and Doc changing his approach and not going 10 innings any more at the age of 28 is a nice sign for the long term) Roy should pass him. Steib’s career was over at 32, and that is very rare these days.

    It’s kind of sad, really- Steib was a ridiculous workhorse for the Jays, pitching insane innings and complete games at a mad pace but not getting the recognition because he wouldn’t win 20 like he would have with a better team. Then we got better rather quickly right when his shoulder blew out and he never got to participate in the 92-93 glory.


    April 2, 2007 at 5:36 pm

  7. Not only that, but nobody ever spells his name right.


    April 2, 2007 at 5:42 pm

  8. Haha. Got me there.


    April 2, 2007 at 6:31 pm

  9. Not looking promising in the Crystal Ball for Chacin:

    We better go all the way this year.


    April 2, 2007 at 6:36 pm

  10. Actually, it was ME who spelled Stieb wrong…

    Heck, if Chacin throws 200 innings and goes 12-10 this year, I am totally happy. That’s a real #3. He can slouch off to the bullpen after that for all I care (which seems to be what that site is predicting). I don’t know why everyone sees him as a 5+ ERA guy permanently after the last semi-injured year, though.


    April 2, 2007 at 7:15 pm

  11. I’d take a 12-10 year from him. I think Chacin can be the left-handed equivalent to Jake Westbrook.

    Are you going to want to pitch him when the season is on the line? No. But, he can eat up innings, and put your team in a position to win half the time.

    If the Jays win two-thirds of the starts that Doc and AJ make (doable), then we only need to win a little over half of the starts the rest of the rotation makes (whoever it is).

    I like the fact that we have 2 starters who are chomping at the bit to be in the rotation. Now, we don’t have to wait for a certain pitcher to go 0-7 before thinking, “Hey, maybe we should try someone else instead of putting Insta-Loss on the hill.” like we did last year.


    April 2, 2007 at 9:46 pm

  12. Exactly. With our 1-2 punch, we just need everyone else to tread water. Not that I wouldn’t like Lilly back, but it almost looks clever to have a bunch of interchangeable guys in the back 3/5’s of the rotation who you’re not married to- and our offence can carry mediocre pitchers.

    It even happened twice last year- first Towers has to go out there when it’s pointless, and then we’re starting Janssen and Taubenheim back to back when they were not ready. Destroys the bullpen and even offence is harder when you’re down 4-5 runs in the first couple of innings.

    My question- which two starters do you mean? Zambrano, obviously- but then Janssen? He looked so good today. Or Marcum? Or that other guy who as of a couple of months ago was our #4?


    April 3, 2007 at 3:54 am

  13. I was referring to Thomson. I think he’s going to be pissed when (if?) he gets off the DL and gets put in the bullpen.

    I think Marcum and Janssen are better suited for the pen right now. Janssen needs a year of that before going back to the rotation.


    April 3, 2007 at 2:52 pm

  14. Yeah, so much for performance bonuses. I’m not entirely clear where we’re at with him. I assume once 15 (retroactive?) days are up, we’ll send him to AAA, and he has the option to refuse and become a free agent? But didn’t he sign a minor league contract anyway?

    I think Janssen could make it as a fine #5 right now, but we don’t need one…did you know that part of the reason for his slide last year was he had a back problem that he hid from the team? They found out and that’s why he didn’t get called back up in September. Oh, and that he was throwing 94 his last outing?!?


    April 3, 2007 at 3:52 pm

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