1997 Toronto Blue Jays season
The 1997 Toronto Blue Jays season was the franchise's 21st season of Major League Baseball. It resulted in the Blue Jays finishing fifth in the American League East with a record of 76 wins and 86 losses. With a massive re-design of their logos and uniforms, the Blue Jays attempted to re-establish themselves in the American League East by signing Roger Clemens via Free Agency and bringing All-Stars Carlos García and Orlando Merced through trade. Although Clemens rejuvenated himself with the Blue Jays (en route to one of the best-ever single seasons by a starting pitcher, winning the Cy Young Award and the pitchers' triple crown), both Garcia and Merced ended up being flops as dismal overall hitting and an inconsistent bullpen doomed the Blue Jays once again to a last-place finish. 1997 also marked the end of the road for manager Cito Gaston, being fired near the end of the season (Gaston would eventually return to the team in 2008). Longtime fan-favourite Joe Carter also played in his final season for the Blue Jays, as he was released at the end of the season.
|1997 Toronto Blue Jays|
|Major League affiliations|
Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
|General manager(s)||Gord Ash|
|Manager(s)||Cito Gaston, Mel Queen|
|Local television||CBC Television|
(Brian Williams, John Cerutti)
The Sports Network
(Dan Shulman, Buck Martinez)
|Local radio||CJCL (AM)|
(Jerry Howarth, Tom Cheek)
|< Previous season Next season >|
- October 2, 1996: Dane Johnson was selected off waivers by the Oakland Athletics from the Toronto Blue Jays.
- November 14, 1996: Dan Plesac was traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates with Carlos Garcia and Orlando Merced to the Toronto Blue Jays for players to be named later, José Silva, Brandon Cromer (minors), and Jose Pett (minors). The Toronto Blue Jays sent Mike Halperin (minors) (December 11, 1996), Abraham Nunez (December 11, 1996), and Craig Wilson (December 11, 1996) to the Pittsburgh Pirates to complete the trade.
- November 27, 1996: Jeff Ware was selected off waivers by the Milwaukee Brewers from the Toronto Blue Jays.
- December 9, 1996: Benito Santiago signed as a Free Agent with the Toronto Blue Jays.
- December 13, 1996: Roger Clemens signed as a Free Agent with the Toronto Blue Jays.
- December 18, 1996: Juan Samuel was signed as a Free Agent with the Toronto Blue Jays.
- December 20, 1996: John Olerud was traded by the Toronto Blue Jays with cash to the New York Mets for Robert Person.
Opening Day startersEdit
- Joe Carter
- Carlos Delgado
- Carlos Garcia
- Alex Gonzalez
- Shawn Green
- Pat Hentgen
- Orlando Merced
- Otis Nixon
- Benito Santiago
- Ed Sprague
- June 30 – The first interleague game between the Montreal Expos and the Toronto Blue Jays took place at SkyDome. The Expos won the game by a score of 2-1.
Expos vs. JaysEdit
June 30, SkyDome, Toronto, Ontario
|W: Pedro Martínez (10-3) L: Pat Hentgen (8-5)|
|Home Runs: Vladimir Guerrero (4), Carlos Delgado (15) Attendance: 37,430 Time: 2:03|
|Montreal Expos||AB||R||H||RBI||Toronto Blue Jays||AB||R||H||RBI|
|Grudzielanek, ss||3||1||1||0||Nixon cf||4||0||1||0|
|Lansing 2b||4||0||0||0||Merced dh||4||0||0||0|
|Santangelo 3b||4||0||0||0||Carter lf||4||0||0||0|
|Segui 1b||3||0||2||1||Delgado 1b||2||1||1||1|
|Rodriguez lf||4||0||0||0||Sprague 3b||3||0||0||0|
|Orsulak lf||0||0||0||0||Green rf||3||0||0||0|
|Guerrero rf||4||1||2||1||Santiago c||3||0||0||0|
|McGuire dh||3||0||0||0||Gonzalez ss||3||0||1||0|
|White cf||3||0||0||0||Garcia 2b||3||0||0||0|
|Martinez W (10-3)||9.0||3||1||1||1||10|
|Toronto Blue Jays||IP||H||R||ER||BB||SO|
|Hentgen L (8-5)||9.0||6||2||2||1||3|
Canada Day GameEdit
The Blue Jays and Expos played to a sold-out Skydome crowd on Canada Day. Legendary Roger Clemens would get the start as the Blue Jays donned red uniforms for the second time. Montreal pitcher Jeff Juden would have a no-hitter through the first six innings until Joe Carter would hit a dramatic home run to break Juden's bid for a no-hitter.
|New York Yankees||96||66||0.593||2||47–33||49–33|
|Boston Red Sox||78||84||0.481||20||39–42||39–42|
|Toronto Blue Jays||76||86||0.469||22||42–39||34–47|
Record vs. opponentsEdit
1997 American League Records
Sources:              
- May 11, 1997: Rubén Sierra was signed as a Free Agent with the Toronto Blue Jays.
- June 3, 1997: Orlando Hudson was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 43rd round of the 1997 amateur draft. Player signed May 20, 1998.
- June 5, 1997: Ryan Thompson was traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Toronto Blue Jays for Jeff Manto.
- June 16, 1997: Rubén Sierra was released by the Toronto Blue Jays.
- July 25, 1997: Omar Daal was selected off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays from the Montreal Expos.
- July 29, 1997: Mariano Duncan was traded by the New York Yankees with cash to the Toronto Blue Jays for Angel Ramirez (minors).
- July 31, 1997: Paul Spoljaric was traded by the Toronto Blue Jays with Mike Timlin to the Seattle Mariners for Jose Cruz.
- August 8, 1997: Tilson Brito was selected off waivers by the Oakland Athletics from the Toronto Blue Jays.
- August 12, 1997: Otis Nixon was traded by the Toronto Blue Jays to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Bobby Cripps (minors).
|1997 Toronto Blue Jays|
|1997 Game Log|
Note: G = Games played; AB = At bats; H = Hits; Avg. = Batting average; HR = Home runs; RBI = Runs batted in
|José Cruz, Jr.||55||212||49||14||34||.231|
- Roger Clemens, Pitcher of the Month Award, May
- Roger Clemens, Pitcher of the Month Award, August
- Roger Clemens, Cy Young Award
- Roger Clemens, MLB Leader, 21 Wins
- Roger Clemens, AL Strikeout Crown, 292 Strikeouts
- Roger Clemens, AL ERA Crown, 2.05
- Roger Clemens, American League Leader, Complete Games (9)
- Roger Clemens, American League Leader, Shutouts (3)
- Roger Clemens, American League Leader, Innings Pitched (264)
- Roger Clemens, P
- Pat Hentgen, P
- Dan Plesac Statistics Baseball-Reference.com
- Jeff Ware Statistics Baseball-Reference.com
- Roger Clemens Statistics Baseball-Reference.com
- Juan Samuel Statistics Baseball-Reference.com
- John Olerud Statistics Baseball-Reference.com
- Rubén Sierra Statistics Baseball-Reference.com
- Orlando Hudson Statistics Baseball-Reference.com
- Ryan Thompson Statistics Baseball-Reference.com
- Mariano Duncan Statistics Baseball-Reference.com
- Paul Spoljaric Statistics Baseball-Reference.com
- Otis Nixon Statistics Baseball-Reference.com
- 1997 Toronto Blue Jays Statistics and Roster Baseball-Reference.com
- Blue Jays All-Stars | bluejays.com: History
- Johnson, Lloyd, and Wolff, Miles, ed., The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball, 3rd edition. Durham, North Carolina: Baseball America, 2007