Hawkins Starts Celebration for Blue Jays

LaTroy Hawkins/MLB Photo

LaTroy Hawkins/MLB Photo

One doesn’t have to be a fan of the Toronto Blue Jays to be happy for LaTroy Hawkins.

As the Blue Jays clinched the American League East title on Wednesday, Sept. 30, Hawkins was on the mound in Baltimore at the end of the game. Although the Blue Jays were already guaranteed a spot in the playoffs, the win was special because they haven’t been in the post-season since they won the World Series in 1993.

The 42-year old Hawkins fanned the last batter in Toronto’s 15-2 win over the Orioles to set off the celebration. It was a feel good moment for a veteran player. It’s hard not to root for a guy nearing the end of his career as he pursues a world championship.

Toronto is the 11th team for Hawkins, who was picked up the late July trade with the Colorado Rockies that also brought Troy Tulowitzki to Canada.

The oldest player on the Blue Jays roster, Hawkins has been in 16 contests and is 1-0 with a save and an ERA of 2.40.

gary woods 1978They’ve Come a Long Way

Hawkins was five years old when the Blue Jays were born in 1977. To put things in perspective, the Blue Jays finished that season 54-107, so fans should appreciate 2015 for a long time.

The Blue Jays split a doubleheader with the Cleveland Indians on the last day of their inaugural season in Exhibition Stadium. The Blue Jays lost 5-4 in the finale, but it was the first contest that created the excitement as they won with only two hits on Oct. 2.

Gary Woods and Dave Lemanczyk were the heroes of the 2-1 walk-off win in the bottom of the 11th inning.

Trailing, 1-0 in the bottom of the sixth, Woods tied the game with a run-scoring single.

dave lemanczyk 1978Woods singled to lead off the 11th and eventually worked his way to third with two outs in the frame. Cleveland’s Larry Andersen threw a wild pitch allowing Woods to score the game-winner.

Lemanczyk went the distance and scattered 11 hits. He struck out seven and walked one to finish the season at 13-16, which led the Blue Jays in victories.

Osuna Born After the Titles

Toronto’s closer is 20-year old Roberto Osuna. The rookie right-hander from Mexico wasn’t even born when the Blue Jays won the World Series in 1992 and 1993.

Over the last two months, Osuna has 14 saves in 22 appearances. Overall, this season he is 1-5 with 20 saves and a 2.36 ERA.

Roberto Osuna/MLB Photo

Roberto Osuna/MLB Photo

By contrast, Hawkins made his major league debut with the Minnesota Twins about three months after Osuna was born.

In his career, Hawkins has appeared in 1,040 games posting a 75-94 mark with 127 saves. He’s been in the post-season four times and made the World Series in 2007 when the Rockies fell to the Boston Red Sox.

Hopefully for his sake, Hawkins can add a world championship to his resume to cap a long journey in the big leagues.