Jays’ hotheads throughout history
Clockwise from top: Brett Lawrie, Dave Winfield, Roberto Alomar
Toronto Blue Jays third baseman Brett Lawrie lost it last month after a call didn’t go his way late in a game. Did he take a deep breath and turn the other cheek? No. Did he punch a pillow back in the locker room? I don’t think so. What he did was unleash his fury at the umpire, who wasn’t beyond reproach himself, culminating in the young player throwing his helmet that then hit the umpire and garnered Lawrie a four-game suspension to cool his jets.
It certainly wasn’t the first time a ball player connected to Toronto lost his cool. Any talk of ball players losing their cool inevitably ends up at one name, Roberto Alomar.
Considered one of, if not the, most talented player to ever don a Blue Jays uniform, Alomar’s legacy, including two World Series championships, was tarnished somewhat thanks to “Spitgate.” It happened on Sept. 27, 1996, and Alomar wasn’t even playing for the Blue Jays at the time, having moved on to the Baltimore Orioles. But as a Hall of Fame–player-in-waiting, he was still Toronto’s pride and joy.
After a called third strike by umpire John Hirschbeck, Alomar lost it, and during a verbal exchange within a few feet, our man Alomar lobbed a spitball directly into the face of a shocked Hirschbeck. The legendary loogie has had a lasting impact on Alomar’s legacy as a baseball player, but time has healed most of this wound, and last year Alomar became the first ever player to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame wearing a Blue Jays hat.
Then there’s Dave Winfield. He was brought in to provide an extra bit of oomph in the batter’s box and the dugout as the Blue Jays pursued a championship. But a few years earlier, as a member of the visiting New York Yankees, Winfield shocked onlookers when he pegged off a seagull with a baseball during warm-ups, killing the defenceless creature. Sure, he said it was accidental. Not cool, Dave.
Still, we did end up with two World Series under Winfield’s “make noise” watch, so let’s call it even. Lawrie, you haven’t done anything, yet, so can it already.