I’m a little late to the party on this one, but this morning, in a team release, the Jays announced that prior to their game July 21st against the Tampa Bay Rays, they will honour Carlos Delgado by making him the tenth member of the club’s Level of Excellence.
It’s beyond well-deserved– Delgado, in his nine seasons as a regular in the Jays lineup posted a ridiculous .286/.397/.565/.961, with 324 HR, 338 doubles, accumulating more than 35 wins above replacement for the club per both Baseball Reference and FanGraphs– and well-timed, too.
While Carlos seems to have been out of the spotlight for a long time– his final Major League action came in the form of 26 games for the 2009 New York Mets– he actually didn’t formally retire until April of 2011– so this is really only the second year in which such an honour could have been considered for him.
His will be the first name not associated with the club’s playoff or World Series years to be so honoured, though technically, a late season call-up, he was called on to pinch hit two times in the final regular season series of the 1993 season… meaning Roy Halladay, when his time comes, will be the first with no actual connection to the glory days.
But glory or not, Delgado was the attraction, offensively, on so many Jays clubs over the course of his career, a model of consistency, and just a flat out likable star on so many of the kind of good-not-great teams we’ve become so accustomed to around here.
“Not only was he one of the best hitters in club history, he was one of the finest first basemen of his generation,” said Paul Beeston, according to the release. “More importantly, Carlos was a tremendous ambassador for the Blue Jays organization and the city of Toronto. His fun-loving attitude was infectious and his tireless work in the community were truly his greatest assets.”
Congratulations to King Carlos!