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!

Comments (55)

  1. Hail to the King!

  2. The post may be “late,” but the picture makes up for it.

  3. It’s about damn time! Congrats Carlos.

    Man this is turning out to be quite the winter.

  4. So here’s the big question: removing all Blue Jays biases, is Carlos a Hall of Famer? I have to say yes, though it will take some time for sure.

    • It’s a bit of a logjam at the moment for HOF balloting, is the problem.

      Upcoming eligibles, as per HOF website:

      Carried over to 2013: Jeff Bagwell, Edgar Martinez, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Mark McGwire, Jack Morris, Dale Murphy, Rafael Palmeiro, Tim Raines, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell, Larry Walker and Bernie Williams.

      2013: Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Craig Biggio, Curt Schilling, Sammy Sosa, Mike Piazza, Kenny Lofton, David Wells, Julio Franco, Shawn Green, Steve Finley, Roberto Hernandez, Jeff Cirillo, Jose Valentin, Reggie Sanders, Jeff Conine, Jose Mesa, Royce Clayton, Bob Wickman, Ryan Klesko, Aaron Sele, Woody Williams, Rondell White, Mike Lieberthal, Tony Batista, Mike Stanton, Sandy Alomar Jr., Damian Miller, Todd Walker

      2014: Moises Alou, Armando Benitez, Sean Casey, Jose Cruz Jr., Ray Durham, Damion Easley, Jim Edmonds, Keith Foulke, Eric Gagne, Tom Glavine, Luis Gonzalez, Scott Hatteberg, Jacque Jones, Todd Jones, Jeff Kent, Jon Lieber, Esteban Loaiza, Paul Lo Duca, Greg Maddux, Matt Morris, Mike Mussina, Trot Nixon, Hideo Nomo, Jay Payton, Kenny Rogers, Richie Sexson, J.T. Snow, Shannon Stewart, Frank Thomas, Mike Timlin, Steve Trachsel, Jose Vidro

      2015: Rich Aurilia, Aaron Boone, Paul Byrd, Tony Clark, Carlos Delgado, David Dellucci, Jermaine Dye, Alan Embree, Darin Erstad, Kelvim Escobar, Cliff Floyd, Nomar Garciaparra, Brian Giles, Tom Gordon, Eddie Guardado, Randy Johnson, Mark Loretta, Pedro Martinez, Ramon Martinez, Doug Mientkiewicz, Kevin Millar, Troy Percival, B.J. Ryan, Jason Schmidt, Gary Sheffield, John Smoltz, Julian Tavarez, Jarrod Washburn, David Weathers

      (fucking lol at bj ryan being listed by the HOF website)

      But yeah, when it comes time to 2015 and you’ve got the potential to have the Mark McGwires and Sammy Sosas and Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds of the world still being carried over and argued about by old-media hacks, and then you’re adding guys like Randy Johnson and Pedro Martinez to the mix, underdog picks like Carlos Delgado are a tough sell.

      • Oh he won’t get in on the first ballot. He’s either going to slowly build up support over the years and finally get in, like Jim Rice, or he’ll be planted right in the middle of the pack and never move.

        At least in my mind he belongs eventually. He was a top-5 slugger at his peak who was stuck on some pretty bad teams for most of his career.

    • He’s not. But so what? He was fucking awesome.

      • But he sure has a HoF smile

      • I’ll still make his case, but at the end of the day Stoeten you’re probably right. He’ll end up being a Dale Murphy/Dave Parker type, stuck in the middle for 15 years and never moving.

      • Like many players, he belongs in the Hall of Very Good. There were just so many outstanding first basemen in his day and the hall already has enough of those. Now if Delgado had Olerud’s defensive stats to go along with the offense THAT would make for an interesting HOF debate!

        One other thought… reading this article makes me yearn for the days when great production from that position was a given for the club. 15 straight years of Olerud and/or Delgado spoiled us.

      • That was my opinion until 5 minutes ago, when I compared his stats to Dale Murphy and Jim Rice. (i.e. Borderline candidates, one who got in and one who’s failed.) I’d assumed that we wasn’t as strong Murphy who, at his peak was arguably the best player in the game (back-to-back MVP, but then a rapid decline), and hence has no chance for HOF. But Delgado had a remarkable streak of 9 seasons of +900 OPS (1998-2006). Much more impressive than Murphy’s short peak. And his career OPS+ is 10 points higher than Rice. There might be more of a case than I would have first thought.

        I know I should have compared him to other 1st basemen. I was just spit balling (you know, instead of working on this my office computer….)

        • Rice should never have sniffed the Hall, but even so, it doesn’t really work to compare across eras. Rice and Murphy were playing in an offensively-depressed era, so their accomplishments put them that much more ahead of their peers, and are much more impressive as a consequence.

          Delgado has great raw numbers, but when you add to them the context of the era he played in, they just don’t stack up. WAR, despite its flaws, attempts to account for this by providing a “replacement level” baseline that changes from year to year.

          In terms of value added for his career, Delgado is right in line with Murphy (about 47 WAR each) despite Carlos having a 40 point advantage in career OBP and about 80 points of SLG. Rice, who shouldn’t be in the hall, produced 10 more wins in almost the same number of games as Carlos.

          Which is just a long way of saying that Delgado’s numbers don’t really stand out among his peers. He was great, but there were a lot of great guys in that era.

          He’s 25th in fWAR for the period of 1996-2009, which is about as favourable slice for him that you can look at. And while that’s a terrific, terrific career, it’s just not quite there, by just about anyone’s standard.

          • Thanks — how well (or poorly) does OPS+ work for comparing across eras? I knew that OPS would be higher in Carlos’ period than in the 70s & 80s. But I thought that OPS+ would be a decent way to compare since it is expressed as a relation to the league average a given time. (Go gentle as I’m old…)

  5. Surprised it took this long.

    Delgado and the Jays were a perfect fit, I doubt he’d be remembered as “fun-loving” if he were playing for the Rangers during his protest when he refused to stand for the US anthem.

    Also, before Halladay, there’s got to be some love out there for Pat Hentgen and Tom Henke. Why not, right? It’s just gluing their names onto a concrete wall in the outfield, it’s not like we’re retiring their numbers

    • And it wasn’t the anthem, it was God Bless America. It was against the Iraq War, and also something about US military in Puerto Rico. He did stand for it as a Met so he wouldn’t be a distraction.

    • I’ve added a note to this effect, because a few people are wondering why it took so long, but it seems entirely appropriate to me, given that he didn’t formally retire until April 2011.

    • It’s the Level of Excellence, not the Level of Very Good.

      I jest!

  6. Carlos was, is and always will be the man.

    Well deserved and I can’t wait to be in attendance for this.

  7. King Carlos Forever!!!
    I am still kind of bitter that he didnt come over and sign my life size coca cola promotion in his first game back as a Met but whatever

  8. Well deserved. Pity he was a victim of Rogers failed moneyball experiment. Could have easily been a lifer.

  9. H/T (helmet tip) to Carlos. He flat out delivered.

  10. Two memories stand out above and beyond the rest:

    Only guy to hit four homers in one game with just four at bats.

    His big blast off Windows as a rookie.

    Well deserved!

  11. A well deserved honour. The offseason of offering good will to the fans continues. Good Job Rogers.

  12. why is carlos’ hair the same color as those furry animals? Was he part of the show? I don’t recall carlos every having red hair.

  13. how perfect would he be in this lineup? oh adam lind…

  14. Great pic Stoeten. Seriously, you must have a scary collection of pics, or you spend hours looking up pics on the internets.

  15. I got a laugh out of this Tweet:

    Andy Arias ‏@ralIycap
    Arencibia bobblehead come with interchangeable Mets jersey? #Bluejays

    • Maybe JP knew about the bobblehead promotion and that’s why he was so confident that there wouldn’t be a trade.

      • I can’t see a promotion (such as a bobblehead) being the reason that he isn’t traded:

        GM: Alright, AA, we’ll do the trade [that includes JPA]

        AA: Actually, he has his bobblehead day in July, so unfortunately that won’t work.


        Then again, his bobblehead day IS before the trade deadline, so if that was even a minuscule factor now, it won’t be then.

        • I’m not insinuating that it should be a factor, just that perhaps JP thought it was a sign that he wouldn’t be traded. Wasn’t there an Escobar bobblehead last season? and of course we know how that turned out.

  16. Hall of Famer or not, he was my favourite player from his days as a highly touted catching prospect with a lot of work to do defensively. I remember his four homer game and the time he almost hit a hot dog vendor on the street in Detroit with a moonshot. I have his rookie card in plastic and I am just as happy about this addition to the Rogers center as I am any of the others from this offseason. I may not have anything but the popular opinion to offer but I wanted to post my congratulations for the best reason to love the losing Blue Jays of the post 93 era. http://www.tradingcarddb.com/Images/Cards/Baseball/401/401-RS4Bk.jpg

  17. remember when he was in the playoffs for the mets, and they discussed him in the press conference ” our plan is to pitch him away” . Carlos answers by demolishing everything to left center… man i miss that guy

  18. halladay is a traitor no level of execleence

  19. Just noticed the subheader for this article. If Delgado is only ‘possibly’ the greatest hitter in Blue Jays history, who exactly are we considering as his competition? I don’t think anyone else put up numbers like his over such a long stretch of time in a Jays uniform.

    My favorite Delgado memory: Carlos is manning first, a pop up is heading towards the seats on the first base side. A fan reaches over Delgado’s outstretched glove, turning an out into a foul. Visibly pissed, Delgado slaps the ball from the fan’s hand. The ball doesn’t make it to the ground. Instead, it takes an unexpected bounce off of the blue SkyDome wall and pops straight back up. Carlos snags the bounce in midair and walks back to first with a huge grin.

    It’s no 4 HR game, but it was the coolest meaningless play I’ve ever seen.

  20. Wow, i can barely even remember when he played for the Jays since I was so young, but congratulations Carlos!

  21. Shields and Davis to KC for Myers and more

  22. People are forgetting Carlos played in the steroids era as well. Hypothetically he may even have better numbers if players were clean.

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