Top 7 Most Likable Former Blue Jays Players

When you think about baseball, yes, it’s all about athleticism, speed, tenacity, pitching, hitting, statistics, etc. but it is also about fun. It says a lot about a baseball player’s character when you see them having a good time playing baseball, making jokes, fooling around in the clubhouse, etc. Also, when a player provides adaptability, it not only makes them useful but also admired. It brings positive energy to a team and it makes a player likable not only by their teammates but also by the fans.

Fans soak that up like a sponge and it makes the game of baseball all that more enjoyable. There are many of these types of players and they will always be remembered for it. So with that being said, let’s take a look down memory lane with the top seven most likable former Toronto Blue Jays players out there.

Top 7 Most Personable Former Blue Jays Players

7. Marco Estrada

If there’s any memorable and underrated pitcher that played for the Jays it was without question Marco Estrada. He created a lot of great memories while playing for the Jays. For example, his domination over the Texas Rangers and essentially a playoff warrior. Estrada walking off the mound from the 2015 playoff run will continue to be a cherished and unforgettable moment in Jays history.

He’s definitely a fan favorite on social media. For example, I noticed that fans posted a picture of Estrada in a Blue Jays Facebook group when he turned 40. Fans wouldn’t be commemorating him if they didn’t think highly of him. Was Marco Estrada the best pitcher in the world? Absolutely not, he had his struggles and dealt with injuries but he had a nasty changeup.

According to Baseball America, “Despite his smallish build, Estrada holds the 90-92 mph velocity on his fastball into the sixth or seventh inning as a starter, regularly touching 93-94. His best pitch is a plus changeup with good arm speed and tumbling action.”

6. Edwin Encarnación

Edwin Encarnación will always be remembered as a home run hitter for the Jays but aside from that he brought a lot more to the team. Many of his teammates have had nothing but nice things to say about him including his former teammate Russell Martin.

“Eddie just had great teammate qualities. If you needed advice, if somebody needed to be talked to, he always brought the right type of advice, whether it was a tap on the back or a, ‘Come on, let’s go, clean it up,’ type of thing. He was always there. Most of the time he was quiet, but when he said something, you listened.”

Edwin was never a loud guy on the team and that is inevitable. The only thing that was loud about him was his home runs. This is something that I believe many fans enjoyed about him. He is also the type of player that while many look up to him, he never came off as overconfident. He didn’t have to get into an argument and gloat about himself, instead, he remained quiet and let his game speak for itself.

5. Jose Bautista

I don’t know about you but when I think about Jose Bautista the first thing that comes to my mind is the iconic bat flip in the 2015 ALDS Game 5. Probably one of the loudest crowd reactions in baseball. It was definitely unforgettable and while it caused controversy the fans loved it. This was a playoff game and you could see the pure raw emotion coming out of him. So for those calling it unsportsmanlike, it’s called celebrating, not teasing the opponent.

To look at it as unsportsmanlike is not fair. Do you think Bautista is the only athlete to get fired up? Look at tennis players, they grunt and yell on the court. While many may look down on Bautista for this, many see him as a hero. While he may not be the most liked guy by his opponents, the fans have respect for Bautista. He is a proud player who wears his emotions on his sleeve.

4. Ryan Goins

When Ryan Goins was playing for the Jays he was effective at scoring runs with RISP, with the bases loaded, and rarely made errors. Ryan Goins, like Kawasaki, was a utility player, and fans have a habit of admiring utility players. Why is it good to be a utility player? Well, at the end of the day, it means that you are trusted, and dependable as a player.

While Ryan Goins is no power home run hitter he is a versatile player. Going back to Canada Day in 2016, the Jays were in a rut going through their entire bullpen when the 18th inning came around and had no choice but to turn to Ryan Goins. Not only did he pitch but he threw a scoreless inning and amazed everyone. If that doesn’t make him likable I don’t know what does!

3. Kevin Pillar

I remember when Kevin Pillar first came to the Jays and his growth moving forward. From progressive hitting to memorable defensive plays, Kevin Pillar was without question a fan favourite. I remember him being this shy, young, new player on the Jays. But then he transformed into this clutch player. Even when he was no longer with the Blue Jays organization he was still applauded and got a standing ovation by Jays fans when he returned to Rogers Center as a San Francisco Giant. He’s even been referred to as “Superman” by fans for the diving catches he’s made in the outfield.

According to a Sportsnet article by Kristina Rutherford, “Kevin Pillar does things most people wouldn’t do. We know this because we’ve watched him climb walls and layout for line drives with zero regard for his personal safety.” How can you not like a player who plays with moral fiber and in the eye of the tiger plays with competitiveness? Kevin Pillar will always remain a legend and admirable in the eyes of Jays fans and the organization.

2. Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. will always be remembered for his energetic personality while playing for the Toronto Blue Jays as a utility player. Even after being traded and returning to Rogers Center as an Arizona Diamondback, fans, and his former teammates were excited to see him and his whacky purple hairdo. Although it was hard for Gurriel Jr. to leave the Jays he had nothing but nice things to say about the Jays and his teammates on an Instagram post.

“What can I tell you Blue Jays fans, thank you for all your support during all this time, you who saw me take my first steps as a pro player and saw me grow, thank you all, you will always be in my heart, thank you to my teammates for everything, best of luck!!” It would be quite hard for him to not be likable after reading that.

1. Munenori Kawasaki

Munenori Kawasaki is the definition of a happy-go-lucky type of player. Not to mention he is also very comical. His mannerisms, energy, and personality are very likable. Essentially, we can all learn from Kawasaki and learn to be more like him. We all need confidence like Kawasaki because his charisma is infectious.

When he was interviewed and asked what he can eat to help with cramps he talked about bananas. What made this interview memorable and funny was when he talked about how monkeys never get cramps because they eat bananas. At the end of the day, every team needs a Kawasaki. Having a player that is Japanese and learning English with a go-to attitude, I think his teammates at the time really enjoyed having him around as he brought an uplifting glow into the Jays clubhouse.

Pitch, Walk, Hit, Home Run, and Fun!

There are so many former Jays players that have brought a lot of history, memories, and cheers. Not all of them could be mentioned on this list but the focus was on fan-favorite players in more recent years. What makes a player stand out and turn into a likable player is not only what he brings on the field but also outside of the field.

When they take the time to thank fans and organizations for helping them to grow. The element of surprise also comes into play as players can surprise us with what they bring to the field. Players will always be remembered for the positive energy, cheers, and laughs that they’ve brought to a team and to the game of baseball.



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