Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Alternative Level of Excellence – Junior Felix

The Blue Jays’ Level of Excellence features a number of laudable honorees, who made a significant impact on baseball in Toronto, and who are worthy of the place of honor that they now occupy on the concrete facing of the Rogers SkyDomey Centre.

We at the Tao of Stieb don’t wish to dispute the names that are thus far missing from the Level of Excellence (*cough cough * Jimmy Key *cough*). Instead, we propose the Alternative Level of Excellence, which will honor those who will likely never be formally enshrined. These are the former Blue Jays whose names will inevitably elicit a smile, a laugh, a knowing nod, or a prolonged groan from the true fan.

Today’s inaugural honoree: Junior Felix. Number 54 (or 47) in your programs. Number 1 in your hearts.

Felix debuted on May 3rd, 1989 as a defensive replacement for George Bell. The next day, he started as the Jays DH, hitting out of the nine hole. In the first pitch of his first at bat, he hit a home run off of the pride of Kapuskasing, Kirk McCaskill. (Try saying "Kirk McCaskill from Kapuskasing" five times fast. Yikes.)

Felix’s birthdate is listed as October 3rd, 1967, which would have made him 21 on his debut. However, it soon became an open secret that he may have been significantly older. Some suggested as much as a decade older than he claimed. (The Jays signed him as a free agent in 1985, so clearly, something was amiss with those dates. Unless they were given to signing pre-teens to contracts back then.)

Junior played 237 games with the Jays between 1989 and 1990, hitting 24 homers, stealing 31 bases and driving in 111. He played four more years for the Angels, Marlins, and Tigers, before retiring to collect his old age pension in 1994.

His greatest contribution to the cause was likely the return the Jays received when they rolled his allegedly old bones out the door in a deal at the Winter Meetings in December of 1990. Coming back to the Jays in the multiplayer deal: Devon White.

Ladies and Gentlemen, please join us in welcoming to the Tao of Stieb's Alternative Level of Excellence, Junior Felix.

(BTW, if you'd like to nominate any former Jays for the Alternative Level of Excellence, hit us with them here.)

9 comments:

Not my cat said...

Can I nominate Garth Irog?

And was it Junior that hit the inside the park home run during the infamous 10 run comeback at Fenway?

Not my cat said...

OH! And Manuel "don't call me Manny" Lee has to be on it...

THE GREAT LAKES KNUCKLEBALLER said...

Iorg and Manny, got to, got to. I also suggested Danny Ainge and Darnell Coles.

Jamie said...

NOt only was it an inside the park homerun during that comeback, but the fables inside the park Grand Slam...
That feat alone should get him remembered, as it is why I can still recall he played for the Jays...

(Sky High '89, one of my favourite sports videos)

Tao of Stieb said...

The inside the parker was huge...that's when he became our favorite Jays' RFer.

Shortwaveboy said...

How can he surpass Jesse Barfield as your fave RF?

CONTRIBUTORS said...

'Sky High' was the greatest video ever made. My favourite part was the replay of Lloyd Moseby's baserunning fiasco.

Darren Priest said...

Tom "The Terminator" Heinke. 'Nuff said.

Not my cat said...

Except that Tom Henke probably should be on the real level of excellence...