38 years ago today: The Blue Jays were born

The Blue Jays turned 38 today. (Chris Young/CP)

On August 12, 1976, Toronto’s new baseball team unveiled their nickname.

They went with the Blue Jays of course, and the last 38 years have shown that they made a prescient choice.

But it all could have been very different, as a “Name the Team” contest led to a host of interesting choices.

Names like the Iroquois, Dingbats, Fighting Turtles, Hogtowners and Orangemen were in the running, as fans submitted over 30,000 entries. Other fan submissions included the Antelopes, Wildcats, Sea Fleas, Beavers and Blue Balls.

Topical choices of the day were the Towers, as the CN Tower was a new attraction; and the Exhibitionists, as the team was scheduled to play at Exhibition Stadium.

Eventually, a committee whittled the list down to 10, going with the Blue Jays.

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“Blue was always Toronto’s colour,” former Blue Jays PR chief Howard Starkman said to the National Post in April 2014. “The board liked the name for a combination of reasons. It was a bird, like the Cardinals and Orioles, and it tied in with Labatt’s Blue too.”

At the time, Labatt Breweries was the majority owner of the Jays.

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