TORONTO – When Troy Tulowitzki took Shawn Morimondo deep on Saturday afternoon, breaking a 3-3 tie with a two-run home run in an eventual 9-6 Toronto Blue Jays win, the shortstop joined a select group. The Cleveland Indians were the last notch to go on Tulowitzki’s belt — he’s now homered against every team in the major leagues.
"It’s definitely a cool stat," said the man teammates and fans alike call Tulo. "I found out actually from my dad. I guess he was watching the broadcast and he shot me a text and said congratulations. I guess it means a couple of things: One, you’ve been playing for a long time and two, that you’ve been a decent player. It’s something you’ll always remember and be able to tell your kids. I’ll take it."
Tulowitzki joined Blue Jays teammates Jose Bautista and Russell Martin with the distinction of taking every team deep. Bautista finished off the circuit when he homered against the Chicago Cubs on Sept. 8, 2014 at Rogers Centre. The last notch on Martin’s belt was the New York Yankees — he took care of them on May 5, 2015.
Edwin Encarnacion has 29 teams in his book; the only one he hasn’t homered against is the Blue Jays, who he’s never played against.
Martin, who didn’t know he’d completed the circuit, was modestly underwhelmed to find out. He said that for him, it’s simply a by-product of him having played at least four years in each league, with two teams in each. But he does think it’s a bigger deal for his shortstop.
"It’s more impressive for Tulo because he hasn’t really spent a lot of time in both leagues," said Martin. "He had to do some real damage in interleague. I’ve had four years in each league. For him, that’s really impressive."
"It’s one of those things that’s neat, but I don’t think it’s something that you think of as a huge accomplishment, personally," said Josh Donaldson, who still has seven teams to get to, all in the National League. "But I think it’s cool. I think everybody wants to do it. It’s difficult, though."
Much more impressed by the feat was young second baseman Devon Travis, whose 13 career home runs have come against nine different teams. "I think it’s dream stuff," the 25-year-old said. "To hit a home run against every single team, to me that doesn’t even really make a lot of sense, so I think it’s pretty dang awesome."
"I never really thought about any type of bucket list stuff other than winning a World Series," added Travis, "but man, that would be incredible. I haven’t even faced half the teams, I feel. To hit a home run against all of them, that’s something special, for sure."
Michael Saunders, a final-vote candidate to go to his first-ever all-star game, is two teams away from running the table in the American League. The only teams missing for him are the Detroit Tigers, who are in town to face the Blue Jays in a four-game series that begins Thursday leading into the all-star break, and the Seattle Mariners, who play in Toronto later this month.
"Any time you hit a homer, it’s tough enough as it is, let alone to cover the entire (major leagues)," marvelled Saunders. "He’s had a lot of accomplishments — five-time all-star — if you ask him, that’s probably one of the lower ones on his accomplishments list, but I think it speaks to the kind of career he’s had."
The final word on the matter goes to Travis: "I don’t think it’s something you think about, but I’ll tell you one thing — if there’s ever a day when you came to me and told me I did it, that’s going to be a pretty good day."
It certainly was for Tulowitzki on Saturday.